Chocolate certificates were a big topic, again, during Christmas time. The conversation got me wondering, what do certificates contain, how many certificates there are and what do they actually tell you. Why Weecos can be seen as a certificate and what is the future of eco-labels anyway?
The core idea of a certificate is to show us that the packages with a certain label on them are, for example, more environmental-friendly produced than the other package next to it. They show us that the product is made with a certain standard, perhaps they secure a better deal for farmers or are organic.
In other words, certificates are better choices. They help us make better choices.
But in the end, it’s confusing to have so many of them. What do eco-labels actually tell you? Do you know, in detail, what’s behind Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, GOTS or BSCI, not to even mention the mysterious number codes ISO 9001 or SA8000? I don’t. And it sure takes time to get to know them!
According to Ecolabel index, there are currently 465 eco-labels in 199 counties used, and in the next 15 years, the amount could rise to 750! Think about it, 750 eco-labels. Rather exhausting, right?
The criteria to get a stamp vary a lot and they can be quite expensive. Many companies have also made certificates on their own, which means that there isn’t a third, impartial organisation controlling and auditing the system. An example of this is Marabou’s Cocoa Life, a program they own. Such certification systems aren’t very reliable or transparent.
And according to Finnwatch, not even all certification systems are waterproof. No system is perfect and continual improvement is valuable. Therefore, it’s crucial to have non-governmental, impartial organisations to guide, control and audit the systems.
As said before, getting to know the actual content of a certificate isn’t easy. It takes time and sometimes it might be hard to recognise the promises of responsible actions and the responsible actions done.
Our promise to consumers at Weecos is that we know where the products are made. Entrepreneurs chosen into Weecos have opened their supply chains, working conditions, materials used and their actions of responsibility before entering Weecos. We have gathered the responsible goods for you, we help you to make better choices.
Others have also noticed consumer’s interests in the products they buy. For example, Formal Friday and Bomler are launching an app in 2017, where the consumer can trace the place where his or hers garment has been made.
The idea of consumers labelling themselves is something Tom Idles also predicts:
“The next step is consumers labelling themselves. – – Perhaps it will be an app, so that individuals can look up or document their footprint and show how much harm they do to the world or how much good they do. This is a response to people wanting to be more responsible, beyond merely buying greener products. Imagine being able to measure the real impact of the products and services you are consuming – and putting that number into some sort of app, which gives you a total number for your footprint.”
How does this sound, do we need more eco-labels or not and why’s that? What do you think about Tom’s idea of the app?