Step forward on reducing climate change impacts from products


30 May 2007

Today the Carbon Trust and Defra announced that they will be working with BSI British Standards to co-sponsor the development of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for the measurement of the embodied greenhouse gases (GHGs) in products and services.

The aim of the work is to develop an agreed method for measuring embodied GHG emissions which can be applied across a wide range of product and service categories and their supply chains to enable companies to measure the GHG related impacts of their products and reduce them.

Once completed the single standard will ensure a consistent and comparable approach to supply chain measurement of embodied GHGs across markets, it will help companies understand the life-cycle climate change impacts of their products and highlight significant emissions reduction opportunities. The intention is that this is the first step in moving towards an internationally agreed standard for measuring embodied GHG emissions.

The announcement comes the day after the inaugural meeting of the project’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), an independent body chaired by Jim Skea, Director of the Energy Research Centre and consisting of members from NGOs, government and academia.

BSI British Standards will oversee the development of the PAS using the Carbon Trust pilot methodology as a starting point. Through the work of the TAG and a broad 2 stage stakeholder consultation beginning this summer, new and existing best practice work in this area will also be considered in the PAS development. This process is designed to develop a credible, usable method through an open and consultative forum.

Climate Change and Environment Minister Ian Pearson said:

“The products that businesses make, buy and sell have an impact, both on climate change and the wider environment, at all stages from raw material to when the product is no longer required. These are created by the energy and other resources used, and the resulting emissions, in areas like production, transport and use of products as well as waste from packaging and discarded products.

“More and more, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. To help them achieve that we need a reliable, consistent way to measure these impacts that businesses recognise, trust and understand. This is important work and will be fundamental in our efforts to move Britain towards a low-carbon economy in the decades ahead.”

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust said:

“Our work to date on carbon footprinting shows that there is real appetite amongst business to tackle the indirect emissions from their supply chains and to offer clear information to consumers on the carbon impact of their products and services. In order for even more businesses to use this approach it is essential that we develop one universally accepted methodology. We believe today’s announcement will provide confidence to business that this is an achievable and realistic goal.”

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards said:

“BSI British Standards is delighted to be working with the Carbon Trust and Defra to bring clarity and consensus to this important area of work. BSI believes that this is an important first step towards a framework that will enable businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon impact.”

Jim Skea, Chair of the TAG adds:

“All the members of the Technical Advisory Group are excited to be working with this initiative. For the standard to be credible and make a difference, the methods behind the measurement have to be robust. Our job is to make sure that consumers and suppliers can place their trust in the information they are presented with.”

- ENDS -

Spokespeople from BSI British Standards are available for interview. Please contact Lucy Fulton at the BSI press office on 020 8996 7248 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 8996 7248 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Spokespeople from Defra are available for interview. Please contact Penny Fox at the Defra press office on 020 7238 5334 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7238 5334 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Spokespeople from the Carbon Trust are available for interview. Please contact the Carbon Trust Press Office on 020 7544 3100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7544 3100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Notes to Editors

The TAG members are as follows:

  • Jim Skea, Director, UK Energy Research Centre
  • Dr. Paul Jefferiss - Director of Environmental Policy, BP & Carbon Trust Board member
  • Philip Sellwood - Chief Executive, EST
  • Prof. Jacquie Burgess - Professor of Environmental Risk, UEA
  • Mark Kenber - Policy Director, The Climate Group
  • Prof. Tim Jackson - Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey
  • Dr. Sally Uren - Director, Business Programme, Forum for the Future
  • Keith Allott - Head of Climate Change WWF
  • Prof. Roland Clift - Professor of Environmental Technology, University of Surrey
  • Terence Ilott - Defra

BSI British Standards

  • BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards organisation, working with businesses, consumers and government to represent UK interests and facilitate the production of British, European and international standards to meet economic and social needs. For further information please go to
  • A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organization/s and developed according to guidelines set out by BSI. Key stakeholders are brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS that has all the functionality of a British Standard for the purposes of creating management systems, product benchmarks and codes of practice. After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.
  • BSI British Standards is part of BSI Group, a global independent business services organization that inspires confidence and delivers assurance to customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world’s first national standards body, the Group has over 2,250 staff in more than 50 global offices. The Group’s key offerings are:
    - the development and sale of private, national and international standards and supporting information
    - second and third-party management systems assessment and certification
    - product testing and certification of services and products
    - performance management software solutions
    - training services in support of standards implementation and business best practice.

The Carbon Trust

  • The Carbon Trust is a private company set up by government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector to create practical business-focused solutions through its external work in five complementary areas: insights, solutions, innovations, enterprises and investments. Together these help to explain, deliver, develop, create and finance low carbon enterprise.
  • The Carbon Trust is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and Invest NI.
  • For more information on the Carbon Trust visit or call the Carbon Trust Advice Line on 0800 085 2005 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0800 085 2005 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.