Consumers’ attitudes on carbon footprint labelling. Results of the SUSDIET project

The purchase of products labelled with Carbon footprints is one option for consumers to act climate-friendly and consumers frequently state that they are interested in this kind of labels. But even though various carbon footprint labelling schemes exist throughout Europe, their market relevance is low. In this context, the present research investigates preferences for climate-friendly food and identifies barriers for climate friendly food choices in the European market. Using a mixed methods approach combining an online survey (choice experiments and a questionnaire) with qualitative face-to-face interviews, the preferences and willingness to pay for different carbon labels and a climate-friendly claim were explored in six European countries. While the online survey mainly aimed at eliciting consumer preferences for different ways of communicating climate-riendliness, the face-to-face interviews which were based on the results of the online survey, deepened and broadened the quantitative results. Thereby, consumers’ perceptions of climate-friendly food and their information needs with respect to climate-friendly food are elicited. Our results show that the presence of a carbon label on a product increases the purchase probability and that consumers are willing to pay a (small) price premium for a carbon label in all countries under investigation (France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Germany, UK). However, the contribution of a carbon label to a more climate-friendly consumption will be limited. Main reasons are the lack of knowledge of climate friendly actions, reluctance to change consumption habits (e.g. meat and dairy consumption), time preference and uncertainty regarding the relevance of climate change. Consumers appear to be frequently overstrained with respect to climate-friendly buying decisions. Policy makers and retailers are challenged to set appropriate structures to support climate-friendly consumption.

Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
Total Pages:
52 p.
JEL Codes:
Q01; Q11
Series Statement:
Thünen Working Paper 78

 Record created 2018-01-08, last modified 2018-01-22

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