The “low carbon label”: a governmental tool to encourage the transition towards a low carbon economy
The new-born “low carbon label” launched few days before the COP24 (UNFCCC), by the decree n°2018-1043, has the objective to strengthen the fight against global warming by moving quickly towards a low carbon economy. The creation of this label is linked to the development of the voluntary carbon offset market that gives the possibility to everyone to compensate their CO2 emissions on a voluntary basis. This tool is part of the environmental policy program planned by the French government to quantify and certify forestry or agriculture projects within the French territory which aim to reduce carbon emissions (emission avoidance) or capture it (emission sequestration). For example, if a project meets the requirements established by the government, it will receive the label. By receiving it, the project will obtain an additional guarantee in terms of quality and transparency, reinforcing its investment attraction. (article 1)
Through this label, the project carrier will be able to be funded by voluntary partners which can be either public or private and promote local contributions. Once the contributors have purchased voluntary carbon credits generated by the label, they will be able to form a communication or marketing campaign to share their positive actions with their stakeholders. It is important to note that the label does not include the reduction linked to obligation or incitation framed by the carbon emission trading developed in 1997 by the Kyoto protocol.
By the development of this label, the objective is to promote and strengthen the voluntary carbon offset market which is needed at a world-scale, but at the state level as well in order to reach the reduction’s target fixed within the Paris agreement. Indeed, France has to reduce its emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, and by 75% by 2050.(French government, 2015). Those ambitious goals cannot be reached without the use of the voluntary carbon market in the short term, and in parallel the reduction efforts on a long term.