One of the relevant market failures that may limit consumers’ choice in favour of green products is represented by the so-called ’information asymmetries’ in transactions, in different phases of the value chain, when economic agents do not have information about the environmental benefits enabled by their purchasing decisions. In particular, if it is costly and time consuming for consumers to acquire that information, this asymmetry may lead to greener products not being purchased on the market. This problem is especially caused by misleading claims on environmental performance of products on the final market, which clearly prevents consumers from fully deploying their potential in terms of green product demand.
Ecolabels, as voluntary environmental and consumer policy instrument, are conceived to overcome this problem and they build an integral part of the European framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). They interact with and complement other instruments, such as energy labelling, ecodesign and green public procurement by setting high environmental standards to encourage the market to develop more sustainable products. The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), which is an association of leading ecolabelling organizations worldwide, boosts 31 member organizations in 51 territories and countries with more than 300,000 certified products worldwide. However, ecolabels have been facing severe challenges in implementing high sustainability standards in the globalized and widely ramified value chains. As the products are seldom produced solely for national markets and the industry requires internationally harmonized standards to promote trade and commerce, there is an imminent need of strengthening the cooperation among ecolabels worldwide. Apart from a coherent international positioning of ecolabels and undertaking Mutual Recognition Agreements, it is important that ecolabels address the global challenges together by developing common criteria as well as mutual verification and certification mechanisms.
Against this background, adelphi, the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Oeko-Institute, and the Institute for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (IEFE) of Bocconi University are promoting and launching the present call for contributions. The call aims to identify and describe the key challenges that ecolabels face.
Therefore, the special issue intends to gather contributions concerning theoretical background, practical implementation and lessons learned about Ecolabels applied in both policies and corporate strategies. Specifically, guest editors encourage submissions of original research articles that report significant research contributions and industry and/or company case-studies covering topics including, but not limited to:
- integration of supply chain management and critical raw materials into ecolabels
- integration of social aspects and human rights aspects into ecolabels
- integration of aspects of circular economy into ecolabels
- performance measurement of ecolabels
- integration of footprint approaches into ecolabels
- innovative consumer research to promote ecolabel products