Publication: Carbon Footprints and Food Systems : Do Current Accounting Methodologies Disadvantage Developing Countries?

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Edwards-Jones, Gareth
Jensen, Michael Friis
Carbon accounting and labeling are new instruments of supply chain management and, in some cases, of regulation that may affect trade from developing counties. These instruments are used to analyze and present information on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from supply chains with the hope that they will help bring about reductions of GHGs. The designers of these schemes are caught in a dilemma: on one hand they have to respond to policy and corporate agendas to create new ways of responding to climate change challenges, while on the other they rely on very rudimentary knowledge about the actual GHG emissions emanating from the varied production systems that occur around the globe. This is because the underlying science of GHG emissions from agricultural systems is only partially developed; this is particularly true for supply chains that include activities in developing countries (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). As a result of the pressures placed on designers and users of carbon accounting and labeling instruments, who are predominantly based in industrialized countries, there is a risk that carbon accounting and labeling instruments will not adequately represent production systems in developing countries. This report seeks to examine the potential for emerging carbon accounting and labeling schemes to accurately represent the production systems in developing countries. In order to achieve this it includes analyses of typical problems that may occur if the characteristics of developing countries' production systems are not taken into account properly. By doing this, the report provides relevant and necessary scientific data that illustrate potential problem areas that, if not addressed, may lead to developing-country carbon efficiencies not being given proper credit.
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Brenton, Paul; Edwards-Jones, Gareth; Jensen, Michael Friis. 2010. Carbon Footprints and Food Systems : Do Current Accounting Methodologies Disadvantage Developing Countries?. World Bank Study. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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