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Japan to Label Goods with Footprint

Carbon's the New Calorie: Japan to Label Goods with Footprint

Japan has plans to label consumer goods like beer and detergents with their carbon footprints. Officials think the standardized label will raise corporate and consumer awareness of global warming. Britain and France already place similar labels on products.

So say you want to eat a bag of potato chips. Forget the calories — you have a carbon footprint to think about. Each bag emits 75 grams (2.63 ounces) of carbon dioxide. If you want to break it down, like you'd break down saturated and trans fats, 44 percent of the carbon dioxide comes from growing the potatoes, 30 percent comes from producing the chips, 15 percent comes from packaging, 9 percent comes from delivery, and 2 percent comes from tossing the bag. I'm guessing these figures are estimates, since each product must have a unique footprint.

While certainly more work needs to be done to make the footprint calculations accurate and globally standard, the label will provide information to consumers who want it, while everyone else can ignore it. And who knows, maybe businesses will become more efficient in hopes of attracting customers.

Join The Conversation
stephley stephley 9 years
Because if you don't invite them to your birthday party, how can you do the "I'm-all-low-carbon-footprint" superiority dance in front of them?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I'm in favor of anything that gets more information to the consumer. I wonder, does anyone have a problem if I buy healthier foods and feel proud of myself for eating better than the person with a cart full of junk food? Why does doing something better mean you're an elitist. I'd buy low-carbon-footprint food, but it's not like I won't invite people don't to my birthday party.
stephley stephley 9 years
Pop, isn't there a cornstarch base they can make the labels from that can melt away? Maybe leave a rainbow? :)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Of course, dare I say that these labels themselves would obviously increase the footprint?
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i kind of like this idea - people don't realize how much of a footprint they are leaving on the planet which impacts the environment, but if there's a means now to track what you're doing a bit - just by seeing the impact of a few products then it'll raise your social consciousness.
stephley stephley 9 years
Either way, you're being ridiculously judgmental and should consider getting a life.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
Janneth, your definition is wrong. Superiority, yes. Entitlement, no. Elitism is the belief that you are socially superior. So, when a person buys a product with a smaller carbon footprint and congratulates themselves for being more socially advanced than his neighbor buying a different product, that is elitism. If you're doing it because you genuinely care about the environment and think it will help, I wouldn't call it that.
janneth janneth 9 years
Isn't it more elitist to knowingly purchase a product that is using up the earth's resources inefficiently? elitism = sense of entitlement, superiority
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
UnDave there are already green snobs running amok. :) Sure it will be another way for them to be snobby, but I don't think that in and of itself makes this bad. Honestly, if this sort of information is important to people I think it's great that it will be available! I would personally enjoy it from a learning perspective. I think I would find it fascinating that certain products were significantly higher than others etc.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
There are groups who will look down on other people because they purchase certain items even though they come from a little further away. This is just another way to be elitist.
silversnowflake silversnowflake 9 years
There are groups of people who will question their actions before they purchase certain items. I think its a good thing Great Sommelier.
stephley stephley 9 years
If they can come up with a standard that's accurate, I have no problem with this. It's a good way to understand how far some products have to travel to get to our grocery carts.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
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