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Carbon Labelling and Low Income Country Exports: An Issues Paper


  • Brenton, Paul
  • Edwards-Jones, Gareth
  • Jensen, Michael


In response to growing concerns over climate change, consumers and firms in developed countries are considering their carbon footprint. Carbon labelling is being explored as a mechanism for greenhouse gas emission reduction primarily by private actors. This paper discusses the carbon accounting activities and carbon labelling schemes that are being developed to address these concerns with a view to their impact on small stakeholders, especially low income countries. This discussion centres on transportation, and the common presumption that products produced locally in the country of consumption will have an advantage in terms of carbon emissions, and on size. Exports from low income countries typically depend on long distance transportation and are produced by relatively small firms and tiny farms who will find it difficult to participate in complex carbon labelling schemes. However, the popular belief that trade by definition is problematic since it necessitates transportation, which is a major source of emissions, is generally not true. The scientific evidence shows that carbon efficiencies elsewhere in the supply chain may more than offset the emissions associated with transportation. Indeed, the effective inclusion of low income countries in labelling schemes may offer important opportunities for carbon emission reductions due to their favourable climactic conditions and their current use of low energy intensive production techniques. The disadvantages of small size can be reduced by carbon labelling schemes that use innovative solutions to low cost data collection and certification.

Suggested Citation

  • Brenton, Paul & Edwards-Jones, Gareth & Jensen, Michael, 2008. "Carbon Labelling and Low Income Country Exports: An Issues Paper," MPRA Paper 8971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8971

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. C. Dolan & J. Humphrey, 2000. "Governance and Trade in Fresh Vegetables: The Impact of UK Supermarkets on the African Horticulture Industry," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 147-176.
    2. Leontief, Wassily, 1970. "Environmental Repercussions and the Economic Structure: An Input-Output Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(3), pages 262-271, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Jianyi & Liu, Yuan & Meng, Fanxin & Cui, Shenghui & Xu, Lilai, 2013. "Using hybrid method to evaluate carbon footprint of Xiamen City, China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 220-227.

    More about this item


    carbon labelling; exports; low income countries;

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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