Are More Carbon Footprint Labels Coming to the Grocery Store?
Author: Riya Anne Polcastro
The dairy alternative brand Oatly is using its newly reformulated oat milk yogurt line to introduce U.S. consumers to its climate footprint label - which the company has featured on products in European markets since 2021. Seeing more carbon footprint labels on food products could signal an important shift toward more informed and responsible consumption, as Americans report a willingness to make changes for the sake of the planet. Such labeling could be a boon for producers with small carbon footprints while perhaps encouraging carbon-heavy producers in sectors like such as beef to find ways to lighten the load. The CO2e measurements include not just carbon emissions, but also other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide and methane which have been conved into interchangeable units in order to incorporate them in the total footprint. However, the brand is clear that carbon footprint labels are neither required nor standardized, and they're of little recourse to consumers until they become so. Thus the brand is hoping to inspire other producers in the industry to follow suit while encouraging consumers to eat more plant-based and low-carbon alternatives.