Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does carbon labeling give developing countries a bad deal?

Date:
November 27, 2009
Source:
University, Newcastle
Summary:
Carbon labeling could unfairly disadvantage economies in the developing world, and mislead consumers, according to a new study. Researchers in the UK have investigated the wider implications of including details of carbon footprints on food labels. They found that current approaches to carbon labeling may not be an accurate guide to sustainability, and might have serious and unintended consequences for poorer countries.

Carbon labeling could unfairly disadvantage economies in the developing world, and mislead consumers, according to an interdisciplinary project carried out by the UK Research Councils' Rural Economy and Land Use Programme.

Researchers at the universities of Bangor and Surrey have investigated the wider implications of including details of carbon footprints on food labels. They found that current approaches to carbon labeling may not be an accurate guide to sustainability, and might have serious and unintended consequences for poorer countries.

The team has pinpointed several areas which need to be addressed. They say that schemes often discriminate in the ways they gather information. For example, the figures quoted may declare greenhouse gas emissions caused by clearing native forest for agriculture in developing countries -- while crops from Europe seldom include these, because the land was cleared long ago.

On the other hand, additional carbon sequestered in soil under tree and bush crops commonly grown in developing countries is seldom shown in the carbon footprint.

The researchers emphasize that more accurate databases are needed, in order to ensure that the figures used are fair, and argue that these should be publicly available on a central website, giving detailed information about how they were gathered.

Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones of Bangor University said: "Consultants often come up with numbers without actually visiting the farms or countries involved, so they tend to work with "standard" scenarios. They may even use the same findings to calculate carbon footprints over a large geographical region, thus masking differences between individual countries and farms. It should be made clear exactly how such figures are derived.

"It's also important to include the entire lifecycle of the product, and to give details of how each phase contributes. For example, coffee has a relatively high footprint, but consumers should realize that most of that occurs in the home, when they use energy to prepare their favorite beverage, rather than in the coffee plantation. Signing up our homes to renewable energy tariffs will benefit the planet much more than worrying about the country of origin of our food."

The researchers also suggest ways in which developing countries could reduce their carbon footprint, including processing goods before export. Drying and canning for example, result in products with a longer shelf-life that can be carried by sea, rather than air-freighted, and add value for local producers. The methods employed may also rely more on human labour than on technology, thus using less fossil fuel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University, Newcastle. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University, Newcastle. "Does carbon labeling give developing countries a bad deal?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091127133424.htm>.
University, Newcastle. (2009, November 27). Does carbon labeling give developing countries a bad deal?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091127133424.htm
University, Newcastle. "Does carbon labeling give developing countries a bad deal?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091127133424.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins