Research reveals consumer demand for climate change labelling

Two-thirds (67%) of consumers support the idea of a recognisable carbon label to demonstrate that products have been made with a commitment to measuring and reducing their carbon footprint, according to new international research released by the Carbon Trust.

The YouGov study of more than 9,000 consumers, across the USA, UK, Italy, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden also highlighted the potential brand benefits from taking action on climate change. Results revealed that a majority (66%) of consumers confirm they would feel more positive about companies that can demonstrate they are making efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their products.

Demand for carbon labelling is highest in Southern Europe, with the vast majority of respondents in Italy (85%) and Spain (80%) believing it is a good idea to use them on products. Interestingly, support for carbon labelling was lowest in Sweden, where just under half (49%) of consumers believe it is a good idea.

Despite the fact that findings show that carbon labelling attracts support from a wide base of consumers, the research highlights that a value-action gap continues to exist. More than half of respondents (52%) agreed that they do not generally think about the carbon footprint of a product before buying it. Though, a meaningful proportion of one-fifth (21%) disagree, thereby claiming that they do take this into account.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Business Services at the Carbon Trust commented:

“There is a real transformative power in getting consumers to change their everyday purchasing decisions to favour low carbon products. This was highlighted in last year’s IPCC special report on 1.5 degrees, which showed that without significant behavioural shifts it will be impossible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“Consumers cannot make better choices without reliable information and as the research shows there is strong appetite to understand the climate impact of products. This was why we developed one of the first product carbon labels in 2007. This enables consumers to use their wallets to choose companies that are taking action on climate change.”

Louise Needham, Sustainability Manager, Quorn Foods:

“We’ve been displaying the Carbon Reduction Label on certified Quorn products for many years now and remain committed to clearly communicating the sustainability attributes of our food to customers and consumers. In fact, in 2019 we will have assessed the carbon impact of around 50% of our products. We believe this is essential for ensuring credibility amongst key stakeholders; particularly as food choices are increasingly acknowledged as being fundamental to a 1.5 degree future.”

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