Tesco labels will show products' carbon footprints


Tesco is to test putting 'carbon labels' on its own-brand products next month in a move to enable consumers to choose products which are less damaging to the environment.

The retailer will put carbon-count labels on varieties of orange juice, potatoes, energy-efficient light bulbs and washing detergent, stating the quantity in grammes of CO2 equivalent put into the atmosphere by their manufacture and distribution.

Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said - "We will give the carbon content of the product and the category average." The labels should eventually allow shoppers to compare carbon costs in the same way they can now compare salt and calorie content.

The UK's biggest supermarket first announced its intention to put carbon counts on up to 70,000 products some 15 months ago. It has since been working with the Carbon Trust to find an accurate method of labelling. "It has not been simple, but we are there" - said Leahy.

Tesco will unveil the details of the scheme shortly and the chief executive said he hoped the labels "will end-up being a standard".

He promised "a revolution in green consumption" - saying that he wants to bring the environmental movement into the mass market. Tesco's corporate carbon footprint is about 4m tonnes a year.