Individual consumption choices and consumer habits can mitigate environmental impacts, complementing company innovation and sourcing activities designed to do the same.
Environmental labelling (ecolabelling) is not new, with various schemes proposed over the last 40 years, which have often been tailored to specific economic sectors. These have been accompanied by the emergence of International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards to classify different types of ecolabels and introduce methodological and certification procedures. They have been focused on informing business to business transactions or management practices employed in product supply chains (e.g. Rainforest Alliance).
Schemes based on LCA, intending to quantify impacts for individual categories (e.g. carbon footprinting) or to aggregate multiple environmental impacts into a single score (rating labels) have been the focus of recent ecolabelling efforts, encouraged by the policy environment in some regions (e.g. the European Green Deal).
Developing scientifically robust and easy to understand ecolabels is challenging. Product differentiation is a key requirement, but effective differentiation depends on a range of data and methodological factors. We are working to address some of the ecolabel design challenges, prioritising activities that will help to evaluate their effect on scoring outcomes.