Cadbury furthers carbon footprint debate

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon footprint Chocolate Cadbury plc Greenhouse gas

Cadbury Schweppes has intensified the carbon labelling debate by publishing the carbon footprint of one of its chocolate bars, as industry works to...

Cadbury Schweppes has intensified the carbon labelling debate by publishing the carbon footprint of one of its chocolate bars, as industry works to establish a common greenhouse gas labelling system.

On its website, the company claimed a 49g bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk had a carbon footprint of 169g. It has broken this up across the production process and said the largest single source of emissions was the milk used in the product. This was followed by in-house production at 20% and sugar at 10%. Packaging contributed just 2% to the overall footprint, it said.

“What surprised us were the relatively large contributions of milk production towards our overall footprint and the smaller contributions of transportation, packaging and sugar production,” said Cadbury. On the basis of the findings, the firm said it intended to work with its farmers to help them reduce the footprint of dairy production. “We will be meeting them regularly over the next few months to work together on innovations to reduce our dairy emissions.”

The work tied in with its environmental campaign ‘Purple Goes Green’, said Cadbury. However, it said there would not be a carbon label on any of its products. Rather, it has urged industry and consumers to “watch this space” to see how it proceeds with reducing its carbon footprint.

Cadbury worked with the Carbon Trust to come up with the carbon footprint for the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. Its study included the entire supply chain, from agriculture to final distribution. “In a nutshell, we have measured the energy and fuels used and other greenhouse gas emissions at all stages of the supply chain including agriculture, transport, packaging and waste streams,” said the company.

The move follows the revelation that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Carbon Trust and the British Standards Institute (BSI) are working on a Publicly Available Standard (PAS) for Greenhouse Gas emissions. Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association and environmental association ADAS are also involved in the process.

The project is being undertaken in two phases. The first is due to be completed in March and the second by December. The draft BSI methodology will be tested on commodity foods, including beef, lamb and bread wheat. After modifications, the second phase will apply the measurement system to products such as chicken meat and strawberries.

The work is thought to be a first step along the path to developing International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) accreditation, which would take three to five years.

The project also involves six monthly meetings between the chief executives of the top eight supermarkets and DEFRA secretary of state Hilary Benn.

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