Calculating Procedure and Labeling Scheme



On October, 2008, LUQUE ECOLOGICO has announced its intent to begin a voluntary carbon footprint (CF) labeling program in 2009.  The labeling would initially be applicable to our LUQUE Organic Olive Oil and would rate it based on CO2 emitted during the life of the product from the procurement of raw materials through production, distribution, use, and eventual disposal.


After having the procedure, CF labeling will be applied to a wide variety of products and these could eventually be included in the voluntary labeling scheme.  


The proposal complements main countries commitments made under the Kyoto protocol to reduce CO2 emission to 6 percent of 1990 levels by 2012.  Our company has been eager to find ways to achieve this goal, which with just four years remaining is proving increasingly difficult to attain.


In cooperation with a consulting we are formulating these guidelines. Carbon labeling matches LUQUE ECOLOGICO’s general goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and we would like to see consumers change their lifestyles in a way that results in fewer CO2 emissions.


Other countries considering similar regulations including United Kingdom, France and Germany. 


There are some other programs that evaluate the eco-friendliness of agricultural and forestry products such as the “food mileage” program, the MSC (Marine Steward Council) and Marine Eco Label Japan (MEL Japan) programs for seafood, and various “forest certification” programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and Sustainable Green Eco-Council (SGEC).  In addition, there is “legally harvested wood” programs.


Specifics of the Proposal


Carbon Labeling Pilot Project


LUQUE ECOLOGICO will begin a one-year pilot project for CF labeling in the spring or summer of 2009.   Currently 4 more companies, most of which are organic, have agreed to participate in the project.  A standard label will not be created until sometime in 2009. At this point all of the products participating in the project are manufactured domestically though some undoubtedly contain imported ingredients.  Whether participating in the pilot project directly or just offering comments or suggestions on the guidelines, Junta de Andalucia (Andalusian Government) encourages companies to engage with the Project in order to ensure that the guidelines are developed in a way that does not place imported goods at any disadvantage.

Examples of Carbon foot print labeling
Examples of Carbon foot print labeling

Public Outreach


LUQUE ECOLOGICO has held several outreach events to share information on the project with consumers and distribution sector. 

LUQUE ECOLOGICO will hold a public comment period in 2009 and is expected to soon release a final report.  The labeling scheme could be significantly affected by the domestic food industry’s reaction to the guidelines and trial period.  LUQUE ECOLOGICO also will conduct a consumer survey on the scheme at some different Exhibitions Shows during 2009.


Implications for Carbon Footprint Labeling


One of the main challenges associated with CF labeling is the difficulty in creating a calculation for green house gas (GHG) emissions that is consistent and accurate.  A given product can have different scores based on the calculation employed. The main reason for the disparity is the great number of data points involved.  For example, CO2 emissions can vary widely depending on the production or use of the product and the energy source involved.  At best, the calculation is a rough estimate based on a number of approximations rather than concrete measurements. 


Calculating GHG emissions for Organic Olive Oil from an Organic Olive grove, for example, demonstrates the complexities involved in producing precise measurements.  Machinery and Industry can be a significant source of GHG emissions.  Green surface, Organic fertilizers, use of pits as fuel, composting residues for being applied to fields, use of recycled packs … will help reduction of emissions .  An estimate of CO2 emissions would require quantifying and allocating total emissions among all the sources.


LUQUE ECOLOGICO’s CO2 labeling proposal calls for creating a basic methodology with specific items falling under several broad categories.  Under the pilot, Junta de Andalucia and consulting will create their own labeling proposals.  It will allow companies to develop different methodologies that will be subject to review and approval by a number of committees.


Consumer Impact


CO2 labeling can be useful to consumers as a general guideline.  However, with the calculation complexities involved, CF labels are inevitably oversimplified and can lead to consumer misunderstanding and ultimately cynicism.  A lack of space on CF labels will prevent enough information from being presented for a consumer to fully understand the product.  On the other hand, too much information on the label would create extra confusion. 


Industry Impact


Certain products will be at a competitive disadvantage with CF labeling.  In general, items that are minimally processed such as fruits and vegetables will have lower CO2 emissions than those subject to greater processing.  Plant based products may have better scores than meat and seafood products due to the mitigating effects of the plant on CO2 in the atmosphere.  CO2 emissions can vary depending upon the area or climate produced.  Fruits raised in orchards could be associated with less CO2 emissions than those raised in greenhouses. And even organic products will score better than conventional ones. It will be our case:  LUQUE Organic Olive Oil.

Packaging can be a major contributor to an item’s CO2 output such as the aluminum cans used for beverages.  It is generally thought that transportation of items can be a significant source of emissions, especially for items that are transported by air.  This is a potential disadvantage for internationally traded product; however, in some cases shipping may prove comparable or advantageous to other forms of transport such as trucking depending on conditions and distance. 


Finally, respect for the environment is our goal as ORGANIC OLIVE TREE GROWERS and ORGANIC OLIVE OIL PRODUCERS since 1989.