On the rocky road to a global carbon footprinting standard

The world’s first publicly available specification for measuring the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in goods and services has just emerged in the UK. Hannah Pearce explores its likely impact on future global standards.

Industry’s desire for a consistent method to measure the carbon impact of processes, materials and decisions occurring throughout the life cycle of goods and services can hardly be overstated.

Yet, for several years, the pursuit of an optimised carbon footprint methodology for measuring the ‘embodied’ greenhouse gas emissions of products took a back seat in the wider European debate about carbon accounting. Currently several methodologies exist, producing wide variation in results (see figure 1).

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