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Eco-Labeling

  • By: Kirsten Gram-Hanssen
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Eco-labeling refers to the procedure for labeling products intended to inform consumers whether the product lives up to specified environmental standards. The standards are defined by a third party, often a nonprofit organization including both public authorities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), that also controls and certifies the products. The eco-label is a tool to help concerned consumers choose the most environmentally sound products available.

There are different types of consumer products, and there are also different kinds of eco-labels. The oldest is the Demeter label established by the Steiner movement in the 1920s for food produced by biodynamic farming methods. In the 1970s, organic farming flourished in many Western countries as a social-ecological movement and different national NGOs initiated national labels. In 1972, some of these ...

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