Taiwan to promote carbon footprint labeling system
Central News Agency
2010-01-18 05:26 PM
Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) The Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is working on a system to label the carbon footprints of consumption products as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EPA Deputy Minister Chiu Wen-yen said Monday.

Chiu disclosed that the planned labeling system will be first applied to products such as PET-bottled beverages, cookies, candies and CDs, on a trial basis.

He announced the plan at an international forum on "carbon footprints, " which is used to measure the "total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event or product," according to the U.K.-based Carbon Trust.

Carbon Trust is a not-profit company tasked with accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy.

Chiu revealed that the carbon footprint labeling system will be accompanied by a set of carbon footprint calculation criteria targeting Taiwanese products, a set of measures to assist local manufacturers in checking the carbon footprints of their products and applying for carbon labels, a carbon label certification system, and strategies to promote products with carbon labels.

Such work will have a "profound influence" on Taiwan because it is a country that survives on exports, Chiu said.

There will be an increasing demand for carbon labeling on commodities in the future amid a rising global trend for greenhouse house gas emissions reduction, and if Taiwan cannot meet the demand, it could lose many trade opportunities, Chiu warned.

Taking the world's largest chain retailer -- Walmart -- as an example, Chiu said the company has begun asking its suppliers to provide information of the life cycles of their products since last July and will print the information on the price label to tell consumers how much greenhouse gas was emitted during the production.

The move is expected to affect 100,000 Walmart suppliers, he added.

Meanwhile, British chain retailer Tesco has been marking carbon emission volumes on some of it products since the spring of 2008.

The two-day forum, titled "Following Carbon Footprints -- A New Road to Carbon Reduction, " was organized by the EPA and opened Monday with the participation of Robin Dickinson, the development and project manager at the Carbon Trust, Atsushi Inaba, chairman of Japan's Committee for International Standardization of the Carbon Footprint System under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, World Resources Institute senior researcher Laura Drauker and Gyusoo Joe, the carbon management team manager at the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute.

(By Lee Hsien-feng and Elizabeth Hsu)

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