Carbon Labelling and Low-income Country Exports: A Review of the Development Issues


  • The authors are grateful for the comments of Tom Brewer, Mona Haddad, Paul Hodson, Andreas Kopp, Brian Levy, Muthukumara Mani and Philip Schuler. This work is funded in part by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Trade and Development supported by the UK, Swedish and Norwegian governments. The views expressed reflect solely those of the authors and not necessarily the views of the funders, the World Bank Group or its Executive Directors.


This article discusses the carbon accounting and carbon-labelling schemes being developed to address growing concerns over climate change. Its particular concern is their impact on small stakeholders, especially low-income countries. The popular belief that trade is by definition problematic is not true; carbon efficiencies elsewhere in the supply chain may more than offset emissions from transportation. Indeed, low-income countries may offer important opportunities for carbon emission reductions because of their favourable climatic conditions and use of low energy-intensive production techniques. However, their effective inclusion in labelling schemes will require innovative solutions to provide low-cost data collection and certification.