Campaign calls for brands to put ‘carbon calories’ on products

Stock image of woman shopping in supermarket  (PA Wire)
Stock image of woman shopping in supermarket (PA Wire)

Brits are confused about the carbon cost of their food and would back “carbon calories” on their food packaging, a new campaign has claimed.

A report, commissioned by energy drink brand TENZING, found that a new generation of shoppers are climate conscious but are often faced with conflicting advice.

According to the report, the public wants to make informed choices about the products they buy and feel misinformed about the enviromental impact of their food choices. A further 20 per cent said carbon labels would help change their consumer behaviour.

The brand has now launched a month-long campaign, called Knowvember, which urges brands to declare their emissions with carbon counts.

A product’s “carbon calories” are calculated based on factors such as packaging, where and how ingredients are sourced, and how it is manufactured.

Among the brands signed up to the campaign are Oatly, Wahaca, and coffee chain Benugo.

Huib van Bockel, CEO of TENZING, said: “The UK government has committed to be net zero by 2050.

“The food and drink industry contributes to over 25 per cent of emissions and yet we’re still one of the only businesses taking responsibility for our footprint. Why are there still so few businesses being transparent about their carbon impact?

“If food labelling leads to a healthier diet, then carbon labelling can lead to a healthier planet.

“Knowvember is all about transparency and we need transparency on every shelf to accelerate change.”

Climate intelligence platform CarbonCloud uses its carbon footprint mapping software to calculate the footprint of each product, which is then put on the label, under the campaign.

“We’ve already helped over 65 food businesses to go climate-transparent with consumers and suppliers,” said its CEO, David Bryngelsson.

“Climate disclosures will be regulated, and if we can make transparency from end to end the norm, together, we can help the world to reach net zero.”