Red, Yellow, Green: A Better Way To Eco-Shop?


Coutesy Leufstedt via flickr

Recent PhD Gunne Grankvist has devoted eight years of his life to researching the psychology behind shoppers' habits and concluded that organic and other eco-labels work best to guide the already interested and initiated. For the bulk of consumers, well, they just aren't that effective, while a small group actively resists any eco-info.

That could be one reason the European Union announced today its backslide on the requirement to create a new ur-Euro organic label. The EU had tried to redesign the above label in anticipation its mandatory status in 2009, but met with protests both for the design and for the use of the word "bio" - which can connote organic in German but signals genetically modified organisms in the UK.

The EU Commission isn't totally giving up, and wants to run a contest for a new label that then might be introduced in 2010. According to Grankvist's research, a better approach would be to just label foods with some kind of simple colored marking system - green for go, yellow for average or red for no-good, as the Seafood Choice Alliance does for its fish list. Of course, producers would hate that negative labeling, and Grankvist admits it would take legislation similar to the EU ratings for appliances, but his research shows the majority of consumers actively avoid red-labeled products that way. Via Daily Post and Göteborgs Posten (Swedish)

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