Eco-labelling in France

Posted on December 10, 2010 by

Starting July 2011, France will conduct a national experiment for at least one year to inform consumers through environmental labelling. This experiment would be the subject to an assessment and can be extended by the parliament as appropriate. The experiment will involve displaying the carbon footprint of products on sale across all sectors, incorporating both products that are manufactured and consumed in France and products that are imported into the country for consumption.

This voluntary scheme is part of a wider nationwide programme to:

  • Include the environmental component in consumer purchasing decisions to support behavioural change;
  • Provide the entire production and distribution chain with new indicators to encourage better eco-designed and more efficient products.

Going forward, there will also be a requirement to consider not only the impact in terms of CO2 throughout the lifecycle of a product, but also the most significant specific impacts of each type of product too. For example, a washing powder will be required to display its biodegradability capacity.This display is not intended to be selective to specific class of products – all products will eventually be required to display environmental information but eligibility to operate in the market will not conditional on meeting any targets or limits. The new labelling is comparable to the existing system used for the nutritional characteristics of food (calories, protein, carbohydrates, etc.).

Such labelling will provide consumer with information and act as one of the points supporting behavioural change. This environmental display can also become a competitive element for businessesby encouraging them to reduce the environmental footprint of their products and their organisations. It will therefore also enable them to increase their resilience against variations and increases in energy costs and growing pressures regarding raw materials.

Posted in: Sustainability