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Energy Star and the Updating of Ecolabel Standards

Posted 28 July 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that they will now be labeling the most environmentally friendly ENERGY STAR products with a Most Efficient label. This stricter standard will only apply to roughly five percent of the approximately 40,000 ENERGY STAR certified products, making it the most stringent of energy standards available.

Amid the millions of products that have been certified by hundreds of various ecolabels, it is inevitable that confusion and skepticism will arise. Many corporations have been accused of greenwashing, or falsely advertising that their products are environmentally friendly when they’re not. As most businesses are seeking to appear to be environmentally friendly, in order to keep up with competitors, ecolabels and businesses are searching for new ways to distinguish themselves.

Many ecolabels continually update their standards while some, like ENERGY STAR and CRI Green Label, have created new tiers for their label. Clarification could also come in the creation of lists of the most robust or strict ecolabels, so consumers can rank products based on what ecolabel they have. The David Suzuki Foundation and NRDC have both created ecolabel rankings to assist consumers.

As the number of ecolabels and businesses applying for them exponentially increases, the ecolabels themselves will have to reevaluate their standards and how they communicate with consumers in order to retain public trust. It will be interesting to see how ecolabel organizations modernize as demand for them increases.