New standards for businesses to calculate the carbon footprint of goods and services will allow them to assess their products’ environmental impact, forming the basis of a possible wider carbon-labelling scheme.

Launched by BSI British Standards and the Carbon Trust, PAS 2050 provides companies with the tools to analyse a product’s life cycle and assess its carbon emissions from sourcing raw materials through to packing and distribution.

Dairy companies are already looking at ways of applying PAS 2050 to the dairy chain with Dairy UK’s Fergus McReynolds welcoming the standards. “For the first time businesses now have a template for assessing and benchmarking their products’ environmental impact,” he said.”

“As an industry, we are aware of the need to keep reducing our environmental impact. That is why we have agreed a set of demanding environmental targets with DEFRA in the Milk Roadmap.”

Mr McReynolds is urging the industry to accept PAS 2050. But, although the standards are currently voluntary, the longer term effects that such standards could have on food labelling remain to be seen.