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News / Archive for the ‘Ecolabel News’ Category

Ecolabel Profile Updating Underway

Posted 10 November 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

We recently launched an initiative to allow ecolabelling organisations to update the information we have on their  ecolabel. This feature complements the ongoing research and data collection that we conduct internally, but provides an additional opportunity for ecolabels to ‘claim’ their profiles and update them as necessary. All updates are reviewed by Ecolabel Index staff before being published to the profiles on Ecolabel Index.

We have spent the last few weeks emailing organizations with an invitation to manually update their profiles. So far, 125 labels have updated their information, out of the 426 in our database today — a great result — and we’re grateful to the organisations that have taken the time to update their profiles.

If you have received an email from us, please do not hesitate to update your Ecolabel Index profile. And remember — free access to the full Ecolabel Index PRO site is also available to all ecolabelling organisations — so get in touch if you’d like access.

It’s essential that our information is as accurate as possible. If you have not been contacted and would like to be part of this service, please contact support@ecolabelindex.com.

Coffee Certification Growth in East and Central Africa

Posted 8 November 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | 2 Comments |

Ecolabel certification in East and Central Africa has increased at an surprising rate as a consequence of a recent surge in demand for specialty coffee. Lesser-known coffee producers like the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi have begun certification while traditional producers Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya have boosted levels of ecolabel use. The East African reports that in less than ten years, coffee certification in Rwanda has grown from one to thirty-five percent.

UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance are two labels that are leading the way in the impoverished region. Between 2009 and 2010, UTZ saw a 56% rise in the number of bags of certified coffee sold, while Rainforest Alliance posted a 41% increase between 2003 and 2009.

This is not only good news for certified coffee lovers, but great for the African farmers who receive more money for their products. The premium that consumers pay for certified coffee is passed on to the farmer, providing a strong incentive for ecolabel use.

The rising certification trend would continue if it weren’t for the rampant violence in many prime coffee-growing areas like the Congo. During political strife, resources are diverted, transportation routes are broken and government funding evaporates leading foreign multinationals to divert their assets elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the future for farmers is bright, as increased certification can only help. The effects may already be seen as Uganda is in the midst of a coffee price boom, with per kilogram prices rising in the last few months. If the violence can be curbed, especially in agricultural regions, there is every reason to be optimistic, as certification rates should continue to rise.

Note: Updated Nov. 10, paragraph 3 ‘organic’ changed to ‘certified’.

Dolphin Safe Ecolabel Deemed Illegal by WTO

Posted 11 October 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

Last week the WTO announced a decision that the Dolphin Safe ecolabel is illegal on the grounds that it unnecessarily restricts trade and effectively blocks non-US suppliers from the American market.

Mexico initially filed the case contending they were being barred from the US market because of the Dolphin Safe label. Mexico’s tuna industry was crippled when Mexican-caught fish could not obtain the Dolphin Safe label, causing US tuna brands to exclude them.

The consequences of this decision remain to be seen, as the US retains its right to appeal. This decision was met with criticism from environmental groups, who see this as proof that the WTO is putting environmental concerns on the back-burner in favor of trade laws.

In the wake of this decision, is it possible that more businesses will file lawsuits against ecolabels, using similar arguments? If so, lawmakers may have to make difficult decisions regarding where to draw the line between commercial interests and the environment.

EPA Introduces Greener Products Portal

Posted 26 September 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a new tool this week aimed at providing more detailed sustainability information about products. It is called the Greener Products Portal and is available at: http://epa.gov/greenerproducts.

The portal’s search tool allows users to browse a broad range of products in various sectors of the economy. Once a product type is selected, you are provided with a list of those certifications, standards and ecolabels that the EPA has either developed or helped to develop that are associated with your choice.

For example, most searches for electronics will return the Energy Star certification as an option. Once you click on it, you can view various types of electronic products that are Energy Star certified.

The Greener Products Portal has search functions for consumers, retailers, manufacturers and institutional purchasers, with different programs associated with each user type. The goal is to help different sectors of the US economy more quickly find EPA standards associated with their field of work and understand which products are the most sustainable.

And of course, we are honoured to have Ecolabel Index listed as a resource for more information on the broader universe of ecolabels.

Ecolabel Awareness Rising Worldwide

Posted 12 September 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

This week, AMR Marketing Research released figures detailing consumer awareness of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel in Europe. In the Netherlands and Germany, approximately 35% of consumers are aware of the MSC label, which is notably higher than anywhere else. The Swedish are also setting a strong example with 23% of respondents saying they only buy MSC labeled seafood, and are prepared to switch supermarkets to get sustainable fish.

This survey is a testament to the hard work done by MSC in the past few years. While roughly one in four North Americans are aware of the label, this number has increased from less than one in ten only two years ago.

While the vast majority of consumers in developed countries are now aware of concepts like organic and fairtrade, the prevalence of ecolabels is relatively recent. If ecolabel awareness statistics continue to rise at the current rate it won’t be long before ecolabel certification becomes a key pre-requisite for eco-products, and ‘greenness’ becomes just as important as price and quality to a growing base of consumers.