One topic I am particularly interested in is ecolabels, basically the labeling of products to ascertain their environmental standards. In this respect, the European Commission is now launching a Public Consultation on ecolabels entitled “Evaluation of the Implementation of the EU Eco-label Regulation”.
They question policy makers, stakeholders, producers and consumers about their views on the EU Ecolabel. I urge everyone to reply to their survey, which you can do via this link: http://www.survey-ecolabel.eu/cms/. It should take roughly 5 minutes to reply. This is your opportunity to help shape legislation in Europe.
One of the more interesting questions in the survey was this: “Is it beneficial to have a set of common requirements in the pursuit for a single market for green products across Europe in the form of the EU Ecolabel?”
Clearly, one issue with the whole ecolabel business right now is the huge diversity of ecolabels and the differences in their requirements. They increase the uncertainty of the consumer and at the same time help producers to sell their products by apparently attaching an ecolabel to them but with potentially very weak requirements. This is, however, simply weakening ecolabels altogether. Given the range of products and labels available, policy makers cannot expect consumers to take the significant amount of time needed to study the various ecolabels that are out there. Thus, it is reasonable to expect that consumers, faced with this uncertainty, may simply turn to pricing decisions again since the ecolabel loses its product differentiation character. Hence, standards/regulations should be applied uniformly.
Interested readers in cars and ecolabeling can take a look HERE, those interested in ecolabeling more generally can look HERE (in German). Those interested in some academic work on ecolabels can look HERE.