Azara Blog: The Carbon Trust wants businesses to profile pollution of products

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Date published: 2006/11/21

The BBC says:

A scheme designed to help companies measure the total amount of carbon emissions from their goods and services has been launched by the Carbon Trust.

The "cradle-to-grave" initiative will provide businesses with a profile of products' pollution, from the sourcing of raw materials through to disposal.

A recent poll by the Trust showed that 66% of people asked wanted to know the "carbon footprint" of their purchases.

The carbon audits aim to identify ways firms can cut energy use and emissions.

Not the stupidest idea but can it be done properly? Does anyone know if some good has been produced using solar energy or oil or gas or coal? Does anyone know if a good made in China has come via road or rail to get to the port? Or even a good made in the UK? Does anyone have a clue how much pollution is produced for any good made in China? (And this is relevant since most goods in the UK have at least some components made in China.) So this looks more like an exercise in self-justification for the Carbon Trust than anything else. The Carbon Trust is one of the zillions of quangos afflicting the nation, whose main purpose in life seems to be self-justification.

And the poll result is meaningless. First of all they should have told the people what the cost of this information would be. (Surprise, all the people assume someone else would pay the cost, but in fact they would, as consumers, somehow or other.) Secondly, what people say in polls is meaningless in any case. In this case, for example, would this alleged knowledge actually be used by anyone (as a consumer), other than by a few members of the academic middle class?

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