Labelexpo 2023: Finat launches product carbon footprint and life cycle analysis initiative

Finat, the European label association, has presented a new initiative designed to give guidance to the label industry on the growing market demand for product carbon footprint data. The initiative is part of Finat’s four-pillar programme designed to increase the association’s agility in the areas of community networking, knowledge, collaboration and industry advocacy. The product carbon footprint leaflet and video are part of several new releases presented at Labelexpo Europe.

14 Sep 2023 | By Disha Chakraborty

Alex Knott of Finat during the press conference

In view of environmental concerns among citizens, consumers, producers and legislators, the impact of environmental social and governance criteria on business behaviour is growing. There is a growing demand for objective criteria to measure the environmental impact of labels and packaging products and processes and to provide data to customers and stakeholders.

But there are challenges in obtaining and providing the appropriate data and in comparing alternative solutions. Data for which they need input from their suppliers since they can only provide data about their own sphere of influence (scope 1 and 2) whereas also ‘scope 3’ data are needed from further up the value chain. 

Finat has therefore initiated a project to provide clarity and give guidance to the label community on the subject of product carbon footprint (PCF) and life cycle analysis (LCA). As a first step, at the press conference, on Tuesday 12 September, Finat launched a brochure and animated video to explain the basics of PCF and LCA, the distinction between the two and the fact that this needs an entire value chain approach. 

The two next steps for 2023-2024 are:

· a survey of existing calculation methods currently being used in the labels and packaging production chain (for release in the first quarter of 2024), and

· a guidance document towards harmonising the PCF/LCA approach along the label value chain. This will be done in the form of a whitepaper and presentation at the next FINAT Technical Seminar to be held from 20-22 November 2024 in Barcelona 

Alex Knott said: “In the course of the past year, Finat has been approached by several label converters and national label associations to support them in addressing demands from label customers to provide data about the environmental impact of their labels and packaging. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the different methodologies and definitions, so as a first step we decided to prepare an illustrated document and animated video to explain the basics of product carbon footprint (PCF, which focuses on the aggregated emissions during the process), and life cycle analysis (LCA, which is much broader than just emissions). As a second step, during the next twelve months, a team of volunteers from Finat and national label associations will focus on providing clarity about the different calculation methodologies at play in the labels and packaging chain. As a third and final step in this project, at our technical seminar next year, we will present a whitepaper aiming to align the approaches along the value chain. In doing so, we will build on earlier work done several years ago when we released our first LCA guidance document.”