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Brief Published: 5 Aug 2020

Carbon-Labelled Tech Creates Competitive Transparency


Swiss manufacturer Logitech is the first technology company to introduce carbon labelling to its packaging to help consumers understand the environmental footprint of their purchases. As explained in Packaging Futures: The Logistics of Less, labelling this information builds consumer trust and spurs competitive transparency between brands.

The carbon label is being introduced with the company’s gaming accessories before being rolled out across its entire product portfolio by 2025. 

After an eight-year-long audit into Logitech’s environmental impact, the company has worked out how many kilograms of carbon are generated from each product. This number is used on the product’s packaging to encourage consumers to be mindful of this and nudge them towards products with a lighter footprint. 

With obligatory nutritional labels helping consumers understand what they eat, in the same way, carbon-footprint information helps consumers easily understand the environmental impact of their purchases. And the food industry is forging ahead in this, with UK food brand Quorn and multinational brand Unilever adopting carbon labels for their packaging.

However, this is a nascent trend in product design, with early adopters emerging in fashion and toys (see Allbirds and PlanToys). And while the label is currently only useful in comparing Logitech products, its adoption illustrates the company’s belief that this information will become commonplace as brands vie to win the trust of cautious consumers.

“We believe the best way to get companies to drop their carbon consumption is to make it a competitive marketplace around transparency,” Logitech’s chief executive Bracken Darrell told US publication Fast Company.

As this label is not standard within the industry, Logitech had to create its own graphic language, and is open to sharing their design and methodology to rally other companies to work towards transparent communication. 

For more on how transparency around environmental impact is becoming a driving force for design and purchasing, see Product Design Directions S/S 22: Flourish and Product Design Sustainability Round-Up: July 2020.