Everything You Need To Know About Eco-Labels
What exactly is an eco-label or carbon label? And how can brands be utilising this powerful tool to communicate with customers? Consumers tell us it’s increasingly important to them to understand the eco-impact of their choices, so carbon footprint labelling is now a vital sales and marketing tool, especially for food companies.
Research shows that consumers will change their behaviours when given ‘greener’ options, but they want their choices made simpler with easily accessible information. Our quick guide to food eco-labels can help you decide which details are the most important and useful to you and your business, helping to lead and convert climate-conscious customers to your products.
What is a carbon label?
An excellent environmental label will explain the product's carbon impact throughout its entire lifecycle. For years products have been claiming to be ‘better for the planet’ or ‘recyclable’, but several companies have been pulled up by consumer watchdogs for making grand environmental claims with little supporting evidence. That’s why our carbon labels adhere to the Green Claims Code, which helps companies to make environmental sustainability claims that are both useful and meaningful.
Best practice carbon labels will show the CO2 emissions – usually given in kilograms – for a product’s life cycle through production, packaging, transportation and disposal (or farm to fork, as we call it). Elements included in the label may vary depending on the label's producer.
The Green Claims Code
To ensure your environmental claims aren’t ‘greenwashing’, your claims must:
- Be truthful and accurate
- Be clear and unambiguous
- Include all important information
- Consider the full life cycle
- Make fair, meaningful comparisons
- Be substantiated
How do I generate a carbon label for my product?
Once recipe data has been provided, Foodsteps automatically generates carbon labels for food items, which can be easily downloaded and added to products and menus.
Why are carbon labels useful for food brands?
In short, consumers want them. Consumers are increasingly looking at companies’ green credentials before deciding whether to shop with them. They’re hyper-alert to greenwashing and want their information to be meaningful and trustworthy.
According to research from Deloitte, nearly a quarter of consumers are influenced by whether a product is carbon neutral when they choose what to buy. They want to reduce their environmental impact and seek information from brands to help them do it. Where once supermarket shoppers or restaurant diners might check the calorie and nutrition labelling of a product or meal, today they’re just as likely to look for a label that details the carbon footprint or emissions.
Don’t forget, France has made carbon labelling a requirement already. With the UK pledging to be Net Zero by 2050, legislation will likely be introduced to bring industry sectors in line. Brands can get ahead of the curve by applying their labels now.
Good to know
- The EU: Implementing the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2022-2024 to introduce standardisation across the swathe of carbon labels that have entered the market.
- Ireland: Working on the Carbon Footprint Labelling Bill since 2021.
- France: Passed laws to have carbon labels added to clothing. Other sectors are likely to have similar legislation introduced.
- Denmark: Announced in 2022 that it will be the first country to create a state-controlled climate label for food that promotes planet-friendly food production.
- Germany: Following a campaign by Oatly, a number of food brands have announced the introduction of carbon labelling
How can Foodsteps help?
Foodsteps seeks to empower food businesses to track and reduce their food footprint from farm to fork, so we provide the all-important Life Cycle Assessment, bolstering their environmental transparency (in the form of readily available data and carbon labels). Foodsteps can simplify the complex carbon data-gathering process via the information in our impacts database. Comprised of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies alongside our own primary research, our database is independently reviewed by academic and industry experts.
We are committed to driving change in the food system, so we developed our platform to provide tools and solutions that make it quick and affordable for brands to calculate their environmental impacts across large and complex food operations.
Businesses on our Premium tier can download carbon labels directly from the Foodsteps Platform to start communicating their impact to customers. These labels can be added to packaging, marketing materials and promotion campaigns.
If your brand is ready to try out our carbon rating labels, get started with Foodsteps today.