Changing The Landscape Of Eco Labeling – Who Consumers Trust

Ecopreneurist_jpegEcopreneurist gives a good brief summary of the confusion of eco-labels.  The key to an effective eco-label is to separate it from a proprietary brand and to make sure the label has a broadly known brand of its own.

Posted May 26, 2008
By MC Milker, Ecopreneurist

Once upon a time, buying green products meant looking for a few,
well established seals of approval or certification. Energy Star, USDA
Certified Organic and the recycled sign were a few of the well
recognized logos.


Today consumers are confronted with a myriad of green images.
Proprietary green brands abound issued by manufacturers and retailers and
trade groups, hoping to cash in on the green movement or clarify their
green credentials have created their own versions of “certification”.

Some of this is driven by large corporations’ frustration with the
FDA and USDA’s refusal to keep up with the changing landscape and issue
new guidelines. Some is driven by an urge to create a “green” standard
of their own. Either way, consumers aren’t buying it.

A recent study by the Natural Marketing Institute
found that consumers trust the established green branding not
associated with any particular company much more than they trust
proprietary labels.

….consumers indicate that they are more likely to make eco-friendly
purchase decisions if the eco-labels are also widely recognized and
trusted brands in of themselves. Familiar labels for programs like the
EPA’s Energy Star have a more significant influence on consumer
behavior than others.

This information in and of itself should be enough to encourage our
government agencies to move forward with regulation and certification
efforts or at the least to start defining in what cases words like
“natural” can be used.

We can only hope.

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