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Trade Policy Implications of Carbon Labels on Food


  • Baddeley, Shane
  • Cheng, Peter
  • Wolfe, Robert


Carbon labels providing information about the carbon footprints associated with food products might influence consumer purchases, which would have a differential effect on producers throughout global food chains. We first discuss why any labels work and then describe the mechanics of carbon labels. The novelty of the paper is an examination of the issues members of the WTO have raised about all types of labels since 1995. Although carbon labels are voluntary standards for now, their increasing use could become effectively mandatory. Difficulties for exporters will include the lack of an international standard and the challenge, especially for developing country exporters, of dealing with complex carbon footprint procedures.

Suggested Citation

  • Baddeley, Shane & Cheng, Peter & Wolfe, Robert, 2012. "Trade Policy Implications of Carbon Labels on Food," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 13(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:121942

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    Cited by:

    1. Benedetto, Graziella & Rugani, Benedetto & Vázquez-Rowe, Ian, 2014. "Rebound effects due to economic choices when assessing the environmental sustainability of wine," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 167-173.
    2. Grebitus, Carola & Steiner, Bodo & Veeman, Michele M., 2016. "Paying for sustainability: A cross-cultural analysis of consumers’ valuations of food and non-food products labeled for carbon and water footprints," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 50-58.
    3. Petros C. Mavroidis & Robert Wolfe, 2016. "Private Standards and the WTO: Reclusive No More," RSCAS Working Papers 2016/17, European University Institute.


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