October 1, 2014
Hotel Operations 1 Tu/Th
Week one assignment: Eco-labels- research for discussion.
Eco-labels and Green Stickers are labeling systems for food and consumer products. Eco- labels are voluntary, but green stickers are mandated by law; for example, in North America major appliances and automobiles use Energy Star. They are a form of sustainability measurement directed at consumers, intended to make it easy to take environmental concerns into account when shopping. Some labels quantify pollution or energy consumption by way of index scores or units of measurement; others simply assert compliance with a set of practices or minimum requirements for sustainability or reduction of harm to the environment.
Eco-labelling systems exist for both food and consumer products. Both systems were started by NGOs, since then the European Union have developed legislation for conduct of Eco-labelling and also have created their own eco-labels, one for food and one for consumer products. At least for food, the eco-label is nearly identical with the common NGO definition of the rules for eco-labelling. Trust in the label is an issue for consumers, as manufacturers or manufacturing associations could set up "rubber stamp" labels to green wash and fake eco-labelling their products. High trust levels are created when eco-labels apply for Governmental recognition as formal Certification Marks. Typically this means schemes approved as a Certification Mark, have had the Government Department responsible declare that the scheme has a Standard and Certifiers that are 'Competent to Certify'. The highest trust levels would be a Government recognized Certification Mark that was also compliant with key ISO standards especially ISO 14024- Type 1 Eco-labels and that undertake ISO 14040 compliant life cycle analysis as part of their assessment.
My View: I feel that there is a lot of good that comes out of Eco-Labeling than bad. Yes, some people use it to their advantage to save money rather than to actually be sustainable; however, it is still getting the thought of sustainability into people’s thoughts, which is a very positive thing.
Eco-labeling has a number of major benefits. I have listed some below:
1. Informing consumer choice
Eco-labeling is an effective way of informing customers about the environmental impacts of selected products, and the choices they can make. It empowers people to discriminate between products that are harmful to the environment and those more compatible with environmental objectives. An eco-label makes the customer more aware of the benefits of certain products, for example, recycled paper or toxic-free cleaning agents. It also promotes energy efficiency, waste minimization and product stewardship.
2. Promoting economic efficiency
Eco-labeling is generally cheaper than regulatory controls. By empowering customers and manufacturers to make