Climate Labels Might Get You To Buy Different Meat

Climate Labels Might Get You To Buy Different Meat

"Climate-labeling clearly affects consumers—both those people who are keen to be aware of the climate impact, as well as those who actively seek to ignore this sort of knowledge," says Jonas Nordström.

Climate labels about a meat product’s carbon footprint cause many people to choose a climate-friendlier option, research suggests.

The finding, based on hypothetical purchasing decisions among Swedish consumers, applied to both people who were curious about a product’s carbon footprint and those who actively avoided wanting to know more.

As such, climate labeling food products can be a good way of reducing our climate footprint. But the labels must be obligatory for them to be effective, says Jonas Nordström, associate professor in the University of Copenhagen’s food and resource economics department.

Certain situations exist in which we humans strategically avoid greater knowledge and more information—a phenomenon known as “active information avoidance.” It could be that we don’t want to know how many calories are in the bag of chips that we’ve just opened. Or, that we avoid going to the doctor because we fear a certain diagnosis.

“Our experiments demonstrate that one out of three people doesn’t want to know the climate impact of the food they eat. But at the same time, we can see that there is a psychological effect when people are informed on its climate impact, in so far as more people end up buying a less CO2 heavy product,” says Nordström.

In the experiment, 803 participants had to choose between six alternatives consisting of variations of ground meat and a plant-based mixture, each without a climate label. The participants were then asked whether or not they wanted to know the climate information for the products. Of the participants, 33% said no. All of them were then asked to make new choices, where the products now had a label with their CO2 information.


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

For those who said yes to the information, there was a 32% reduction in the climate footprint through their new product choices, while the “information avoiders” collectively reduced their footprint by 12% after exposure to the climate labeling.

The researchers believe that a portion of the information avoiders actively chose to opt out of more information as a way of remaining unknowledgeable—for example to avoid any inner conflict between what they want to do and what they ought to do.

“Our assumption is that being aware of a product’s climate impact has a psychological cost for the consumer. If someone who enjoys red meat is informed of its climate impact, it may prompt them to feel a bit of shame or have a guilty conscience. By actively opting out of this information, it becomes less uncomfortable to make a choice that would be seen as a climate sin,” explains Nordström.

“However, if information about the climate impact is forced upon the consumer, some will opt to buy chicken instead of beef, and in so doing, mitigate some of the negative feelings associated with making a decision that has a greater climate consequence. In our experiment, this resulted in a 12% lower carbon footprint.”

While some Danish supermarkets have begun to inform consumers about the climate effects of their purchasing decisions, there are few products with labeled CO2 footprint information. The researchers believe that the study’s results can be used as an argument for implementing obligatory climate information on foodstuffs.

“Climate-labeling clearly affects consumers—both those people who are keen to be aware of the climate impact, as well as those who actively seek to ignore this sort of knowledge. The study demonstrates that the latter group can only be affected if they are provided with the information. For climate labeling to be effective, it needs to be obligatory as certain producers of climate threatening products won’t voluntarily provide their products with this type of information,” says Nordström.

He adds that the effect could be even greater if there is a simultaneous drive towards informing the public that everyone’s contribution is important when it comes to achieving climate goals.

About the Authors

Coauthors of the study, published in the journal Food Policy, are from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Original Study

Related Books

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

by Paul Hawken and Tom Steyer
9780143130444In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. Available On Amazon

Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy

by Hal Harvey, Robbie Orvis, Jeffrey Rissman
1610919564With the effects of climate change already upon us, the need to cut global greenhouse gas emissions is nothing less than urgent. It’s a daunting challenge, but the technologies and strategies to meet it exist today. A small set of energy policies, designed and implemented well, can put us on the path to a low carbon future. Energy systems are large and complex, so energy policy must be focused and cost-effective. One-size-fits-all approaches simply won’t get the job done. Policymakers need a clear, comprehensive resource that outlines the energy policies that will have the biggest impact on our climate future, and describes how to design these policies well. Available On Amazon

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

by Naomi Klein
1451697392In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Available On Amazon

From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.

 


 

You May Also Like

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Marie T. Russell's Daily Inspiration

INNERSELF VOICES

Healing Otherness: Your Changes, Reflected in Community
Healing Otherness: Your Changes, Reflected in Community
by Stacee L. Reicherzer PhD
Seeking out a community of healing, being exploited in it, perhaps assuming the shame and…
Horoscope Week: June 14 - 20, 2021
Horoscope Current Week: June 14 - 20, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
Being A Better Person
Being A Better Person
by Marie T. Russell
"He makes me want to be a better person." As I reflected on this statement later, I realized that…
Modeling Behavior is the Best Teacher: Respect Must Be Mutual
Modeling Behavior is the Best Teacher: Respect Must Be Mutual
by Carmen Viktoria Gamper
Socially respected behavior is learned behavior and some of it (for instance, table manners) varies…
Separation and Isolation vs. Community and Compassion
Separation and Isolation vs. Community and Compassion
by Lawrence Doochin
When we are in community, we automatically fall into service to those in need because we know them…
The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
by Jason Redman
Ambushes don’t just happen in combat. In business and life, an ambush is a catastrophic event that…
A Season for Everything: The Way Our Ancestors Ate
A Season for Everything: The Way Our Ancestors Ate
by Vatsala Sperling
Cultures on every continent around the world have a collective memory of a time when their…
How to Build New Bone... Naturally
How to Build New Bone... Naturally
by Maryon Stewart
Many women assume that when their menopause symptoms stop, they are on safe ground. Sadly, we face…

MOST READ

How to Build New Bone... Naturally
How to Build New Bone... Naturally
by Maryon Stewart
Many women assume that when their menopause symptoms stop, they are on safe ground. Sadly, we face…
image
IRS hitting you with a fine or late fee? Don't fret – a consumer tax advocate says you still have options
by Rita W. Green, Instructor of Accountancy, University of Memphis
Tax Day has come and gone, and you think you filed your return in the nick of time. But several…
How Well Your Immune System Works Can Depend On The Time Of Day
How Well Your Immune System Works Can Depend On The Time Of Day
by Annie Curtis, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
When microorganisms – such as bacteria or viruses – infect us, our immune system jumps into action.…
A teen reads her phone with a confused look on her face
Why teens have a hard time finding truth online
by Stanford
A new national study shows a woeful inability by high schoolers to detect fake news on the internet.
Planning the Burial: Anticipating Possible Problems and Blessings
Planning the Burial: Anticipating Possible Problems and Blessings
by Elizabeth Fournier
In addition to the emotional and spiritual aspects of funerals, there are always logistical and…
image
The mystery of long COVID: up to 1 in 3 people who catch the virus suffer for months. Here's what we know so far
by Vanessa Bryant, Laboratory Head, Immunology Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Most people who get COVID suffer the common symptoms of fever, cough and breathing problems, and…
An Open Letter to the Entire Human Family
An Open Letter to the Entire Human Family
by Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj
This is the moment of truth for humankind. Critical choices must now be made in order to protect…
Turning 75
Turning 75: A Magic State of Wonder
by Barry Vissell
This month (May 2021), both Joyce and I turned 75. When I was younger, 75 years old seemed ancient.…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.