Last year I wrote about the new carbon footprint labels that have begun appearing on products in the UK. Well now the same organization, Carbon Trust, is partnering with the Australian environmental organization, Planet Ark, to introduce carbon footprint labels into Australia.
So why is this significant? It shows a growing interest that consumers have in knowing the total environmental impact of their product choices. In the UK, there are more than 2,500 individual product lines carrying these carbon footprint labels as companies see the advantages of sharing this information with their customers. It will only be a matter of time before such a program gets some traction in this country.
I expect within the next two years we will see a major initiative like this undertaken in the US. The most challenging hurdles will be in creating standards to measure each component of a product and its packaging. I wrote about Fat Tire Beer and their complete carbon footprint measurement project - the report ran to 37 pages.
Regardless of the complexity, this movement is inevitable and the companies that become the first to share the environmental impact of their products will be seen as the leaders. Of course, this information will have to take up valuable label real estate which will create another challenge for designers of product labels.