Foreword Communications

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Eco-Labeling Regulation of 1992

Filed under: ENVIRONMENT, GLOBAL LIVING, GOING GREEN, NATURE — Tags: , , , — forewordcommunications @ 3:15 am

 

Since its inception in 1999, thirteen European countries have adopted the Euro as their national currency. In another well-discussed move that attempts to bond a common European market, the European Union, in the early 90’s, and prior to the adoption of the Euro, implemented the Eco-Labeling Regulation. This 1992 agreement states that member countries will implement a cohesive system of labeling ecologically friendly products and services in order to encourage a continent-wide, and possibly an eventual worldwide, definition of what is to be considered good for the future of the environment. 

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (1999) defines Eco-Labeling as “a voluntary trademark that is awarded to products deemed to be less harmful to the environment than other products within the same category.” The idea is that an informed consumer will prefer to invest in products and services that make the best use of the environment. An “award” in the form of an official “flower” stamp that details one, two, or three of the requirements that the product has met to ensure that it is environmentally friendly. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union has stated that “It is necessary to explain to consumers that the eco-label represents those products which have the potential to reduce certain negative environmental impacts, as compared with other products in the same product group, without prejudice to regulatory requirements applicable to products at a Community or a national level”. The Royal Society of Chemistry noted, in its 1998 document entitled Eco-Labeling: Life-Cycle Assessment In Action, that Eco-Labeling is a valid pursuit but argues that “the companies genuinely embracing eco-labeling will tend to be those with major market penetration and high brand status.” 

In May 1997, a report entitled The European Union Eco-Labeling Scheme for Textiles: Ecological Criteria for Bed Linen and T-Shirts, points out that Eco-Labeling will incur additional expenses for manufacturers and that many nations already have their own ecological stamps of approval in force that have been slow in catching on. Although the primary purpose of Eco-Labeling was to implement a cohesive strategy and definition of “green” products and services, many industries rejoiced at a European-wide set of standards and expressed disappointment that industry standards were being constantly redefined after they thought a definition had been reached via their own industry regulation councils.  

General concerns about the Eco-Labeling law include criteria subjectivity, financial cost of implementation, and discrimination against imported products that are similar and meet the Eco-Labeling criteria. One report calls Eco-Labeling “unrealistic”, and another defines Eco-Labeling as a failure while commending Germany’s Blue Angel label as being the best. This discussion also calls the Eco-Labeling process “lengthy” and “bureaucratic” and “political” and points out that politicians should not be making policy decisions on industry standards. 

The implementation of the European Union’s Eco-Labeling criteria has been slow and has met with some resistance, not from consumers, but from industry manufacturers and distributors. Complaints that the EU’s system is bogged down in bureaucratical intricacies and political negotiations have marred the scheme’s progress and acceptance. Industry leaders have expressed the very valid concern that their own governing organizations have spent years evaluating and developing the appropriate guidelines and procedures for application to their particular industry processes and that, since the inception of Eco-Labeling, politicians and other government officials are reevaluating and redefining these widely accepted industry standards. 

Important questions have arisen regarding the impartiality of the Eco-Labeling system as it is currently defined and why the Eco-Labeling system doesn’t more closely mirror successful established systems of environmental labeling already in place such as Germany’s Blue Angel system. The Eco-Labeling system also tends to ignore that these other systems would have to be scrapped and the Eco-Labeling system adopted by all European manufacturers for the system to be completely effective. 

Globalization of labeling guidelines for products and services is, in itself, a commendable idea. However, the reality of implementing a continent-wide strategy that has ignored the input and concerns of industry and trade leaders appears destined for failure. Consumers have, in recent years, become much more environmentally savvy and are open to purchasing more “green” products. Any effective Eco-Labeling criteria have to appeal to both the consumer and the industry that produces the targeted goods and/or services.

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It’s Easy Being Green

Filed under: ENVIRONMENT, GOING GREEN, NATURE — Tags: , , — forewordcommunications @ 12:18 am

 

 

 

 

We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents.

We borrow it from our children.

                                                  -Unknown

 

 

 

Going green means so much more than recycling although that’s a great place to start. Envision a world where there are no more plastic bottles and coffee cups littering the streets as well as clear skies and clean water. Think of the benefits of heating and cooling your home via geothermal methods. And, imagine your great grandchildren romping in the same green spaces that you did when you were a child.

 

Ok, so start with recycling. It’s a great way to work into the habit of green living. Then try a little bicycling or carpooling to avoid pumping noxious automobile gasses into the atmosphere and to conserve what little fossil fuels we have left.

 

Practice what you preach. How many times have you seen someone who religiously prepares their recyclables for pickup each week, then will toss a cigarette butt or a coffee cup out the car window while driving? They’ve certainly got a clean car, but they’ve managed to muck up the earth for the rest of us. If everyone picked up one stray piece of litter, it would make a big difference. Try spending a day with your children or church group picking up litter and putting all of the soda cans into one bag. Then take the cans to a local fire station which often collect them to help children burned in fires. Donation and recycling – the best of both worlds.

 

Donate all of your unused items to keep waste to a minimum. Every city has a used clothing center, charitable donation point, or church group which will take all of your used clothing and household items. If you have an item that you don’t think will you can donate, try Freecycle.org, a Yahoo group where you can give away all of your unwanted stuff. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

 

Try gardening! Creating a garden on your own little postage stamp of earth actually helps in a number of ways. Not only are you growing your own, environmentally friendly, pesticide free, food, but you can make your own fertilizer by dumping your household food and yard waste into a compost bin. This can actually reduce the amount of household garbage that you send on to the local dump by almost half!

 

Finally, don’t forget to reuse those plastic and paper bags that you get from the grocery store. There’s no need to buy small trash container bags when you probably have a whole stock of plastic grocery bags that will easily fit the bill. Making those bags do double duty means that you recycle the bags and save money at the same time. Instead of paper bags, keep a canvas bag in your car for those quick trips to the store. You can only use so many little plastic bags so why not let the store keep them. Many schools also have paper drives where you can take your paper bags and newspapers. You help the school and the environment.

 

 

©2008 ForeWORD Communications     All Rights Reserved

 

For intelligent writing solutions for your business, visit my website at www.forewordcommunications.com

 

ForeWORD Communications
Intelligent Writing Solutions for Individuals and Businesses

Articles – eBooks – eCourses – White Papers – Web Page Content – Etc.

Email: forewordcom@aol.com

Webpage: www.forewordcommunications.com

 

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