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SustainAbility Sets out Ecolabel Research Agenda

Posted 30 March 2011 by Jacob Malthouse to Collaboration, Ecolabel News.

The UK Based Consultancy SustainAbility, one of the original thought leaders in the corporate responsibility slash environmental, social and governance arena, has released a white paper on ecolabels, trust and supply chains. The report is downloadable for free with registration, at the source link below.

The 11-page report is easily digestible and worth a read. It sets out a context, then examines trends and challenges facing ecolabels. We liked how the report integrates the broader sustainability supply chain and communications field, setting ecolabels up as a ‘keystone species’ within that space.

SustainAbility intends to examine some of the hard to crack issues ecolabels face including consumer trust and ecolabel performance.

We would be interested to understand, in particular, the trust issue within the context of institutional consumers (governments, companies, producers, etc.). Our experience is that ecolabels are increasingly used by professional purchasers at these institutions to ease friction around sustainability purchasing at scale. This in turn is driving spikes in demand for certified product, but also for transparency and accountability, as these purchasers are much more likely to dive deeper into a ecolabel’s operations than an individual consumer.

This links to the ecolabel performance issue, which as our feedback from ecolabels for our Global Ecolabel Monitor last year noted, is certainly a function of the operational capacity of the ecolabels themselves. We are interested to continue to explore ways that the broader community can work with ecolabels to enhance and diversify sources of funding, operational capacity improvements, and other things on their ‘wish-lists’ as part of seizing this opportunity to grow.

Source: Signed, Sealed… Delivered? Phase One | SustainAbility.