What’s the carbon footprint of your product?

Businesses can now assess the carbon footprint of their goods and services and play a greater part in fighting climate change, thanks to a new standard launched by BSI British Standards, the Carbon Trust and Defra.
The standard – called PAS 2050 – is a consistent way of counting the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in goods and services throughout their entire life cycle – from sourcing raw materials, through to manufacture, distribution, use and disposal. 
The aim of the new standard is to help businesses move beyond managing the emissions their own processes create and to look at the opportunities for reducing emissions in the design, making and supplying of products.  This will then help businesses make goods or services which are less carbon intensive and ultimately develop new products with lower carbon footprints.
The Carbon Trust has already piloted PAS 2050 with 75 product ranges across a wide range of companies including:  PepsiCo, Boots, Innocent, Marshalls, Tesco, Cadbury, Halifax, Coca Cola, Kimberly Clark, The Co-operative Group, Scottish & Newcastle, Coors Brewers, Müller, British Sugar, ABAgri, Sainsbury’s, Danone, Continental Clothing Company, Colors Fruit, Morphy Richards, Mey Selections and Aggregate Industries.
Defra has also carried out research testing of the PAS on up to 100 food products through their production, manufacture and distribution and is studying the greenhouse gas impacts of food preparation and consumption in the home.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “Companies have said they want to be able to count their carbon emissions in a better way, so we have responded.  By looking at where the emissions are being created and reducing them, businesses can also save themselves money. 
“You can’t see or count emissions when you buy a product.  But consumers want to know that emissions are being cut by businesses and this standard will help businesses to do that. 
“In addition to measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of their products, from clothing, to cosmetics and cottage pies, businesses will be able to offer advice to the public about the most environmentally friendly ways to choose, use and dispose of their products.”
Carbon Trust Chief Executive Tom Delay said: “For the first time, businesses have a robust, consistent standard for measuring the carbon footprint of their goods and services.
“This exciting development will help businesses to really understand the carbon impact of their products and to follow this up with tangible ways to cut carbon emissions across the supply chain.
“The Carbon Trust has been part of this work from the outset and we are delighted that PAS 2050 is now publicly available for any company to use.”
Director of BSI British Standards, Mike Low said: “PAS 2050 has been developed using BSI’s rigorous consultation process, involving almost a thousand industry experts from within the UK and internationally.  The result is a robust framework within which businesses and public sector bodies will be able to assess the greenhouse gas emissions of their goods and services in a consistent manner.
“Our hope is that it will be used widely by organisations of all sizes and sectors.  PAS 2050 is the latest addition to BSI’s rapidly expanding stable of standards and tools in the area of sustainability and the environment, which enable organisations to manage their operations in a more sustainable manner.”

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