What's the carbon footprint of your product?

Press release - 29 October 2008

Businesses can from today 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, Muller, British Sugar, ABAgri, Sainsbury’s, Danone, Continental Clothing Company, Colors Fruit, Morphy Richards, Mey Selections and Aggregate Industries.

Some of the results include:

• For its Botanics shampoo, Boots has redesigned its logistics network so that products could be delivered direct to stores, reducing road miles and packaging, this alone has reduced the carbon footprint of making the shampoo by 10 per cent.
• By working with one of its suppliers, Innocent helped identify an opportunity for the supplier to set up a group of employees to look at how they could increase the amount of waste materials being recycled throughout the factory. In the first month, waste to landfill was reduced by 15 per cent, and within six months the reduction reached 54 per cent.

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 organizations 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 organizations to manage their operations in a more sustainable manner.”

PAS 2050 will pave the way for business to provide transparent and reliable information on the carbon content of their products.

- ENDS -


1. You can find a full copy of the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050 at www.bsigroup.com/pas2050
2. PAS 2050 Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services is an independent standard. The Carbon Trust and Defra have co-sponsored the development of PAS 2050 by BSI British Standards.

3. The development of PAS 2050 has been overseen by an independent Steering Group, made up of NGOs, academics, business and government, supported by a number of Working Groups to discuss technical issues.

4. BSI British Standards is the UK’s National Standards Body, recognized globally for its independence, integrity and innovation in the production of standards and information products that promote and share best practice. BSI works with businesses, consumers and government to represent UK interests and to make sure that British, European and international standards are useful, relevant and authoritative. For further information please visit www.bsigroup.com/britishstandards.

5. 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 2,300 staff operating in over 120 countries through more than 50 global offices. For further information please visit www.bsigroup.com.

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; and
• Training services in support of standards implementation and business best practice.

6. The Carbon Trust is an independent company set up by government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies. The Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector through its 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 government.

7. For more information on the Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label visit www.carbon-label.co.uk or call the Carbon Trust Advice Line on 0800 085 2005.