Why we push
for a universal Carbon Score

Julien Morganti
January 10, 2023

It is urgent to inform consumers about their environmental impacts. Here are
5 reasons we push for a universal Carbon Score.

1) Consumers are asking for it

As climate crisis consequences are only beginning to be felt throughout the world, it is crucial that people transform their consumption behaviors to reduce their carbon emissions. The good news is, consumers are increasingly keen to make a difference. A recent study shows that 70% of Europeans are willing to take environmental factors into account when making purchases. It is essential to answer that need and provide them with effective solutions.

2 Existing tools are insufficient

As of today, very little environmental information is available to consumers. Whether shopping online or in a physical store, you can rely on detailed product data about impacts on health,  components,  price, but almost nothing when it comes to environmental footprints. 

In Europe, the few existing labels provide incomplete information and aren't understood by most consumers.

Honestly, how many of the following European labels can you identify and understand ?

3) Greenwashing needs real tackling

Facing increasing concern from consumers about their environmental impacts, companies sometimes put more effort into communication than into actual change.
Misleading claims, unsourced data, or simply the use of the colour green without further explanation ; All forms of Greenwashing currently thrive unhindered in environmental communication. The only remedy is a transparent, universal standard to objectively assess how a product or service impacts the environment.

4) Nutriscore did wonders for healthy consumption

An interesting predecessor of the carbon-score is the nutri-score, introduced in France in 2014 to provide insights on the nutritional value of food products. The impact of that new indicator on sales was drastic : Not only did high-grade products fare better than low-grade products, but there was also a stark decrease in sales for ungraded products according to a study. Consumers want reliable information, and will consider a lack of transparency as an evidence for guilt.
The impressive success of Yumia, a French app giving insights on the healthiness of products, is further proof of European consumers thirst for transparency.

5) Time is running out

The Paris agreement to keep climate change well below 2°C requires urgent action. We need a staggering 43% decrease in carbon emissions by 2030 in order to reach carbon neutrality in 2050. This urgency calls for immediate action, from everyone, at every level. Individuals have a pivotal role to play, and will need considerable help in order to reduce their personal carbon footprints by 5 - In France, the average carbon footprint is 9.9T, while the Paris Agreement target is 2T.

Expecting such a drastic shift from consumers without providing them with proper tools would be wishful thinking. Consumers are willing to make the leap, it is time to trust them and hand them the keys.

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