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Northern Powerhouse European Union

Consumer interest in footprint labelling on the rise

Two thirds of consumers in the UK, France and Germany say they would like to see a recognisable carbon footprint label on products, according to a new survey.

Two thirds of consumers in the UK, France and Germany say they would like to see a recognisable carbon footprint label on products, according to a new survey.

The study of more than 5,000 consumers across Europe’s three largest economies, conducted by YouGov for the Carbon Trust, shows that companies that clearly demonstrate the climate change credentials of their products can secure a commercial advantage.

In the UK, 56 per cent of those surveyed said they would feel more positive about a company that has reduced the carbon footprint of their products.

Rising interest

The results show that companies should take more interest in labelling the carbon footprint of their products, the Carbon Trust suggests, despite an overall reduction in the use of levels since 2009.

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust, said: “It is possible that we are seeing a ‘Paris Effect’ after the success of securing a global agreement on climate change last year.

“Businesses that communicate their achievements in reducing emissions can secure a reputational advantage over competitors.”

Approximately one in five consumers also reported that they activity consider climate change image when making purchasing decisions.

‘Tipping point’

“It seems we are reaching a tipping point”, Messem added. “The demand for sustainable products is there in principle and actively green consumer behaviour is following in its wake.

“Businesses need to be aware of the risks and opportunities that this will create. Environmental impact is increasingly a criteria for competition, alongside price and quality.

“Stronger regulation and changing consumer demand is a powerful combination; businesses that take early action and build sustainability into their brand will reap the rewards.”

Carbon footprint is just one of the labelling schemes now open to businesses. The Carbon Trust also provides water footprinting certification, as well as a new energy label scheme which specifies the source and carbon content of every megawatt of electricity companies buy.