Programs labeling, certification and procurement of products with environmental advantages in Canada, Mexico and the United States
Some highlights from this report:
In the United States are in effect at least 25 major programs of environmental labeling indications. These programs include 156 categories of products and nearly 310 products themselves. Although the diversity of options is welcome, especially in the public policy instruments, the present situation of eco-labels can help consumers to submit a disappointing set of alternatives and to prevent one or two labels are a niche market dominant. (Given the trend in U.S. markets to the predominance of labels on different product categories, this fragmentation may contribute to the somewhat disappointing results of labeling programs in the United States.) Also, the variety of programs not easily determines a estimate of the total or overall cost of labels in the country.
In Canada, the leading eco-labeling program known as Environmental Choice. Property of the federal government, this program is directed by an independent body, TerraChoice Inc. Approximately 2000 products and services bearing the legend labels with Environmental Choice, representing 200 different companies. In 1998 it was estimated that sales of products and services with the Environmental Choice logo will rise Canada in 1999 to $ C3.26 billion. There is no percentage of sales of product categories.
Mexico continues to create labels with green signs. Among the labels are in circulation paper recycling and energy saving, among others.
The demand for environmental goods and services seems to have established a niche or specialty market segment. While the markets seem to have stabilized eco-labels or levels, both certification and purchase of organic products are booming.
While this report divides labels, certifications and acquisitions single category, there are important linkages between them. The labeling and certification often apply criteria and indicators similar if not identical. In general, they differ in that the labels are applied to specific products (and fewer services), while certifications are aimed at a different audience: other major retailers and buyers rather than individual consumers. The organic certification takes into account the underlying environmental management systems, rather than specific criteria and requirements for products in a lifetime.
The passage of control to prevent much pollution may help explain the growing emphasis on certification and procurement.
Although the issue of climate change has not yet affected the buying habits of the general public is likely to push the Kyoto Protocol to the fore the efficient use and conservation of energy in the next five years. It is leading the creation of a series of programs and initiatives sponsored by the government to promote conservation and efficient use of energy and environmentally friendly construction projects. The Environmental Choice Program refers a strong demand for certified organic energy, and expects that demand will increase as companies strive to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and offsets purchase of emission credits.
Source: Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America