The project is to add a climate change impact code (QCR) to the Consumer Price Index’s (CPI) basket of products.
When National Statistical Offices (NSOs) publish their respective CPI (one of the most widely used and known economic indicator) they could also publish along with it related climate change indicators for each basket or sub-basket of products (e.g. embedded energy, embedded water, consumed land, etc.).
Let us take an egg as an example. The Input/output (I/O) tables in most NSOs have the Egg as a product. The Egg is also part of the CPI basket of products. Based on a statistical reconciliation of the CPI basket with the I/O tables one could extract relevant economic, energy use, and environmental data that are related to climate change.
Climate change conscious industries could then use the data and customize them for own products so that they innovatively communicate and market their products (i.e. by comparing their products with the average in the industry) to the consumers at the point-of-purchase.
Such information would capture the hearts and the minds of the consumers when they select products from supermarket shelves. Like price tags, nutrition value tags, organic produce tags, no-salt or no-sugar-added tags, consumer products can have climate change tags for communication and marketing.
The Climate Change tag for an egg farmer who is conscious about climate change would include such information as:
- The amount of water consumed in the production of the eggs.
- The amount of phosphorous and nitrogen used in the production of the eggs.
- The amount of energy consumed in the production of the eggs.
- The amount of CO2e produced in the production of the eggs.
Objectives and beneficiaries
The objective is to produce the above statistics for major on-the-shelf consumer items, starting with items in the food chain, e.g. a typical basket covering an average grocery.
In the long term, the aim is to include all types of goods and services from eggs to apples to cars to dry cleaning and the travel industry, thus reflecting a sample of the entire economy.
The beneficiaries are consumers (right to know), and climate and energy conscious farmers and industries (market their products).
Strong points of the solution
Imagine a national labeling scheme that is initially produced by a National Statistical Office to reflect the climate change impact in CPI basket of products. Communicating such a data to the public would help shed light on the significance of the CPI basket of products in the economy, energy and the environment combined.
The NSO of a country could even develop an App for people to enter a consumer product and view the average climate change indicators for that particular product, let alone participate in random pop-up surveys relating to relevant consumption behaviors.
This is where NSOs could enter the Big Data domain.
On the same token, industries and producers would gradually realize the marketing advantage of niching their products under this novel climate change tag.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
The main expected results come from the education of consumers at the point-of-purchase via climate change QCRs on major consumer products-on-shelves. This can add wisdom, control and potentially alter consumption behaviors.
Scalability potential of the solution
Once a proof-of-concept is initiated by a national agency for a basket of consumer products and used by consumers then market demand would take over and industries would want to jump to the wagon of producing own Climate Change tags.
[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made for length and clarity.]