Understanding Eco-labels

My previous blog post stressed the importance of understanding agricultural policy in order to develop an informed food philosophy. This week, I’m advocating a familiarity of eco-labels. The unintended consequences of eating a hamburger for lunch—such as deforestation among others—are lessened by the demand and consumption of certified products.


Forest certification programs such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and the Forest Stewardship Council all work to ensure the future of our forests.

“Today, demand for certified timber products outstrips supply, according to a 2012 report (PDF) co-authored by the United Nations Environment Programme. Yet while certified standards cover about 250 million acres in the United States and Canada, only 10 percent of forests across the globe are certified” [1].

Although a collective effort of forest certification is necessary for “covering the most ground,” confusion could stall the progression of consumer demand. Understanding the Effective Use of Green Product Labels provides power to consumers—allowing them to decide what to support and what to deem unethical. The success of the green marketplace requires consumer understanding, and eco-labeling is at the forefront of this thinking.

Related news: It’s the one-year anniversary of McDonald’s announcement that it will begin buying verified sustainable beef in 2016. How’s it going?