To obtain the Carbon Trust’s Lower Carbon Label, a company must:
- Certify the lifecycle carbon footprint of its product, or a group of products
- Prove that the lifecycle carbon footprint of its product(s) are significantly lower carbon than the market dominant product, which is defined as the most commonly available and popular product in the labelled product’s product category, in the same geographic region.
Example case study
Hillside - Sichuan Qianwei Fengsheng Paper Industry Co. Ltd
The Certification Process
The manufacturer of this labelled product, Sichuan Qianwei Fengsheng Paper Industry Co., Ltd (“Fengsheng”), has successfully obtained certification for the product “Hillside toilet paper SKU QP101” produced in China for the European market, which has been assessed to be representative (equal or higher) of its toilet paper product portfolio.
The Comparator Product & Results
The market dominant comparator product was determined to be “toilet paper made from virgin paper from trees”, which was found to be the most commonly available product in all of the labelled products’ markets of consumption (EU, Australia, USA, Asia and New Zealand).
It should be noted the toilet paper made from recycled paper was not determined to be a market dominant product as it does not appear to have dominant market share in the toilet paper product category.
Footprint Comparison with the Comparator Product
The Carbon Trust certified the lifecycle carbon footprint of Fengsheng’s product, using primary data from Fengsheng where applicable (for example, the manufacturing phase). For the comparator product, the Carbon Trust applied its knowledge from previous certification conducted on a range of toilet paper, the results of which are publicly available.
To compare Fengsheng’s products with the comparator product in the same geographic region, the Carbon Trust remodelled the footprint of the comparator product by applying local grid electricity emission factors in the manufacturing phase, assuming that the comparator product is produced locally in the geographic region(s) of consumption.
Carbon Trust analysis showed that the comparator product ranges between 1.814 g CO2e/sheet to 2.07 g CO2e/sheet depending on the geographic area of production, with the highest footprint being toilet paper produced in Australia, and the lowest footprint being toilet paper produced in the UK. In comparison, the footprint of Hillside toilet paper is significant lower at 1.150 g CO2e/sheet, even though it is produced in a country with a relatively high grid emission factor (China), and taking into account the additional sea freight transportation leg from China to the target markets. It was found that the comparator product was generally more energy intensive in the pulping and paper making processes than the labelled product.
As the certified lifecycle carbon footprint of the Fengsheng’s toilet tissue paper product is significantly lower than the footprint of the market dominant product in all of the target geographic region(s) of consumption, Fengsheng has successfully obtained the Lower Carbon Label for this labelled product.
 A report from WWF found that the “majority of tissue products contain high-quality virgin fibres which are taken from important forests around the world”. A search of toilet paper on Tesco.com showed that out of 49 items for sale, only one item was explicitly stated to be made from recycled paper.
 A search of toilet paper on Tesco.com showed that out of 49 items for sale, only one item was explicitly stated to be made from recycled paper