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Taiwanese shampoo washes away the challenges of a global carbon footprinting scheme

5 December 2014 | News
Carbon labelling of Taiwanese salon hair care brand, Hair O’Right

Pictured: Professor Allen H. Hu, Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management, National Taipei University of Technology; Jan Van der Ven, Director, Asia, the Carbon Trust; Chris Wood, Director, British Trade and Cultural Office, Taipei; Dr. Shin-Cheng Yeh, Deputy Minister, EPA; Zen Wang, Manager, Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, ITRI; Steven Ko, CEO, Hair O’Right; Dr. Alex C.H. Tong, Vice President, Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, ITRI; Hui-Chuan Hsiao, Director General, Department of Supervision, Evaluation and Dispute Resolution, EPA

Taiwanese salon hair care brand, Hair O’Right, has been the first successful participant in pilot project to harmonise product carbon footprinting and labelling schemes run by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the Carbon Trust.

 

The Carbon Trust and the EPA have been working together to explore possibilities for mutual recognition since 2013, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2011. The ambition for the mutual recognition scheme is that it will ultimately allow companies from Taiwan to use the Carbon Trust’s internationally-recognised Carbon Footprint Labels on their products, without the need to file a separate application and undertake two product carbon footprint certifications.

The pilot project focused on a shampoo produced by Hair O'Right, a brand with a strong focus on reducing the environmental impact of its products, making this a key part of its marketing strategy. The company has already captured a sizeable chunk of its domestic market, with a third of Taiwan’s 20,000 salons using its products. The company has seen export revenue grow by 50 percent year-on-year over the last three years, with products now distributed to over 20 countries including Italy, UK, USA, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Hair O’Right had already obtained the EPA label and wanted to use the Carbon Trust label as it expands internationally. The company’s founder and CEO, Steven Ko, explained his motivation for participating in the pilot.

 

Hair O’Right is a company committed to sustainable development. Our aims in conducting product carbon footprinting is to reduce both the embedded emissions of our products as well as services downstream. By working with the Carbon Trust, we ascertained once again that the major carbon hotspot of shampoo is in the customer use stage. This will be an important focus for us to further reduce the carbon footprint of our products. In order to realise the goal of carbon reduction, Hair O’Right is developing a plan to engage with stakeholders both upstream and downstream of ourselves. These efforts will transform the nature of relationships between Hair O’Right and salons beyond purely commercial relationships, to one that also incorporates social responsibility and the environment.

Steven Ko, CEO, Hair O’Right

During the pilot project the Carbon Trust worked with Taiwan’s government-backed research body, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), to assess the Hair O'Right's footprinting model for compliance with Carbon Trust scheme rules.

The main adjustments required were to take into account distribution from Taiwan to Europe, as well as looking at the use phase emissions for hair washing in the UK.  After these issues were resolved, the footprint was recognised by the Carbon Trust and the Carbon Footprint Label was granted to Hair O'Right.

 

Currently the mutual recognition scheme is looking promising, but more work will be needed before it is fully operational. We are actively working to find new companies to work with on further pilots. A huge amount of credit is due to the EPA, ITRI and Hair O’Right for their vision and spirit of cooperation on an important issue like climate change and sustainable development. We know that we are facing a major global challenge to reduce carbon emissions, so having common international agreement on measurement and labelling is going to support the sales of more sustainable products around the world.

Martin Barrow, Head of Footprinting at the Carbon Trust

Read more about Carbon Trust Carbon Footprint Labels

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