Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Wow, I can't believe I'd missed giving this its own 'label' (sorry) 'til now!

There is a lot more already; just click 'LABELLING' in the label (whoops, again:) list at the end.


Food&DrinkEurope.com - Deal could make traffic lights mandatory, claims report - For now, let's kick off with this, which isn't actually about pack labelling at all, but puts the state of the industry and legislation in context.

Guardian - Tesco labels will show products' carbon footprints - I await, with interest, by what agreed standard these footprints are derived/assessed, and what, if anything, the bemused shopper will make of them... and then do.

Guardian - Why the Co-op is wary of 'food miles' labelling - Is it not all rather boiling down a bit to 'my science is better than your science', and when the science objectivity doesn't suit then ethics trump all? Meanwhile, what the heck is the poor consumer supposed to DO...assuming they care enough to try and figure it all out? I sure am having trouble, as it's not my day job (well, not to the exclusion of all else) and I have waaaaay better things to do as I stroll down the aisles once a week. We seem to be getting a heck of a lot served up in short order to 'help' with shunting the attention away to us...:

Greenbang - Tesco’s food labels to carry carbon confessions

'These carbon labels will mean customers can measure the eco-friendliness of their shopping'


I can just see my missus flouncing out of Hereford Tesco to Gloucester Waitrose because the pack of Walker's stoat and hemlock flavour demanded by 'they-who-must be fed-junk-food' might have 5g less CO2 in it than the current 75g... whatever that actually means or translates into. Versus what? And from where (who WILL have a different set of measures, trust me)? And doing the same with the 50-100 other items that she needs to get from shelf to trolley in 30 minutes of a Friday night. She's freaked out enough that in sorting out the polyfiller-unmentionables in their tuck boxes she has actually sent their salt and vinegar levels to a point where the NHS can opt out once they hit 30.

At the mo, all I can sense is the cringing screech of a box being ticked, soon to be followed by a generous ladle of a mighty ad campaign to tell us that said box is now ticked.

Wouldn't it be great if the guv'mint, manufacturers and retailers got together on a few more well-coordinated, high enviROI initiatives that the public could surely be encouraged to work with, but without dumping the whole sorry mess on the poor consumer to figure out and deal with (which they won't) whilst slapping mutual backs at the next target-for-tonight enviro-conference.

Treehugger - Should Food Labelling Show Water Footprint? -

Super. Pretty soon we'll need a DVD-R on a pack of Tik-Taks to contain all the information we are deemed... or maybe required to know before purchase.

So far, in just the last few months, I am up to health (at least 3 versions here in the UK), carbon footprint, airmiles, Fairtrade, Organics (I think they are now fighting it out) and now water.

And you know what? Even with 75g of C02 on my pack of crisps I have no clue what it means, what to compare it to or what I can do (drive to another shop?)

It will make the weekly shopping a fun event.

But at least a whole new raft of green saviours can score funding on the back of it.

Will the last guy actually doing something to help spare the future please stop pedalling before they leave.

The Telegraph - Tesco to put carbon scores on goods - They shoots... ?

Food&DrinkEurope - Green logos create brand tension - Maybe we need a 'no-go' logo area?

BBC - Supermarket trials carbon labels - In many ways it's better than nothing, but I'm just having trouble seeing how it works. And I doubt a visit to the store will make much difference, though I will keep my eye open next time. This BBC piece suggests 'Shoppers will be able to compare products' carbon footprints' But with what? And then...? We are talking 20 pretty diverse items out of how many in those 20+ aisles you have 30 minutes to zip up and down? One interesting aspect is the totality of the experience, highlighted by the way in which you cook a spud making a big difference.

Enviromental Leader - Carbon Trust Rolls Out Carbon Label Program - Though I do crank an eyebrow at this: 'A number of other carbon label programs are in the works from various organizations.'

Brand Channel - Coffee Brands: Wake Up and Smell the Morality - I need a drink

BBC - Foods 'should label up eco-costs'

Indy - Call for new 'universal' food labelling - well, we are so good at cross-national cooperation, so it's going to be a cinch

Guardian - Government urged to introduce 'omni-standards' for food - Guess the PR is doing the rounds then

FoodandDrinkEurope - Could consumers suffer from green logo overload? - Nice they ask, though I'd say it's more 'Are consumers already suffering...' with a consequent total lack of enviROI+.

Indy - Crackdown ordered on food label loopholes - Again, only related, but still a worthy caution on how any scheme can be manipulated.

Food&DrinkEurope - Half of all consumers ignore food labels - only half?
Food&DrinkEurope - What consumers make of food labels - it's about health, but most will apply to 'green'.

Greenbang - New barcode to provide products’ carbon footprint - interesting, mind you as it is noted recently that 50% consumers ignore health labels, there may be some way to go yet. I also wonder what 'measure' it is operating to, as there are several I have heard of. Maybe they have standardised?

Guardian - Shoppers need clear labels to put a stop to 'greenwash' - of course, there's 'should', and 'calling for', and 'actually happening'.

Packaging News - Valpak issues Green Dot guidance for UK brand owners - '..concerns that consumers believed a pack that displayed the Green Dot was recyclable.' There is no equivalent symbol in the UK that denotes whether a company had complied with its packaging waste obligations, although the information is available via the Environment Agency public register.

Packaging News - Why green logos are all Greek - With certain irony, I just visited a council roadshow where they were explaining why we were losing our - very effective - weekly double RE:box kerbside system for a fortnightly all-in-one, 'the MRF will sort it all out' wheelie.

And, in addition to pencils and stickers, I also ha a choice of multiple leaflets saying roughly the same thing... with choices also printed in Portuguese and Polish.

However, what I did notice, in very small print, was that the onus is still being lobbed on the consumer to try and find,and suss out various small, often embossed only, signs of what is 'acceptable'. I was met by a wall of fudge when asking what would happen should my kids do the wrong thing, or a passer-by 'contribute' to my new outdoor rubbish-practices proxy representative.

I agree that information is necessary to inform and get the public to engage, but only when it is in forms that the layperson can comprehend and work with, and only when the systems are configured to handle the cooperation demanded in a proper manner.

This is not yet the case. A bunch of box-ticking wonks and target-meeting bureaucrats living in a jargon-filled world of niche conferences and metrics are not the best folk to understand and deliver ways to motivate consumers or spare the planet. And neither in complement are marketers more interested in getting the former off their backs than doing anything with a decent enviROI. IMHO.

Times - Green labels to show foods’ eco-credentials - one also for the 'could' files

Marketing Week - Green labelling could overwhelm shoppers with data - Ya think?

Good Human - Greenwash Of The Week: Climate-Friendly Food Labels - Not a fan, I'd say

Treehugger - NEW - Via Junkk - Can 400 Green Labels Do Anything But Confuse The World's Consumers?


Budget Ecoist - Plastics Numbering System Demystified: Go Green

BusinessGreen - Report urges firms to "edit" out non-green choices - worth a read if your life is that long and you have no mates

co2code.info - NIFTY!!!

Planet Green - Get to Know Your Recyclable Plastics by Number

environmentalleader.com - Green Labels Positively Impact Purchase Behavior

wrap-symbols - it's PR, but useful

WRAP - Recycling symbols explained

Logos (currently in development - ignore for now)

As the visual imagery behind all this goes hand in had with a plethora of logos, I have decided to start noting 'em down as I stumble across them.

Now, the blogger limit in images per post will preclude all that will be going up eventually, so until I can figure a better way I will post one by one as a 'Logo' and then link from here to that, with picture, if you see what I mean

carbon neutral - saw it in my SKY magazine. No idea what it means. And it is not the only one of its type, either.

ecolingo.com - a goodly spread of logos and definitions
recycle now -
valpak green dot -

Packaging News - Why green logos are all Greek

Courtesy of a blog exchange, I can kick off a sub-set list with an odd first attempt:

PRINTING INKS (first point of business is that, so far, no one seems to really know if there is a standard)

recycledproducts.com - 'Switching to soy inks'
soybiobased.org -
wgiprint.com -

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