Goods and services to get carbon ratingCalculator to measure greenhouse gas emissions

31 May 2007

A carbon footprint calculator is being developed to measure the greenhouse gas emissions of all goods and services.

Its aim is to give an eco-impact figure for everything from bags of crisps to airline flights, according to the Carbon Trust.

The scheme's purpose is to create a single benchmark for measuring all products and services in the UK.

It will help companies measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated during the 'lifecycle' of their goods.

Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and BSI British Standards announced the scheme yesterday.

A panel of experts on the project's technical advisory group will take around 18 months to come up with the methodology for measuring carbon footprints, a Carbon Trust spokeswoman said.

It will build on a pilot system created by the Carbon Trust for measuring the carbon footprint of goods produced by major brands including Boots, Walkers and innocent.

The Carbon Trust has already developed a logo which will be displayed on those companies' goods.

Reducing impact

Environment Minister Ian Pearson said: '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.'

The scheme will be important in helping Britain become a low-carbon economy, Mr Pearson added.

Once it is developed, firms will voluntarily use the new system for working out the carbon footprints of their goods and services.

Production and transport

It will take in carbon emissions generated during stages such as production, transport and product use.

The scheme will be the first step towards the creation of an internationally agreed standard.

A Carbon Trust spokeswoman said the aim was to create a single system which could be used across the board.

The announcement follows the Soil Association's decision to assess whether air-freighted goods should be stripped of their 'organic' status.

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