Label literacy

Published: Monday 30 September 2002
Shoppers in Japan are getting green advice online, thanks to the website launched by the Japanese environment ministry. The site aims at helping consumers interpret product labels indicating levels of environmental friendliness. At present, there is a proliferation of eco-labels with green, blue and other marks which sport different images representative of nature. Many of these symbols have similar designs, thereby creating confusion in the minds of the shoppers. To dispel this, the ministry has compiled information on more than 80 seals from around the world.

Visitors to the site can view an index of labels. Explanations indicate whether the label is used for a specific product or a wide array of goods, and whether it takes a limited or broad range of factors into consideration when evaluating the environmental soundness of a product. It also supplies information about the organisation responsible for assessing goods and certifying products as environmentally preferable.

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