I don’t think anyone should be surprised that Tesco has dropped its association with the carbon reduction label. The early reported costs of achieving the label beggared belief – and even with economies of scale, the approach was never going to grow legs. The whole scheme seemed like a pipe dream when it was announced, given the number of products on the average supermarket shelf.
And the problem was not only the reported costs of assessment, but also getting consumers to understand the results. Did we really think that consumers would understand or engage with the idea that 80g of CO2 for a bag of crisps was good or bad?
Let’s also be clear that Tesco has only ditched a carbon label, not a true ‘eco-label’ – i.e. one that seeks to take into account all manner of environmental impacts in a product’s lifecycle. A single issue label was always going to be controversial, particularly being promoted by only one of the big supermarkets looking for green hero status.
What’s the alternative?