Cleantech Industry Labels
After an extensive search of relevant organizations and companies, media reports, and academic databases, no labels could be found that could be applied to Clariter's products, are internationally recognized, and are not already present in the Ecolabel Index. Nonetheless, below we have provided several potentially useful findings regarding eco-labels (also known as environmental labels), followed by an explanation of our research methodology.
- There are three types of eco-labels. The first is a Type I label, which includes labels provided by third-party organizations that certify whether applicants meet a set of established criteria.
- Examples of Type I labels include The Blue Angel of Germany, Nordic Swan of Scandinavia, China's Environmental Labeling Plan, and Eco Mark of Japan, among others.
- Type II eco-labels "indicate an environmental claim made by the manufacturer themselves, without evaluation by a third party." Ricoh's Recycle label is an example of a Type II label.
- Type III labels "indicate the environmental impact of products and services in a quantitative manner and are stipulated in ISO14025 as an international standard."
- Examples of Type III labels include Japan's EcoLeaf, which "is awarded to products that disclose quantitative information about their environmental characteristics;" and Carbon Footprint, which "is a mechanism to visualize the emissions of greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalent) from procurement of raw materials to disposal and recycling of products."
- A study published in the Journal of Business Ethics in 2018 (full text can be accessed for free here) found that "consumers’ trust of government and environmental NGOs to provide credible environmental information encourages consumers’ use of ecolabels sponsored by these entities, and consumers do not differentiate between certified versus uncertified ecolabels in the presence of trust."
- On the other hand, this study found that "consumers’ distrust of private business to provide credible environmental information discourages their use of business association-sponsored ecolabels." The study's authors suggest that third-party auditing may be sufficient to overcome this distrust.
- Additionally, as may be expected, awareness of a given label likely affects the degree to which that label benefits the products it appears on, as a 2017 study published in Sustainability found with regard to the EU Ecolabel. The study's authors noted that "lack of awareness of the EU Ecolabel by consumers and to the insufficient and inadequate promotion and support granted by public institutions" were a detriment to the overall value companies reaped from the EU Ecolabel.
- In any case, eco-labeling does appear to be effective at influencing pro-environmental consumer behavior, as a study published in a 2017 volume of the Journal of Strategic Marketing found.
Your research team employed the following strategy:
To find labels that would be relevant to Clariter regarding sustainable materials, green chemistry, upcycling, treating plastic waste, or reducing fossil fuel use, we first sought lists of labels by relevant organizations and companies. We found a variety of these lists, including the following:
- EU eco-label list
- Greenspec eco-label list
- Brother environmental label list
- Europa eco-label list
- Brother Earth environmental label list
- Global Ecolabelling Network member list
Unfortunately, all labels included on these lists were disqualified based on the provided criteria, most commonly because they were also included in the Ecolabel Index, although some — for example, the German label RAL or the Japanese label EcoLeaf — did not meet specifications for other reasons, such as failing to address the products that Clariter produces, or being local rather than international in scope.
As a second approach, we conducted an extensive press search. Through this approach, we hoped to find media articles regarding relevant labels, or additional lists of labels that had not been found through the previous method. Failing to find any new data in the past two years, we expanded the search to the past ten years, but still did not find any relevant labels.
As a third approach, we conducted a search of academic databases, such as Google Scholar and ScienceOpen. With this approach, we hoped to find studies examining either one or multiple labels, and thereby potentially discover labels that were not found through the previous approaches. While a variety of articles discussing eco-labels were found, none lead to the discovery of relevant eco-labels.
Failing to find any relevant eco-labels through these three methods, we concluded that there may not be any labels that could be applied to Clariter's products and are not already listed in the Ecolabel Index. Nonetheless, we sought to provide some potentially useful information regarding ecolabels, such as the types of ecolabels in existence and some findings from academic studies found in the third phase of research.