Carbon labels - pitfalls for developing countries?

Carbon labels for food are a new strategy of industrialised countries to reduce climate change-relevant gas emissions in agriculture. The carbon labels per se seem no threat to (smallholder) farmers in developing countries and may even increase their comparative advantage.

Yet a design of labels in favour of domestic interests of companies in industrialised countries, reflecting their technologies and parameters, may ruin the export prospects of developing countries. Designing cost-effective certification schemes is very difficult, so policy-makers should focus on developing fair and non-discriminatory labels. Given the many possible pitfalls of carbon labels, alternatives to these labels should be also thought about.

Tina Beuchelt
Dr Detlef Virchow
Food Security Center (FSC)
University of Hohenheim
Stuttgart, Germany

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