Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 153–160 | Cite as

Customer Response to Carbon Labelling of Groceries

  • Jerome K. VanclayEmail author
  • John Shortiss
  • Scott Aulsebrook
  • Angus M. Gillespie
  • Ben C. Howell
  • Rhoda Johanni
  • Michael J. Maher
  • Kelly M. Mitchell
  • Mark D. Stewart
  • Jim Yates
Original Paper


Thirty-seven products were labelled to indicate embodied carbon emissions, and sales were recorded over a 3-month period. Green (below average), yellow (near average), and black (above average) footprints indicated carbon emissions embodied in groceries. The overall change in purchasing pattern was small, with black-labelled sales decreasing 6% and green-labelled sales increasing 4% after labelling. However, when green-labelled products were also the cheapest, the shift was more substantial, with a 20% switch from black- to green-label sales. These findings illustrate the potential for labelling to stimulate reductions in carbon emissions.


Carbon label Ecological footprint Emissions reduction Green consumers Consumer environmental purchasing behaviour 



This project received ethics approval number ECN-08-089 from Southern Cross University and was conducted as part of the undergraduate subject FOR00110 Natural Resource Policy within the School of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University. Thanks to the manufacturers and suppliers of goods included in this study for assisting with calculations and supplying information about carbon footprints.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome K. Vanclay
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Shortiss
    • 2
  • Scott Aulsebrook
    • 1
  • Angus M. Gillespie
    • 1
  • Ben C. Howell
    • 1
  • Rhoda Johanni
    • 1
  • Michael J. Maher
    • 1
  • Kelly M. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Mark D. Stewart
    • 1
  • Jim Yates
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.East Ballina FoodworksEast BallinaAustralia

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