Product carbon footprint label

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Product carbon footprint label

Take action now on the climate crisis and choose products with the Carbon Trust’s footprint label. The Carbon Trust works with companies to help them effectively measure, manage and reduce the footprint of their products. 

Reduce your carbon footprint through everyday shopping

If you’re looking to make more sustainable choices when you’re shopping, look for the Carbon Trust’s certified footprint label. It verifies that a brand is working to measure and reduce a product’s carbon emissions.

Certfiied green label

The impact you can make

The Carbon Trust footprint label appears on a product or its packaging. You can find out if the product’s carbon footprint is:

Some product labels will also show that an energy product is 100% renewable.

What products can I buy?

We have certified over 27,000 individual product footprints, and many display our label in more than 40 countries.

Look for it on Tetra Pak packaging, Wyke Farms’ cheese, evian water and Quorn products, for example.

View full list of certified organisations

A label you can trust

When you see our label, you know that the product’s carbon footprint has been measured to internationally recognised standards and certified by the Carbon Trust.  

Product carbon footprint labels are a key part of our mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future.

 

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Hugh Jones profile
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A footprint label is more tangible for the general public than long-term targets and trajectories. A label has the power to bring these issues into people’s every day lives via their shopping basket.

Hugh Jones

Managing Director, Corporate Sustainability, The Carbon Trust

 

Product carbon footprint labelling for businesses

Our product carbon footprint label is a clear identifier of products that have had their carbon footprints certified by the Carbon Trust. This is a validation of accurate footprints, providing customers with verified information about the carbon impacts of their purchasing decisions. Our label has appeared on thousands of products across the globe, positioning it as the leading label for product carbon footprinting.

The Carbon Trust is an independent organisation and an established expert on carbon footprinting. We ensure that our product carbon footprint label is underpinned by robust and credible analysis undertaken by our footprinting experts.

What is a product carbon footprint?

A life cycle product carbon footprint measures the total greenhouse gas emissions generated by a product, from extraction of raw-materials, to end-of-life. It is measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). 

Product footprints should be associated with a scope or boundary, the most common being:

  • Cradle-to-gate: mostly used for business-to-business (B2B) products. This measures the total greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of raw materials through to product manufacture up to the factory gate. 
  • Cradle-to-grave: mostly used for business-to-consumer (B2C) products. This measures the total greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of raw materials through to the product’s manufacture, distribution, use and eventual disposal. 
 

Carbon Trust certified label - requirements and conditions

Carbon Trust certified label

We advise clients that all products carrying this label must provide clear additional information through their own communications channels to ensure the highest degree of transparency.

We have recently reviewed and revised the Carbon Trust Product Carbon Footprint Label usage guidelines to ensure increased clarity and transparency. We regularly review consumer and market insights and trends and update our labels and guidelines accordingly. Therefore, it may be possible that some of the older labels still appear on products in the market. In the interest of limiting waste, packaging with the old labels has not been replaced and written off but will rather run its course before the new labels are implemented.

Certfiied green label

We offer the following certification scopes:

Reducing CO2

This label shows that the product’s carbon footprint is reducing year on year, and that the company has committed to achieving ongoing footprint reductions. 

In order to ensure data consistency, the following rules apply:  

  • Reduction is determined by re-baselining, i.e. accurately comparing the footprints of two products with similar definition and scope, but from two different generations. 
  • Duration of certification is two years, and the data for compared products should not exceed this timeframe.
  • CO2 offsets* cannot qualify as a reduction. 

Wherever the label appears on a consumer facing product, this represents a cradle-to-grave footprint.

Reducing CO2 green label

Reducing CO2 Packaging

This label shows that the packaging’s carbon footprint is reducing year-on-year, plus a commitment to achieving ongoing reductions.

The ‘Reducing CO2 Packaging’ label has the same requirements as above, but applied to the boundary of packaging only.

Please note only packaging manufacturers are eligible for this certification scope.

Reducing CO2 label

Carbon Neutral

This label shows that the product footprint is achieving ongoing reductions, and any outstanding emissions are offset*, in accordance with the international PAS 2060 standard.

 

In order to achieve the certification, a company must:  

  • Measure the footprint within a clearly defined boundary.
  • Develop a qualifying explanatory statement (QES) including:
    • Statement of commitment
    • Timescale for achievement
    • A carbon management plan and targets for GHG reductions
    • Planned means of achieving ongoing emissions reductions
    • Offset strategy
  • Purchase high quality carbon credits/offsets such as Gold Standard, VCS and Woodland Code UK to compensate for remaining emissions.

The duration of certification is one year, after which the product must be re-certified if it is to continue to use the label. Re-certification requires evidence that reductions have been achieved in both absolute and intensity terms against the preceding period.

Learn more about carbon neutral certification

Carbon neutral green label

Carbon Neutral Packaging

This label shows that the packaging’s footprint is reducing year-on-year, and any outstanding emissions are offset, in accordance with the internationally recognised PAS 2060 standard.

The ‘Carbon Neutral Packaging’ scope has the same requirements as above, but applied to the boundary of packaging only.

Please note only packaging manufacturers are eligible for this certification scope.

Carbon neutral packaging (green) label

Lower CO2

This label shows the lifecycle carbon footprint of a product is significantly lower than the lifecycle carbon footprint of the market dominant product in its category.

The following rules apply:

  • Clear definitions need to be established of the product, its function, the 'market dominant' comparator and its function, boundaries, geographical region etc.
  • It will only be awarded to a product that meets at least the following criteria:
  • The product can only be compared to the 'market standard' product that fulfils a similar function, and within the same geographical region.
    • No products with a lower footprint AND similar function exist, even if this product is not the 'market standard'.
    • Additional rules apply to mitigate the risk of uncertainty ranges.
Lower CO2 green label

100% Renewable Electricity

This label shows that an energy product is 100% renewable and has a zero emission factor for Scope 2 reporting purposes.

In order to achieve certification, a company must:

  • Demonstrate that the product is 100% backed by Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates.
  • Have embedded policies and procedures, which relate to data collection, reporting and tracking, to ensure that the emission factors associated with the certified product are reported in accordance with the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance.

Please note only energy companies which are back by REGO certifications in the UK are eligible for this certification scope.

Renewable electricity green label

CO2 Measured

This label shows that the carbon footprint for this product has been measured and certified.

The product footprint should be certified against an internationally recognised standard such as PAS2050, GHG Protocol Product Standard or ISO14067.

Wherever the label appears on a consumer facing product, this represents a cradle-to-grave footprint.

This is an entry-level service for clients who are completing their first product carbon footprint, on the condition that a commitment to reduction is provided.

CO2 measured label

 

* What is a CO2 offset?

A CO2 offset refers to the compensation of residual emissions by funding a project with an equivalent saving in carbon emissions.



The Carbon Trust’s mission is to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future and, as such, we will only consider certifying organisations and products that align with this mission in an effective and meaningful way.
 

Product carbon footprint labelling: consumer research 2020

Consumer research shows continuing levels of support for carbon labelling on products, with two-thirds of consumers saying they think it is a good idea.

Read the full report

Start your certification journey

Speak with one of our experts to decide how you can measure, manage and reduce the footprint of your products. 

Get in touch