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Carbon impact labelling

Article by Garret Molloy |

Imagine a world where you enter a grocery store, walk to the cereal aisle and look for your favorite brand of cornflakes. In your usual supermarket stupor, you pick up your boring box of cornflakes to read the ingredients.

Hold on a second! What's this new bright green label? 5 kilograms of carbon you ask? You rack your brain and suddenly remember: you voted for the MEP who said he would implement carbon labels, the policy that mandates all companies label products with their contribution to carbon emissions. With childish enthusiasm, you rustle through the boxes of cornflakes. 5kg, 4kg, 3kg, -2kg of C02e. What's this? One company has even decided to reforest to offset their carbon emissions? You choose the option of -2kg.

As you leave the grocery store you realize, you directly helped create a competitive environment, which sees firms competing to make the most environmentally friendly product, driving down emissions and preventing greenwashing.

Carbon Impact Labeling has empowered you to act independently and advocate for climate justice by voting with your wallet. Regardless of your country's government regulation and party position you can use this EU policy as an alternative to government inaction on climate policy. In scientific terms, C02e (carbon dioxide equivalent) measures the amount of carbon dioxide emitted whilst also converting the impact of other greenhouse gasses e.g. methane. to their equivalent impact on the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Therefore consumers receive a comprehensive view of emissions caused in simple language.

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Climate impact labeling will cause no more of a regulatory burden to firms than nutritional labelings. This will be less costly, as climate calculators are a freely available online resource.

However, even if we acknowledge this may impact firms we must acknowledge, ensuring nutritional labeling was hard, but to help prevent obesity it was worth it, ensuring climate labeling will be less rigorous with even more benefit; helping to end an Earth destroying Climate Crisis. To me, that's worth it.

This concept of climate impact labels is endorsed by a wide range of Climate experts from Irene Heemskerk, Head of Climate Change Centre at the ECB, to the Irish Youth Assembly on Climate. The ECB already has labeling for the environmental impact of financial assets, yet consumers are denied the opportunity to have a comparative system to make informed decisions on their purchases. It is time we end this inadequacy.

In conclusion, the EU is a leader in climate policy, we must continue to be. Climate Impact labels on consumer foodstuffs is an example of a bold policy that can help avert this climate crisis. If you're a citizen reading this, call your MEP, tell them we need you on the right side of history, and demand we put in place Climate Impact Labeling.


About the Author

Mr. Garret Molloy is an environmental activist from Dublin aged 17. He has studied early University Law and Politics in DCU and Introduction to Macroeconomics at Harvard Summer School. He is an Irish Climate Ambassador and was a member of the Youth Assembly on Climate in the Irish Parliament. Beginning his climate journey at the National Science Fair, has given him a background in Climate Science which has led him to COP26.



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