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New Eco-Label app for the iPhone and iPad

Posted 23 November 2011 by admin to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

Last week Consumer Reports launched a brand new iPhone and iPad app that deciphers ecolabels for consumers. It provides users with key information about how robust the labels they see on products are, allowing green conscious shoppers to minimize their environmental impact. It also gives consumers information about environmental claims like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. It is available in the iTunes store.

The app is a mobile version of Consumer Reports’ www.greenerchoices.org, a platform of information about ecolabels and environmentally friendly products as well as green shopping tips and the best practices for recycling harmful products like electronics.

This development is another major milestone for the environmental certification sector. While many consumers are aware of ecolabels and their varying degrees of validity, few consumers know specifically which labels are the most robust. With this app, shoppers will not need to do background research and remember the components of various labels. All they need to do is bring their phone with them when they go to the grocery store.

This app is an important step in increasing the transparency of production and convenience for shoppers. However, it is still unlikely that this development will produce widespread changes in consumption patterns. Downloading the app requires consumers to be predisposed to buying ecolabeled products. For major transformations to occur, consumers that currently do not consider the environmental implications of what they buy must be gradually taught to do so. Shoppers have to be bombarded with messages about the importance of green purchasing before major consumption shifts occur.

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.

Ecolabel Profile Update Service Full Release

Posted 30 September 2011 by admin to Site Updates | No Comments |

The ‘ecolabel maintained profiles’ test we launched about three weeks ago has been well received. The profiles of our test group were updated quickly with few errors.

Accordingly, we have now begun the process of emailing every ecolabel in the Index, with an invitation to update their profiles.

In return, we are offering ecolabeling organizations free access to Ecolabel Index PRO, which allows subscribers to view all the data on each label as well as find and compare labels side-by-side.

If you receive an email from us, please take a moment to ensure your profile is up to date. It is of utmost importance to us and our users that our data is as current as possible.

The Ecolabel Index team will continue to review ecolabel data and update our Index with new labels. If you have any questions or would like to suggest an addition to Ecolabel Index please email: support@ecolabelindex.com.