Comparing voluntary sustainability initiatives and product carbon footprinting in the food sector, with a particular focus on environmental impacts and developing countries

Lead author: Katharina Plassmann       Year: 2018      

Publication Abstract

Two types of private voluntary standards used in the food sector are analyzed in this article. Namely, sustainability initiatives that encourage best practice management on farms for environmental, social and economic gains, and also product carbon footprints (PCFs) that estimate the climate impact of products across entire supply chains. Concern is sometimes voiced about the potential negative impacts of both on exports from developing countries, especially related to outcome‐based PCF initiatives which involve complex calculations and could present particular burdens for small producers. It is argued here that both approaches have a role to play in the conservation of our environment, though both have advantages and disadvantages. The article concludes with recommendations for policy‐makers and standard setters.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Katharina Plassmann