Saving the planet with labels: can tags and accreditation change the sustainability game?

Sustainability, many are realizing, is not just a trend; it’s an increasingly essential element of any agency or brand’s offering. But how do we ensure rigorous accreditation and transparency? Eleanor Conradie, strategist at Rapp, takes a look at the state of current attempts to introduce labeling for sustainability.

What do you see when you look at a pint of milk? Perhaps you’re looking for a specific type such as whole or semi-skimmed, oat or almond, or more functional details such as sell by date and price. Maybe you’re thinking of your breakfast; it’s a supplement for your tea and coffee, or to be poured over your cereal. But when you purchase that pint of milk, do you see and understand the carbon footprint of your decision? If the answer is no, then we, as both marketers and consumers, are failing.

With the Covid-19 crisis, health and wellbeing have become core drivers for consumers, causing them to reassess their impact on the planet. The consumer shift toward a more ethical and healthier lifestyle, with the ability to compare products based on carbon footprints, should support more sustainable decision making. However, studies have found that while 65% of consumers globally are now more mindful about the impact of their overall consumption, only 53% have switched to lesser-known sustainable brands, indicating that there is a gap between intent and action.

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