Limits to labels: the role of eco-labels in the assessment of product sustainability and routes to sustainable consumption

Horne, R 2009, 'Limits to labels: the role of eco-labels in the assessment of product sustainability and routes to sustainable consumption', International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol. 33, no. 2009, pp. 175-182.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Limits to labels: the role of eco-labels in the assessment of product sustainability and routes to sustainable consumption
Author(s) Horne, R
Year 2009
Journal name International Journal of Consumer Studies
Volume number 33
Issue number 2009
Start page 175
End page 182
Total pages 8
Publisher Blackwell Science
Abstract There has been rapid development in the methods, data and protocols for the assessment of product sustainability over the past decade. Notwithstanding this welcome development, the widespread provision of sustainable products has not occurred. Moreover, indications from a myriad of surveys suggest that consumers remain full of intent to purchase sustainably, yet these stated preferences have not translated into a widespread uptake in the purchase of more sustainable products. Heightened interest in climate change over the past couple of years has led to rising calls for labelling to allow consumers to differentiate between more or less sustainable options. Such calls apparently assume that if consumers are presented with appropriate label information their purchases will change and more sustainable purchasing will result. For many observers these calls bring more than a ring of déjà vu as the failures (or at least unfulfilled expectations) of environmental labelling schemes of the past spring to mind. A review and assessment of eco-labelling schemes is presented. Discussion focuses on the history, successes and failures of such schemes, and consideration of their potential role (or not) in future shifts towards sustainable consumption. Behavioural, social practice, institutional and infrastructure factors are considered and labelling, legislation and other options are explored. Conclusions are drawn regarding potential routes to sustainable consumption, with particular reference to eco-labels.
Subject Design Innovation
Keyword(s) product eco-labels
sustainable consumption
DOI - identifier 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2009.00752.x
Copyright notice © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN 1470-6423
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