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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The future of carbon labeling – Factors to consider

Edenbrandt, Anna Kristina; Nordström, Jonas


Compared to other policy instruments that aim to change consumer behavior, information provision is perhaps the least controversial. An important question is how information in the form of carbon labels can contribute to direct food consumption toward reduced climate impact. From a policy guidance perspective, there is a need to identify how the labeling strategy affects consumers’ ability to identify lower emitting food products and the behavioral change due to carbon information. Key aspects of a carbon label are discussed, as well as the implications of different labeling schemes. Drawing on economic and behavioral theories, we propose that, to assist consumers in identifying changes in consumption that contribute to significant reductions in their climate impact, a carbon label must enable comparisons between product groups and not only within narrowly defined product groups. This suggests mandatory labeling, since producers of high-emission products are less likely to display such labels. However, it is important to consider both costs and benefits of labeling schemes and to consider complementing labeling with other policy instruments.


carbon label; climate label; consumer behavior; food choice

Published in

Agricultural and Resource Economics Review
2023, Volume: 52, number: 1, pages: 151-167

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    • Sustainable Development Goals

      Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
      Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

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