ECLAC Issues Guide on Carbon Footprint and Food Exports

ECLACNovember 2012: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released a guide to the growing interplay between trade and climate-related initiatives in industrialized countries, with specific attention given to efforts to measure and label the "carbon footprint" of products, and how they may affect Latin American and Caribbean agricultural and food exports.

According to ECLAC, the Guide  is "presented in accessible language, but without sacrificing technical rigor" so as to be usable by students, civil society organizations, governments and the private sector.

The Guide opens by summarizing the climate change issue, its causes, impacts, trends, public policy responses and the global negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It then outlines the linkages between climate change and international trade, and describes methodologies currently used to measure the carbon footprint of goods traded internationally. The Guide further reviews existing carbon footprint and environmental footprint labeling initiatives, such as the GHG Protocol, the UK's PAS 2050/2060 Standard and France's Bilan Carbone, and those under development in key export markets for Latin America and the Caribbean. Finally, the Guide discusses the perspectives of the business sector, whose carbon footprint is already being measured or likely to be measured, especially for those agricultural and food products intended for export.

The Guide is the product of a collaborative effort between two projects managed by ECLAC's Division of International Trade and Integration, one under the UN Development Account on "Strengthening the Capacities of Governments and Food Exporters to Adapt to the Requirements of Climate Change," the other the "integration, trade and investment" component of the 2010-2013 Technical Cooperation Program between ECLAC and the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID). [Publication: Carbon Footprint and Food Exports. A Practical Guide (in Spanish)]