ADAS senior scientist Jeremy Wiltshire revealed at last week's HDC/BOPP/BPOA technical seminar in Northampton that the BSI is developing PAS 2050, which aims to assess greenhouse gas emissions produced by the goods and services of any business, on behalf of Defra and the Carbon Trust.
ADAS plans to make PAS 2050 relevant to the horticulture industry by testing the approach on food production, alongside partners the Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, Cranfield University and the Institute if Grassland & Environmental Research.
Wiltshire said: "To quote the carbon footprint of a business or product could be a real advantage to a business as a marketing advantage or through cost savings."
But he added: "There is huge scope for different methodology when drawing up the standard, which means lots of potential inconsistencies. It needs to be decided if PAS 2050 should include 'embodied emissions' and whether they will allow offsetting, which could count the carbon accumulated in woody plants against the carbon emitted into the atmosphere."
Delegates questioned how meaningful a standard would be if it was not internationally applied, and queried the cost for growers. Wiltshire said: "It's unclear what will be asked from horticultural firms. It will be market led by customers. But there are real opportunities. Using a carbon label could make the UK industry competitive with overseas products."