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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines whether and how eco-labelling schemes, either public or private, can generate environmental benefits. Eco-labels are a form of informational regulation that have emerged as an alternative to traditional command and control regulation. Eco-labels have some potential to improve environmental outcomes, in part by educating consumers about environmental attributes of products and incentivizing product greening. The chapter first considers different types of eco-labels, focusing on label content and label governance, using examples from around the world. It then discusses the challenges that a labelling scheme must overcome in order to be a successful force for environmental change. In particular, it explores whether an eco-label will work (issues relating to labelling methodology, label legitimacy, and consumer behaviour) and concludes with an analysis of eco-labelling normative concerns (equity, consumerism, and ‘strong’ versus ‘weak’ sustainability).

Keywords: comparative environmental law, eco-labels, informational regulation, consumer behaviour, consumer protection, equity, international trade law

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