Organic labelling under attack over addition of food miles factor
Date: 22 Apr 2008
Ethical shopping company the Co-operative Group has attacked the move by the Soil Association to include a prohibition of air freighted goods within its organic labelling system.
The company said that it makes no sense for the Soil Association to place such a large emphasis on air freight, which can be a relatively small part of the total environmental impact of products, whilst ignoring bigger factors and the social benefit in developing countries of the trade.
The Soil Association has countered that it might consider including air freighted goods that meet certain social criteria, for instance have been produced to Fairtrade standards. The group says that as little as half a percent of organic produce is currently air freighted.
The Co-op however argues that even modified the plan misfires because it may unwittingly favour goods that provide a poorer environmental option, and needlessly punishes poorer producers whose processes are often more environmentally friendly.
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