Bookstore — Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth | Chapter 11…

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Chapter 11. Tools for Restructuring the Ecolabeling: Voting With our

Labeling products that are with environmentally sound lets consumers vote their wallets. Ecolabeling is now in many sectors of the economy, to identify energy-efficient household forest products from managed forests, fishery from sustainably managed and green electricity from friendly renewable sources.

the youngest of the ecolabels is that by the Marine Stewardship Council for seafood. In March 2000, the MSC its fisheries certification program it approved the Western Australia Lobster. Also earning that day was the West Thames Fishery. Among the key players in the processing and retail sectors the MSC initiative were Unilever, and Sainsbury’s. 28

In September 2000, the salmon fishery received its the first American fishery to do so. May, chief executive of the in referring to the Alaska salmon said, With its high and international market penetration, it is the product to carry our ecolabel, consumers that it is the best choice in seafood. This is a victory for Alaska, for the marine and for seafood consumers everywhere. 29

To be a fishery must demonstrate it is being managed sustainably. according to the MSC: First, the must be conducted in a way that not take more fish can be replenished naturally or kills species through harmful practices. Secondly, the fishery operate in a manner that the health and diversity of the marine on which it depends. Finally, the must respect local, and international laws and regulations for and sustainable fishing. 30

The MSC’s counterpart for forest is the Forest Stewardship Council which was founded in 1993 by the Wide Fund for Nature and other groups. Its role is to information on forest management within the forest products Some of the world’s forests are to sustain a steady harvest in others are clearcut, decimated in the quest for quick profits. The FSC between these two forms of in its labels for forest products, it be lumber sold at a hardware furniture in a furniture store, or in a stationery store. 31

Headquartered in Mexico, the FSC in effect accredits organizations that verify forests are being sustainably In addition to this on-the-ground the accredited organizations must be able to trace the raw product the various stages of processing to the The FSC sets the standards and provides the FSC the stamp of approval, but the actual is done by national organizations. 32

The FSC has nine principles that be satisfied if forests are to qualify for its Those managing the forests have a written plan describes the objectives and the means of them. The management plan respect the rights of indigenous who live in the forests or have the for the forested land. There are other principles, but the central one is the forest is managed in a way that that its yield can be sustained This means careful cutting, in effect mimicking management of a forest by removing the mature, older trees time. Simply stated, the preserves the capacity of the forest to both products and services. 33

WWF describes the certification system as a way of wood and wood products come from well sources anywhere in the world up by a label that would be unambiguous, and easily recognized. provides consumers with the they need to support forestry through their of forest products. By identifying companies and retailers that are in the certification program, socially investors also have the they need for responsible 34

In March 1996, the first wood products were into the United Kingdom. then, the certification process has worldwide. As of June 2001, 24 million hectares of forests had certified under the auspices of the This area included than 300 forests in 45 countries. 35

To this certification program, and trade networks have set up in Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the Nordic countries, Spain, Switzerland, the United and the United States. These whose combined corporate may reach 1,000 by the end of 2001, are of the vast support group of that adhere to the FSC standards in marketing. Among the world’s largest wood buyers, the top Home Base, Home and Ikeabuy only FSC-certified

In June 2001, the Natural Ministry in Moscow announced it was introducing national mandatory of wood. Although a small of its timber harvest is already buyers’ discrimination against the of the harvest costs Russia $1 in export revenues. The ministry that its uncertified wood for 20-30 percent less certified wood from countries.37

Another commodity is getting an environmental label is In the United States, many utility commissions are requiring to offer consumers a green option. This is defined as from renewable sources than hydroelectric, and it includes power, solar cells, thermal energy, geothermal and biomass. Utilities simply a return card with the bill, giving consumers the of checking a box if they would to get green power. The offer the additional cost of the green which typically is from 3 to 15

Utility officials are often by how many consumers sign up for power. Many people are prepared to pay more for their in order to help ensure a climate for future generations. governments, including, for example, in Santa Monica and Oakland in have signed up to use green exclusively. This includes the they use for municipal buildings as as that required to operate municipal services, such as lights and traffic signals.39

Many corporations are signing up as Toyota’s North American headquarters in California, with 7,000 employees, has opted for power. Literally scores of in Californiasome larger, like and Patagonia, and many smaller subscribing. Even colleges and are getting in on the act. In April as an Earth Day project, students at the of Colorado sponsored a referendum committed themselves to an increase in fees of $1 per semester in exchange for the purchase of green power. The was approved by an overwhelming 85 percent of the In the San Francisco Bay area, some 30 are also subscribing to green Within the Episcopal church, a called Episcopal Power and has launched a nationwide effort to get not churches to buy green power, but members as well.40

The net effect of growing numbers of green proponents is a tidal wave of that is forcing many to scramble in their search for an supply of green electricity. One wind farms are springing up in so states is that this is one of the ways of bringing new green online. While green marketing appears to be more in the United States, it will spread to other countries

Other types of ecolabeling the efficiency labels put on household that achieve a certain in the use of electricity or other forms of These have been in in many countries since the crisis of the late 1970s. are also green labels by environmental or governmental groups at the level. Among the better environmental seal of approval are Germany’s Blue Angel, Environmental Choice, and the U.S. Protection Agency’s Energy


28. Marine Stewardship World’s First Sustainable Products Launched, press (London: 3 March 2000).

29. Stewardship Council Awards Label to Alaska Salmon, release (London: 5 September

30. Ibid.

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31. World Wide for Nature (WWF), The Forest in the 21st Century (Surrey, 2001).

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid.

34. Certification: A Future for the World’s (Surrey, U.K. WWF Forests for Campaign, May 2000), p. 4.

35. Ibid.; Stewardship Council, Forests by FSC-Accredited Bodies,, 30 June 2001.

36. WWF, op. note 31.

37. Russia Set to Begin of Forests, and Russia Works Out for Mandatory Wood Certification, 5 June 2001.

38. National Energy Laboratory, Summary of Pricing Programs (Golden, CO: 12 July 2001).

39. Global USA, Santa Monica Approves RFP Process to Switch All Facilities to Green Power, release (Los Angeles: 14 1998); Oakland from Asmus, Reaping the Wind DC: Island Press, 2000).

40. Green Power Network, Motor Sales USA Becomes Green-e Certified Company, release (San Francisco: 8 May CU Environmental Center, University of Students Vote ‘Yes’ for Power! press release CO: 17 April 2000); Center for Solutions, Episcopal Church Faith into Environmental With Switch to Green press release (San 11 June 1999).

41. Consumers In Time for Earth Day, Union Launches, release (Yonkers, NY: 10 April Federal Environmental Agency Information Sheet for Submission of New for the ‘Blue Angel’ Environmental (Berlin: Federal Environmental March 2001),; Environmental Choice from U.S. Energy Star information from .

2001 Earth Policy

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