Since becoming an eco-conscious consumer a few years ago, I have paid a lot more attention to the information labels on the products I purchase (whether it is directly on the packaging, or on the bins at the store). One thing I have learned from this?
There are a lot of different labels to decipher.
In fact, according to Is it really green?1, there are 457 different eco certifications that are used worldwide. Even with the best of intentions, how is any consumer meant to figure out what they all mean, let alone which ones are standing by their promises.
This information only solidified my frustration, having recently watched Seaspiricy2, which showed just how one of these ‘eco-friendly’ labels has no way of guaranteeing their promises. The documentary investigates ‘dolphin safe tuna’ and how they essentially ‘trust’ the companies they certify are not killing dolphins in their by-catch.
While some have condemned this specific documentary for various reasons, further research shows that they are not the first to uncover this. In fact, a quick search on YouTube or Google shows that people have been questioning this label, and labels like this since they were created. While I am certainly not saying that each label is as controversial as the ‘dolphin safe’ label, I definitely think that it is important to do your own research before giving your trust to something just because it has a label.
But where to start on such an en devour? I was able to find a list of official labels in Australia here3. While the descriptions lack some important information, this is a great place to start to see if the label is officially recognized in the country. From there, I would definitely suggest not only checking out the official website of the specific logo, but also the news surrounding the logo. Well rounded research will help you come to your own conclusion.
Beyond that, where possible, I would suggest shopping local, and talking to the producers or any food items or products directly. Only then can you get the most accurate information about the product you are purchasing.
1 Wilson-Powell, G. (2021). Is it really green? London: Dorling Kindersley Limited.
2Seaspiricy [Motion picture]. (2021).
3All ecolabels in Australia: Ecolabel Index. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabels/?st=country,au