Towards the creation of a universal eco-label?

Towards the creation of a universal eco-label?

If prices considered too high have long constituted an obstacle to sustainable consumption, the lack of clarity, if not the vagueness generated by the too large quantity of logos praising the environmental merits of a product, now generates distrust on the part of consumers. consumers, thus preventing them from profoundly changing their habits. What if we adopted a universal eco-label to get everyone to agree?

The Demeter label to identify wines produced according to the principles of biodynamics, the European Ecolabel to identify environmentally friendly detergent according to Union criteria, the Max Havelaar logo to choose chocolate or clothing in line with fair trade… So-called environmental labels are numerous, probably too many. The proof: the portal of the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) deciphers nearly a hundred and lists them according to each department. To know them, you have to enter the consumer universe, then the type of products… In short, it’s tedious.

Labels less and less credible in the eyes of consumers

In addition to these official benchmarks, there are self-declared labels, that is to say those designed by a company to promote the ecological advantages of an item. “These labels are private labels. They are often single-criteria and/or only concern one stage of the product life cycle. They are not always based on specifications or a benchmark and do not require recourse to the opinion of an independent third party (control or certification)“, explains the Ministry of Ecological Transition. Not everything can be considered a greenwashing tool, but the fact remains that consumers are not fooled when a company uses environmental arguments, without them being the reality , in order to support its activity.

In an international report published at the beginning of the year, panelist NielseniQ demonstrated the consequences of this type of marketing strategy: more than three-quarters of consumers (77%) around the world revealed that they had decided to stop making purchases in mass retail. . Indonesians (91%), Thais (90%) and Chinese (88%) represented the nationalities most likely to take action.

This is how consumers end up deploring the lack of clarity in terms of the labeling of their everyday products. In the food aisle, only 25% of French people say they trust the famous Label Rouge, Viande Française or AB logos for organic farming, a study by the Kantar institute revealed last year. Regarding the latter, even the Bio Agency, which orchestrates the promotion of this environmentally friendly agriculture, noted that 57% of French people doubted the biological value of a product.

NO to diets, YES to WW!

The idea of ​​a universal eco-label

What if the European Commission cleaned up its act to highlight companies that are really working to better respect the planet? The professional portal FoodNavigator has just revealed that Brussels has “considered various proposals in recent months to eliminate misleading environmental claims, including a method requiring companies to validate their claims using an ‘environmental footprint’“We could also imagine the ban.”new public labeling systems unless they are developed at European Union level“.

The European Commission is therefore working on the idea of ​​a universal eco-label in food, surveying nearly 10,000 consumers to imagine the potential reception of such a marker. Carried out in no less than 18 European countries, and presented as part of a conference devoted to the way in which we should envisage the future of food, this study obtained a positive result with 67% of respondents who indicated that they had the intention to use such a logo if it existed.

The interest seems all the more confirmed as 63% of respondents think that food brands tout the sustainable benefits of their products much more than they really are. Note that there are today no less than 450 logos extolling the ecological merits of the articles on which they are affixed, according to Brussels.

Remember that Europe created the Ecolabel in 1992, which constitutes the only marker at the level of the common space for labeling goods or services in line with environmental and health criteria.