Sugar and Spice and Misnomers

At a lively hobnob with friends and colleagues, the discussion ranged from critique of the Virginia Tech offensive line to the logic/mystery behind commercial carbon offsets.  Someone mentioned Domino Sugar’s efforts in that direction. Apparently their product has been certified "carbon free" by a business carbon offsets program that they pay a fee to. This led to hoots and snorts as to their selection of terminology since it involves a molecule (sucrose) that is 27% carbon.


From the fascinating thus time-eating www.exploratorium.edu. Serously, don’t click the image unless you’ve got an hour to burn.

I’d forgotten all about it until I saw a post (on ESPN.com of all places) that also brought it up.  The product in question:

Now I can appreciate that the point of this branding/certification is not to advertise a dearth of carbon; rather their good intentions,  as it is Carbonfree, not carbon free.  But the marketing staff perhaps need to be reminded that in addition to the inorganic carbon gases that are of major concern, carbon is a part of all organic life…and essential to both sweet tea and the suffering of Biochem students everywhere.   

6 thoughts on “Sugar and Spice and Misnomers

  1. I really enjoyed this post and got a good laugh. This is why I have to work so hard with my community gardeners to re-explain science to them. They’re getting all their science education at the grocery store!

  2. We’re probably just lucky that they aren’t counting you eating the sugar as a ‘sequestration’ project. Eat more icing! It’s the ‘green’ thing to do!

  3. Not to be too persnickety (we are professors after all and someone may repeat our tidbits as facts) sucrose is 42% carbon.

    I do agree with Holly though. This type of labeling is another example of ‘greenwashing’ which is essentially meaningless and does nothing except confuse consumers.

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