Logitech's new carbon labels show your mouse and keyboard's impact on the environment

That fancy mouse of yours is roughly equivalent to a gallon of gas.

Credit: Logitech

It’s Earth Day, and all the world’s companies want to make sure you know they care about the planet too. So please, buy their stuff? Sure, that’s a little cynical, but Earth Day promotions are often just ploys to sell more products, which seems counterintuitive to the first two of environmentalism’s Three Rs. This year, however, I have to admit I found Logitech’s approach to sustainability marketing intriguing. 

Logitech announced new “carbon impact transparency” labeling for all its packaging on Thursday. The new labeling will show a product’s carbon footprint measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions (kg CO2e) over a typical two year period of usage. Logitech sees this number as akin to nutrition labeling on foodstuffs. You can take a look at the number on the side of the package, and then decide whether or not you want to participate in the carbon impact of said product.

The first Logitech gear to have the packaging is the $130 Logitech G Pro wireless gaming mouse, which Logitech says has a carbon footprint of 7.84 Kg CO2e—a little less than the equivalent of burning a gallon of gas.

carbonneutralpackaging 3 1 Logitech

Another six Logitech products are slated to get a carbon impact label before the end of June, including the G213 gaming keyboard (22.0 kg CO2e), G903 Lightspeed gaming mouse (8.64 kg CO2e), G502 Hero gaming mouse (7.10 kg CO2e), G102 LightSync gaming mouse (5.51 kg CO2e), G304 Lightspeed gaming mouse (8.76 kg CO2e) and G502 Lightspeed gaming mouse (8.69 kg CO2e).

Logitech says it aims to keep reducing each product’s carbon numbers as time goes on. “We want to use this as a way to hold ourselves accountable…to improve these numbers and lower our carbon footprint with every new product,” Prakash Arunkundrum, Logitech’s Head of Global Operations and Sustainability, said in a public statement.

To quantify each product’s carbon footprint Logitech considered a range of factors, including how raw materials are sourced, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and distribution, energy usage by consumers, and “end of life management of the product.” It worked with sustainability consulting firm IFU Hamburg on its calculations, and set them to align with the lifecycle assessment standards of Dekra, a company based in Germany that does environmental and product safety standards assessments.

Logitech also plans to release its methodology and measurement processes to other companies in the consumer electronics industry. Presumably, the aim is for this to become a standard part of industry packaging.

It’s an interesting idea, and more information about how a product is produced is always better. Though hopefully the new labeling won’t turn into some kind of “eco-opiate” where people think they are being environmentally conscious simply by purchasing a product with a lower footprint number.

The fact is one of the easiest ways individuals can help protect the environment is to reduce consumption. So perhaps for this Earth Day, keep that gallon of gas you’ve already burned on your mousepad for a few extra years.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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