This Carbon Market Watch report commissioned by the Belgian consumer organisation Test Aankoop/Test Achats analyses the credibility of climate claims found on 15 products in Belgian supermarkets. The study found that all the assessed products misled consumers in some way by implying some form of “neutral” climate impact that relied on the inappropriate use of carbon credits to supposedly offset emissions.
The assessed companies use unclear terminology such as “carbon neutral”, “CO2 neutral”, and “CO2 compensated”, all of which convey the general message that the company’s activities do not harm the planet. At the same time, these claims are made on the basis of a wide range of actions, including cheap strategies that rely on the purchase of carbon credits. In addition, the analysed companies have very different approaches to climate action and the complete absence of clear standardisation makes it virtually impossible for consumers to tell what a company is truly doing to tackle its own climate impact.