Product carbon footprint label

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Product carbon footprint label

If you are looking to make more sustainable purchasing decisions, look for the Carbon Trust label. It verifies that a brand is working to measure and reduce a product’s carbon emissions.

From September 2023 we are releasing new product carbon footprint labels, with new claims and additional information, to ensure clarity and transparency. You may still see the previous labels on products in the market for some time. In the interest of limiting waste, packaging with a current label will run its course before the new labels are implemented.

Find out more

 What is the product carbon footprint label?

 

 

 

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. 
 

What products can I buy?

We have verified over 37,000 individual product footprints, and many display our label in more than 40 countries.

Look for it on Tetra Pak packaging, Wyke Farms’ cheese, and Dyson Airblades, for example.

View list of organisations we work with

Why is the label important?

Increasingly, consumers want to understand the environmental impact of the products they choose. Over two thirds of consumers, across eleven global markets, say labelling is good for consumer choice.*

Almost 60% of consumers would be more likely to trust that a product carrying a carbon footprint label is taking action to reduce its carbon footprint compared to a similar product that didn't carry a label.


*YouGov research 2023, conducted in 11 global markets

Why the Carbon Trust?

The Carbon Trust has long been at the leading edge of driving decarbonisation. We want to raise ambition in businesses and consumers, to encourage further, faster climate action.  

Our labels verify meaningful actions towards emissions reductions and provide transparent consumer communications.

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

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

 

 

 

 

Our label portfolio – from September 2023

The Carbon Trust has offered a range of product carbon footprint labels since 2007, including a carbon neutral verification since 2012.

From September 2023 we are no longer offering the carbon neutral verification. This verification has played a critical role in setting businesses on the path to Net Zero, and laying the foundations for a new portfolio of label claims. 

As consumers and regulators are demanding more transparency of environmental claims with an increasing expectation of ambition, we are transitioning away from the carbon neutral verification and label and towards new claims.

New label claims will have a greater emphasis on reduction, more ambitious requirements and more information about the claim. You may still see products in the market with the Carbon Neutral label, as it will take a while for those products already verified as carbon neutral to be purchased and consumed.

product mock up


 

Our label portfolio

The Carbon Trust label appears on a product or its packaging. 

 

Reduction claims:

Carbon emissions reductions achieved

This claim shows that the product’s carbon footprint is reducing year-on-year, and that the company has committed to achieving ongoing footprint reductions with validated reduction plans.

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

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 3.2. 

Verified reduced footprint label

Carbon emissions reductions planned

For a first verification the company can claim planned reductions through a carbon management plan.

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

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 3.2. 
 

verified planned footprint label

Carbon emissions reductions achieved and additional climate projects funded

Meets requirements for reduction claim, plus a commitment to achieving ongoing reductions with validated reduction plans.

Additional funding of carbon projects in line with our carbon credit guidelines.

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling. 

Verified additional footprint label

Carbon emissions reductions planned and additional climate projects funded

Meets requirements for planned reduction claim, with a carbon management plan.

Additional funding of carbon projects in line with our carbon credit guidelines.

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling. 

verified planned climate projects

Carbon emissions reductions aligned with Net Zero pathway

This claim shows that the reductions being made are working toward specific targets on a pathway to Net Zero. 

Requirements will be the same as reduction claim but with a reduction threshold aligned to the organisation's Net Zero target pathway.

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling. 

Verified net zero footprint label

Packaging

This claim shows that the packaging’s carbon footprint is reducing year-on-year, plus a commitment to achieving ongoing reductions with validated reduction plans. 

The ‘Packaging Verified CO2e footprint’ label has the same requirements as above, but applied to the boundary of packaging only. For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 3.5. 

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

packaging verified footprint label

Comparative claims:

Lower footprint compared to other products in brand’s family

This claim shows the life cycle carbon footprint of a product is significantly lower than the life cycle carbon footprint of a similar product in the brand portfolio.

For more information, please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 5.3.

Verified lower than family footprint label

Lower footprint compared to the market average

This claim demonstrates the life cycle carbon footprint of the product is lower than market comparators.

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 5.4.
 

Verified lower than market footprint label

Other claims:

Verified electricity

This claim shows that an energy product is 100% renewable and has a 0g CO2/kWh emission factor for Scope 2 reporting purposes.

In order to achieve verification, 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 verified product are reported in accordance with the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. 

*100% of the electricity supplied is renewable, backed by certificates of renewable energy guarantees of origin. The emission factor conforms with the GHG Protocol Scope 2 guidance and may be used for the 'market-based' method.  

Verified electricity footprint label

Verified CO2e footprint claim

Available for B2B products only.

For more information please see Product carbon footprints Requirements for assurance – Part 2: Claims and labelling, clause 2.7.

Verified b2b footprint label

Carbon neutral

You will still find products in the market with the carbon neutral label for some time, as we work with existing label holders to transition to our new range of label offers. 

More information about carbon neutral is available here

Carbon neutral green label

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

 

Requirements for assurance:

Part 1: Technical

Part 2: Claims and labelling

 

View our end-to-end service offering for Net Zero transition planning and delivery

 

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Hugh Jones
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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

Our impact stories

We have helped global brands measure, manage and reduce their carbon footprint.

Start your verification journey

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

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