“Only English-speaking countries seem to even have clear green labeling guidelines,” says Michele Raymond, publisher. “Only the U.S. and perhaps the U.K. have ever tried to enforce such guidelines.” American industry has avoided eco-labels, the report says, because the criteria can become obsolete quickly and may not reward innovation, plus it does not seem to help sell products.
However, the report says an appropriate “in-country” label can be helpful in marketing in countries aggressively promoting eco-labeling, such as Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. The report concludes that national programs, such as Germany’s Blue Angel and the Nordic Swan, will never harmonize with each other because of cultural differences. “Green labeling” covers proposed amendments to the European Packaging Directive, new international standards, mercury labeling in the U.S., plus a comprehensive list of term definitions. —AO