Pioneering new regional platform helps track carbon footprints

Photo Credit: Kibae Park

The First Asia Carbon Footprint Network (ACFN) was launched last week as an effort in East Asia to support the use of product labels that tell customers the carbon dioxide emissions created as a by-product of manufacturing, transporting or disposing of the item they are buying.

The first meeting of the Network, convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), brought together representatives from 14 organizations to share knowledge and expertise on the methods for compiling these labels, a process known as carbon footprinting or carbon labeling.
The Carbon Footprint of Products (CFP), a new initiative for many, aims to determine the carbon intensity of products during their life cycles. In this regard, carbon footprint programmes could play a key role in market-based mechanisms as well as help support consumers, producers and markets to move towards low carbon pathways.

“This is the first regional network in the world dedicated to promoting a carbon labeling programme and to maximizing the efficiency of our limited time and resources,” Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director of ESCAP’s East and North-East Asia Office said in his opening remarks.

China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand have made significant progress in launching and operating carbon labeling programmes or carbon footprint programmes that highlight the climate-specific dimension of products. The ACFN is expected to play an important role as the regional platform to share knowledge and expertise among the member organizations.

ESCAP and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) have jointly facilitated dialogues among agencies and experts in East Asia on the current status of carbon footprinting programmes and potential areas of cooperation by holding seminars and workshops since 2011.