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Sustainability urged by new product standard

Manufacturers are being encouraged to think about reducing emissions during the design, making and supply of a product following the launch of a new product standard.

PAS 2050 will encourage businesses to think about how to cut the carbon emissions during the production process and will force them to think about embedded costs including the heating, cooling, ventilation and humidity control of both manufacturing and storage space.

BSI British Standards in partnership with the Carbon Trust and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have developed the standard which will guide businesses towards providing more sustainable goods or services.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “Companies have said they want to be able to count their carbon emissions in a better way, so we have responded.  By looking at where the emissions are being created and reducing them, businesses can also save themselves money. 

“You can’t see or count emissions when you buy a product.  But consumers want to know that emissions are being cut by businesses and this standard will help businesses to do that. 

“In addition to measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of their products businesses will be able to offer advice to the public about the most environmentally friendly ways to choose, use and dispose of their products.”

The standard provides a consistent way of calculating the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in goods and services throughout their entire life cycle including sourcing raw materials, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal. 

It is hoped the new standard will not only help businesses reduce the carbon footprint of existing products and services, but also develop greener products.

Tom Delay, Carbon Trust chief executive, said: “For the first time, businesses have a robust, consistent standard for measuring the carbon footprint of their goods and services.

“This exciting development will help businesses to really understand the carbon impact of their products and to follow this up with tangible ways to cut carbon emissions across the supply chain.

“The Carbon Trust has been part of this work from the outset and we are delighted that PAS 2050 is now publicly available for any company to use.”

Mike Low, director of BSI British Standards, said: “PAS 2050 has been developed using BSI’s rigorous consultation process, involving almost a thousand industry experts from within the UK and internationally. 

“The result is a robust framework within which businesses and public sector bodies will be able to assess the greenhouse gas emissions of their goods and services in a consistent manner.

“Our hope is that it will be used widely by organizations of all sizes and sectors.  PAS 2050 is the latest addition to BSI’s rapidly expanding stable of standards and tools in the area of sustainability and the environment, which enable organizations to manage their operations in a more sustainable manner.”