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A Good Problem to Have?

Posted 28 October 2009 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Collaboration.

Many different groups are coming together to discuss ecolabels, certification and green product claims. Everyone is worried about the problems of confusion, proliferation and potential consumer cynicism over any type of green claim. It seems that the green standard-bearing “industry” is at a critical juncture, one brought on in part by the popularity of green in the last few years and the creativity and enthusiasm brought by many different parties to the arena.

Big Room (the creators of ecolabelling.org) has joined the “Green Products Roundtable” being moderated by the Keystone Center. This is a forum balanced by different stakeholders interested in the continuous stock-taking of the eco-labeling landscape; the question of what makes a good ecolabel and a credible environmental claim; and ultimately, the development of consensus-based guidance on green product marketing and principles for eco-labeling.

Anastasia presented to the Green Products Roundtable meeting in DC on October 16 some of the latest data and assessment from ecolabelling.org. Issues discussed at the event included the problem of defining actually what counts as an eco-label with the profusion of online tags, logos, links, directories, memberships and private labels now proliferating.

The scale and relative market share of ecolabelled goods and services was discussed in light of growing demand for such goods from some very large retailers and purchasers. Is the ecolabelling world ready for the big gorillas?

Various efforts to harmonize and rationalize the ecolabelling space were bandied about, with all the pro’s and con’s that such efforts imply.

Clearly this is a dynamic space, and Big Room is excited to be part of the conversation and problem-solving.