Environmental activists have long touted the concept of “carbon footprints” to help describe the about of carbon dioxide a particular activity or industry added to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Now the concept is getting much more personal. According to the Wall Street Journal, carbon footprint labels may be coming to your shampoo bottle:

The growing use of so-called carbon labels comes as consumers, investors and regulators are increasingly interested in emissions amid rising concern about global warming. But similar labeling efforts have flopped before, while some environmentalists and executives question how accurate—and useful—they can be.

Dove soap maker Unilever says it wants to introduce carbon-footprint details for all 70,000 of its products, and is exploring how best to gather and present the information. The company says sales of brands perceived as sustainable have grown faster than those of brands that aren’t.

And that’s the real reason behind the push. If people really do “start tracking carbon the way they count calories,” then companies will make sure it’s easy for consumers to get that information, right on the label. Is it a marketing gimmick? Of course, it is. But it’s also how everything from cars to shampoo is sold. 

No government mandate required (which may be why some environmentalists don’t like the idea).

Image Credit: By Cellofellow (Gadsden_flag.svg) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons