Decrease Carbon Footprint by Providing Products with Carbon Emissions Labels

Target: Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Members of the FTC

Goal: Provide products with carbon emissions labels to better inform consumers of the environmental impact of their purchases.

We demand a lot of our products, and specifically the labels we put on them. We can stress over calories and ingredients, or whether our food was produced organically, but what about the effects our buying habits have on the environment? A lot of times, it is hard for consumers to understand the impact their buying habits can have on the world outside the market; but if that information were made available, would we make different decisions at the register?

Environmentalists believe that carbon emission labels, which are intended to provide this information, would give consumers the means to make better purchasing decisions. While the idea of labeling products in this way is not new, the labels themselves have yet to gain the popularity necessary to see them through. Europe has already attempted to label common products with the amount of carbon emissions produced by each, but because this type of labeling can get rather complicated; the project was practically nixed.

But it should not be forgotten. According to recent Gallup and Pew polls, approximately 50 percent of Americans do not believe in climate change and the damage it can cause. Depending on the poll and the questions asked, these numbers are going to differ; but what is most clear is that there is still a substantial amount of citizens living in the U.S. that do not recognize climate change as a present threat, despite firm evidence to point otherwise.

While the concept may need to get the kinks worked out of it, the project should not be altogether abandoned. By including the price of carbon emissions with the price of the product, consumers can begin to understand the true cost of each purchase. Perhaps then, at the very least, if consumers cannot consume more responsibly they can consume less.


Dear Mr. Leibowitz and Members of the FTC,

Although there is plenty of evidence pointing to the effects of global warming, many Americans still do not believe that the threat is real. Whether avoiding the facts or simply seeing different ones, many to do not feel that the actions they make have any impact on the environment around them. Because of this discrepancy between what is going on and what people understand, it is clear that more needs to be done to educate the country about carbon emissions.

Supplying products with a carbon emissions label will help to bridge the gap between consumers and the environment which they are impacting. By providing this information, the FTC can help to enhance informed consumer decisions. While it may be difficult to get this ball rolling, I hope that the project is not abandoned.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. There should also be labeling of household cleaning products, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer strips and fragrances. they are major contributors of pure carbon into our atmosphere.

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