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Ecolabel Index Feature Survey Results

Posted 12 October 2010 by Jacob Malthouse to Site Updates.

Over the past month we have been running an open survey to try to gain a better understanding of what our users would like to see us add to Ecolabel Index Pro when it launches later this year.

We recieved 53 responses. Of these, 56% came from the private sector with the rest coming from non-profit, government, academic and ecolabelling organisations.

Key Results

  • 91% of respondents are interested in online training and webinars on ecolabels. We are pleased to confirm that we plan to launch a series of regularly scheduled ecolabel webinars beginning in the new year. If you have ideas for topics or would like to speak or be interviewed as part of one of our EI Pro webinars, please email jacob[a]bigroom.ca.
  • The most supported feature was for a way to compare ecolabels side-by-side. 85% of respondents said that this would be very useful. We are pleased to confirm this functionality will be added to the site before the end of this year.
  • There was also significant demand for performance indicators, with 81% of respondents saying that this would be a very useful feature. We recognize that this is a hot potato in the field, so when we move to apply any methodology here, we are considering doing so in an ‘open-source’ fashion. We welcome your comments and guidance on how best to develop and then overlay performance indicators for ecolabels.
  • The next most supported proposed feature was for a reference library on ecolabels and green standards. We have been logging articles and research on ecolabels that we find particularly useful, and look forward to also pushing that online later this year.

Our Analysis & Actions

We think we can release the ‘watch-list’ and the ability to show whether an ecolabel has been endorsed by an environmental group or groups before end of year. Both features scored well, though support was more mixed. These features will be prioritised behind scoping work on the indicators, comparability and a resource library.

There was a good base of support for cross-referecing ecolabels against existing classification systems. We have already done some heavy lifting here, and are looking at five different systems, two for products, one for industry sectors, one for commodities, and one for impacts. We hope to have this functionality in place, with initial mapping done, by early next year.

In closing, here is a selection of general comments we received and responses. Thank you to everyone who helped us sharpen our pencils for this next round of work.

Selected Comments & Responses

Just found you. I work at a small green products business and am taking a Masters of Environment and Business, so I’ll be around for awhile and will be able to provide better feedback next time around. Keep up the good work!

Ecolabel Index: Thanks! Look forward to your feedback.

Focus on verification of claims, performance of standards, and exposing greenwashing or risk being just another passing fad.

Ecolabel Index: I certainly hope we’re not that! Nose will be kept to the grindstone.

Drill down on each eco-label to gather information on specific eco-label attributes

Ecolabel Index: Agree. This is a mammoth task. The International Trade Centre is doing some great work in this area and we hope to be able to integrate and reference the fruits of that effort.

Make sure you have all the new ecolabels out there.

Ecolabel Index: Getting there! You can suggest labels here. All suggestions are reviewed internally before they are posted.

A way to link with other users/professionals and be part of a network- perhaps enabling users to get in touch with each other through Linked In.

Ecolabel Index: Good idea! Will look into this.

Your assessment of UL 880 when it is available for this purpose.

The governance of an ecolabelling organisation – must haves, does and don’ts.

Ecolabel Index: These sound like good webinar topics!

I would definitely like to be able to search various ecolabels by country and product type. For instance I’m not interested in the Australian organic ecolabel, but am for ones in the US and North America. Also if I’m going to write a specification for a cleaning product or coffee/tea or wood, I would like to search and find ecolabels related to those items.

Ecolabel Index: We agree, this is coming this year.

The resource is excellent – thank you for creating it!

Ecolabel Index: Thanks so much! It’s been a long road and we hope to continue to provide a useful service in support of green markets.

For “performance indicators” the criteria & methods of allocating scores would need to be very transparent.

Ecolabel Index: Yes. Our philosophy for this site basically grows from RFC 2418‘s commitment to openness, transparency, and consensus as one of the most fruitful ways to build standards. We welcome comments and thoughts here, as noted previously.