The Global View

What’s your bottled water footprint?

water3.jpgWhen Greenbang thinks of the connotations of bottled water, she think of the fake gay suicide pact in cult 80s movie Heathers, where a bottle of the clear stuff is left by a murdered man to mislead the police into believing the victim gay. “This is Ohio,” says the killer. “I mean, if you don’t have a brewski in your hand, you might as well be wearing a dress.”

These days, bottled water doesn’t carry any sexual connotations that Greenbang is aware of (please enlighten her if she’s wrong. No, really, please) but it does carry a fair degree of consumer guilt.

Just the sort of thing that a new eco-labelling action plan from standards body NSF International and food and drink industry consultancy Zenith International hopes to solve. The Carbon Action Plan (CAP) will “extend carbon footprints right up to the shop shelf and will cover a range of sustainability ratings” and force beverage makers to cough up on these metrics:

the amount of renewable energy used
• the percentage of recycled material in the packaging
• the number of water litres used to make 1 litre of product
• the extent of a company’s carbon reduction in the previous two years and
• the amount of carbon emissions verified as having been offset.

All those metrics will show up alongside nutritional data on the label. Clever, no?
The bottled water industry will implement the scheme first – Highland Spring have already trialled it – while other pilots are ongoing with soft drinks companies set to be next in line. The scheme will then surface in other food and drink sectors, according to NSF.

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