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FamilyMart near National Taipei University piloting carbon neutral section

Store features 20 products that include carbon labeling

FamilyMart hosts special area for carbon neutral consumer products. (Business Today photo)

FamilyMart hosts special area for carbon neutral consumer products. (Business Today photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A FamilyMart convenience store near National Taipei University contains a special carbon-neutral section with products labeled with QR codes which indicate how much carbon was emitted during the manufacturing process.

The display is the result of work by Lee Chien-ming (李堅明), the "Godfather of Taiwan's carbon trading program." Lee created a prototype for carbon rights trading, and set up a partnership with FamilyMart, per Business Today.

Lee, a professor at National Taipei University's Institute of Natural Resources Management, launched the pilot program which purchased carbon rights from international organizations to offset the footprint of popular consumer items such as Uni-President Black Tea and Hey Song Sarsaparilla.

At the FamilyMart near the university's Sanxia campus, 20 items ranging from beverages, instant noodles, and mineral water are displayed as being carbon-neutral. The display is an experiment about how citizens can promote a low-carbon lifestyle.

The carbon footprint of each item in this section, from the supply chain to acquisition of raw materials, transportation, and production has been calculated in terms of carbon emissions. As to how these beverages and instant noodles can be classified as carbon neutral, Lee says there are currently three ways to achieve neutrality.

The first is engineering applications such as carbon capture, carbon storage, and other carbon negative technologies. The second method involves natural methods such as planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.

The third way to achieve neutral carbon emissions involves a carbon exchange which turns negative carbon emissions into a commodity. This allows companies which produce carbon emissions in the production process to trade with other companies that are carbon negative, achieving an overall net-zero carbon emissions.

The products in FamilyMart’s carbon neutral product zone all have carbon footprint labels which describe how much carbon is emitted during production. Also, producers have followed rules established by The Gold Standard when it comes to purchasing carbon rights and carbon offsets in the product manufacturing process.

As the world moves toward "Net Zero Emissions by 2050," countries have begun to implement carbon emission controls. Taking the EU as an example, carbon emission quotas are allocated to different companies according to their industry. If quotas are exceeded, purchasing carbon rights from a carbon trading market can be used to compensate for excess emissions.

Additionally, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has been promoting carbon footprint labeling for 13 years, starting in 2010. At present, there are less than 1,000 products in Taiwan that have carbon footprint labels, while many Taiwanese are also unaware of the labeling.

National Taipei University’s program hopes to guide and encourage the public to take the necessary steps to purchase low-carbon products, giving manufacturers more incentives to actively implement carbon reduction programs.