July 2, 2024

Emission Numbers on a Consumer Product are Useless

July 2, 2024

Emission Numbers on a Consumer Product are Useless

July 2, 2024

Emission Numbers on a Consumer Product are Useless

July 2024

Emission Numbers on a Consumer Product are Useless

Have an idea for a future livestream topic?

Emission Numbers on a Consumer Product are Useless

An emissions number on a consumer product is more or less useless.

Here’s why:

Consumers typically make a purchasing decision in a matter of seconds (9 to be exact), and in 9 seconds the average consumer is not going to do the math problem.

There are some situations where referential data is useful e.g., my product is 30% lower than the alternative.

This works for challenger brands (e.g., Oatly vs Milk, Flora vs Butter) but not incumbents. As an incumbent, you could be fractionally better than your competitor, but that is a much harder sell.

For B2B? Well... That's a post for another day.

By Saif Hameed, CEO of Altruistiq

Ask an Expert · New Segment Alert 🚨

We’re excited to launch our new advice column - ‘Ask an Expert’. Submit your sustainability questions/ topics anonymously (or not) using the form below. We’ll cover one question a week!

Industry Insight

Carbon Pricing is Poorly Understood and Randomly Assigned

With no standardisation or clarity, it’s the black box in a sustainability professionals toolkit. However, when set up and used effectively it can be the silver bullet to your internal engagement issues.

These are the questions we’re hearing:

  • Is there a single carbon price across companies?
  • How do I set the right price for my company?
  • Should I have different prices for different products or departments?
  • What can I do with limited product-level data?
  • How do I align my logic with Finance? When is a carbon price most defensible?
  • Where does carbon pricing add the most value to decision-making?
  • How often should I review my carbon pricing approach?

If any of these resonate with you, we’ve pulled together a guide “How to Set and Use a Carbon Price” to solve these questions.


  • Women in Sustainability Garden Mixer, TOPIC: Maximising and Managing Sustainability Budgets August 22nd, London. Register interest.
  • Webinar: How to Create a Useful Product Carbon Footprint, 20th August, 3-3.45 pm (BST), Online. Register interest.
  • State of Sustainability F&B Summit, 10th October, Register interest.

Policy Pulse: Nature Restoration Law Finally Passed by the EU

After several false starts and severe hand-wrangling, the Nature Restoration Law was finally passed by the EU on June 17th 2024. This landmark law is the first of its kind globally to set legally binding targets for restoring natural habitats.

Targets for 2030 set by the new law include:

  • Nature restoration - Restoring 20% of land, sea and coastal habitats
  • Pollinator protection - Achieve increasing trends for pollinator populations
  • Biome connectivity - Planting 3 billion trees and creating 25,000 km of free-flowing rivers

This is on the path to restoring all degraded habitats by 2050, all as part of the EU’s commitments to nature under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

How does this work for nature?

81% of EU habitats are degraded, and 70% of soils are unhealthy. Restoring habitats allows nature to recover, with benefits to climate adaptation, carbon sequestration and food security.

The EU set the headline target for 20% of habitats under restoration, with further habitat type targets. Based on these targets, countries then decide where and how they will protect nature in their individual National Restoration Plans (NRPs).

Practically, the types of restoration practices that countries can adopt in their NRPs include:

  • Removing invasive plant species in grasslands, wetlands and in forests
  • Returning drained peatlands to bog by rewetting
  • Stopping the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers

Why was this so difficult to pass?

The law has been contentious since its inception and has been subject to watering down from its draft iteration.

It came to a head in the Spring of this year as farmer's protests across the EU targeted elements of the law. This led MEPs and Member States to withdraw support, leaving the law in limbo having passed parliament but unapproved by EU countries.

It took the Austrian representative to go against her national direction to get the qualified majority of European countries to pass the law.

The key sticking points for the law were the following:

  • Amount of farmable land dedicated to nature - the key concern was that changing land use would affect food security, with farmers also concerned they wouldn’t get support to do so. However, the law never demanded a change in land use, only to improve agricultural soils and peatlands. Even so, the law now contains exclusions in case of another event like the Ukraine war.
  • Use of fertilisers and pesticides - farmer protests were especially concerned by the wording “against agri-chemical usage”. This was watered down. Now “reduced fertiliser and pesticide use” is just one of the example actions for countries to take.

What to expect going forward

This is a massive step for EU Nature, especially given the backdrop concerns that the EU’s Green Deal could falter after the EU elections.

This should all lead to:

  • EU countries deciding their NRPs - Member States have until mid-2026 to put together their action plan for restoring nature.
  • Greater nature leadership at the biodiversity COP - progress on the Kumning-Montreal GBD has been slow, so this is a huge win against the upcoming COP16 in Colombia this October that will aim to further the implementation plans.
  • Encouragement for businesses on nature - Over 100 signatories supported the Nature Restoration law, with further support on nature in backers of the new framework for the TNFD. Seeing progress on the national stage will inspire greater action.

Learn more

Other News

  • 🐮 The Danish Cow Tax (Financial Times): Denmark is set to introduce the world’s first carbon tax on agriculture. Farmers will be charged “almost €100 a year” per cow once the tax comes into force in 2030. The tax is subject to approval but has broad political support and will be voted on after summer. The tax will be the first of its kind since New Zealand formally scrapped its livestock tax recently.
  • 🛢️ BP U-Turn amidst investor discontent (Reuters): Oil and gas giant BP has imposed a hiring freeze and paused all new offshore wind projects, instead placing a greater emphasis on oil & gas vs renewables.
  • 🌱 TNFD announced a 30% uptick in companies disclosing and reporting their nature-related impacts (edie). TNFD revealed that 96 organisations are now aligned with the framework, bringing the total number of organisations to 416. The uptake of TNFD’s recommendations is further evidence that business is increasingly recognising the importance of nature on capital portfolios.

Subscribe for updates

Stay up-to-date with new resources & upcoming events.

Questions, feedback or content suggestions?

Get in touch with the Altruistiq team