Food businesses can now assess their carbon footprint with a new independent standard, enabling greater cost savings and aiding the fight against climate change.

The Publicly Available Specification (PAS 2050) has been launched by BSI British Standards, as part of an ongoing project with Defra and the Carbon Trust, who co-sponsored its development.

It has been created to enable a consistent approach to assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of goods and services. It aims to encourage businesses to “look at the opportunities for reducing emissions in the design, making and supplying of products”.

The specification will give companies the tools to analyse a product’s life cycle and assess “embedded” greenhouse gas emissions, from sourcing raw materials through to packaging and distribution, and even includes consumer use and disposal impacts, said a statement from Defra.

“Companies have said they want to be able to count their carbon emissions in a better way, so we have responded. By looking at where the emissions are being created and reducing them, businesses can also save themselves money,” said environment secretary Hilary Benn.

“You cannot see or count emissions when you buy a product. But consumers want to know that emissions are being cut by businesses and this standard will help businesses to do that.”

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said: “For the first time, businesses have a robust, consistent standard for measuring the carbon footprint of their goods and services. This development will help businesses to really understand the carbon impact of their products and to follow this up with tangible ways to cut carbon emissions across the supply chain.”

The full PAS is available to download from