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 at Oxford (UK) were one of main contenders in the contract for Tesco store's labelling research. Unfortunately for them Tesco chose Manchester University.

Below is an extract from, an artical by James Murray:

Dr Brenda Boardman, senior research fellow at Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, argued that while the emergence of carbon labels was welcome there are numerous technical problems that need to be addressed if carbon labels are to prove effective at changing consumer behaviour.

She observed that there needed to be an agreement on where the boundaries for carbon footprint calculations are drawn, arguing that such measurements should not extend "beyond the shelf" and should only focus on areas the supplier can directly control. "I don't want companies telling me that if I wash my hair with cold water that will lower the shampoo's carbon footprint," she said.

She also argued that carbon labels will only prove truly effective when consumers can compare carbon footprints using an A-G colour rating system similar to that shown on electrical devices. However, she warned that the development of such an approach would only be possible if agreement is reached on how to categorise products. "We have to ask if all meat products will go into the G band, or if beef goes in the G band and chicken goes in a lower band, or if just the most carbon intensive beef goes in the G band with other beef products going elsewhere," she observed


Report on roundtable

3rd-4th May 2007, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford

What form will this take? Most British supermarkets do not have a formalised labelling system when it comes to nutrition. Will the green labelling be standardised across the big names in supermarkets.

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