Carbon Footprint Visibility tools
Inclusion of fossil fuel ratings on everyday products, possibly using a traffic light system similar the one used on some food stuffs. In effect, a red/amber/green schema to be developed to show the individual fossil fuel cost of production, transport and disposal respectively. The fossil fuel impact of purchases to be printed out on receipts so consumers can see the combined impact of buying activity. Factors that could be taken into account may include – Production • Cost of extraction and refinement of raw materials • What it took to produce/construct/package the item • Energy used in manufacture/ to sow, grow and harvest crops or feed and raise animals. Transport • Transport of raw materials to the manufacturer, and end destination • Hidden transport – was more than one manufacturer involved in creation of the end product? • Transport to abattoir / market for farmed commodities. Disposal • What it will take to dispose of the item – does it need to go to landfill, how long will it take to decompose, long-term effects of disposal, etc. • In the case of consumer items, what happens if the product fails? Is it fixable, or is obsolescence built in? Can it be recycled?
In the longer term, use of this data may find other applications, including a more meaningful linkage between executive remuneration and the reduced dependence on fossil fuels by businesses, and increased taxation for potentially excessive / unnecessary fossil fuel usage.