There are a few ways:
1. Make eco-labeling adhere to stricter criteria. Certain labeling schemes are extremely lax, and do not really indicate truly environmentally friendly products.
2. Make consumers aware of what the eco-labeling means. Make the labeling less ambiguous. In the US, for example, there’s a big different between “100% organic” and “organic” on a label. And many people do not know this. It is important for consumers to know the criteria their products are measured by.
3. Standardization. There are a lot of eco-labeling schemes out there, which can be somewhat confusing.
4. Holding the people who run the labeling agencies accountable. Human selfishness can get in the way of things, and people in agencies could perhaps be bribed. Third-party agencies to overlook eco-labeling agencies could be a helpful (albeit expensive) solution.
I agree with yzezzy, but I also would like to consider what I would like to see and what would would change my purchasing. I would like a label to tell me if a product was made with sustainable practices, if it contains anything toxic and how recyclable it is. We have some measures for this, but I think we need more. I would like to know if canned goods contain BPA. Many electronics often contain toxic substances that may leach in disposal. Labelling may inspire the industry to find more sustainable means. I would also like to know how far a product had to travel to get to me and if it was transported by oil or green fuel. I think labels should not just be used to punish environmental offenders but also to celebrate some of the accomplishments of green-minded companies.
As someone who is visually impaired, it would help with the labels were bigger with the numbers easier to read. In fact, this would probably help promote recycling. Imagine if the symbol was huge and people were sure to notice it! Then people will realize that items they may not be recycling are in fact recycleable.
The only way to make eco-labeling better is by educating ourselves about the ingredients we want in and on our bodies and environment. We vote with the dollar and if we learn to see through the facade that most eco labels are, these companies will learn they have to change their practices. It is easy to fool those that are uneducated.
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