It’s Earth Day, and all the world’s companies want to make sure you know they care about the planet too. So please, buy their stuff? Sure, that’s a little cynical, but Earth Day promotions are often just ploys to sell more products, which seems counterintuitive to the first two of environmentalism’s Three Rs. This year, however, I have to admit I found Logitech’s approach to sustainability marketing intriguing.
Logitech announced new “carbon impact transparency” labeling for all its packaging on Thursday. The new labeling will show a product’s carbon footprint measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions (kg CO2e) over a typical two year period of usage. Logitech sees this number as akin to nutrition labeling on foodstuffs. You can take a look at the number on the side of the package, and then decide whether or not you want to participate in the carbon impact of said product.
Logitech says it aims to keep reducing each product’s carbon numbers as time goes on. “We want to use this as a way to hold ourselves accountable…to improve these numbers and lower our carbon footprint with every new product,” Prakash Arunkundrum, Logitech’s Head of Global Operations and Sustainability, said in a public statement.
To quantify each product’s carbon footprint Logitech considered a range of factors, including how raw materials are sourced, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and distribution, energy usage by consumers, and “end of life management of the product.” It worked with sustainability consulting firm IFU Hamburg on its calculations, and set them to align with the lifecycle assessment standards of Dekra, a company based in Germany that does environmental and product safety standards assessments.
Logitech also plans to release its methodology and measurement processes to other companies in the consumer electronics industry. Presumably, the aim is for this to become a standard part of industry packaging.
It’s an interesting idea, and more information about how a product is produced is always better. Though hopefully the new labeling won’t turn into some kind of “eco-opiate” where people think they are being environmentally conscious simply by purchasing a product with a lower footprint number.
The fact is one of the easiest ways individuals can help protect the environment is to reduce consumption. So perhaps for this Earth Day, keep that gallon of gas you’ve already burned on your mousepad for a few extra years.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.