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.
Dr Detlef Virchow
Food Security Center (FSC)
University of Hohenheim