Many labels can be bad (like stereotypes, name-calling, or even those that signal over-commercialism). But, many can be helpful, especially if we're on the hunt for products that make the planet a better place. For example, coffee certifications can help us know what kinds of beans are good to the earth or farmers or even birds. We also like to know what kinds of plastics can be recycled or whether or not a t-shirt uses organic cotton.
And now, those helpful labels could be coming to cars and underwear near you.
Last month, Chevy announced that it would begin to label its cars with an "Ecologic" label across its entire fleet of automobiles by next year. The big idea is that the buyer will know the full "cradle to grave" impact of the car he or she is driving. While cars have had emissions or MPG labels for years, this kind of information is very new, especially since it takes into account a vehicle's impact on the planet as it's made, when it's driven, and what happens to it when it is no longer in use one day.
This is a big step in the right direction as we all think more about the true lifecycle of our products. Materials needed to build cars come from somewhere and the disposal of a car has a considerable environmental impact. Chevy is stepping up to showcase what that entire process looks like so consumers can understand the larger implications of their car purchase.
Similarly, later this year the textile world is set to launch a new index that examines the overall sustainability of a garment. Looking at more than just the material used to make the shirt, underwear, socks, or pants, the index will also take into account things like packaging and shipping. The index hopes to later expand to also consider the labor used in making and selling the item.
Again, this attempt at a comprehensive look at a product's environmental footprint can make us better consumers. While this adds another label into the mix when it comes to cars and shirts, it also helps us as buyers understand what all happens when we buy something. No doubt this movement will also help companies focus more on what their business does for the planet.
This kind of detailed labeling will ensure that our planet is better taken care of, one car, sock, or coffee bean at a time.
What do you think?
When these new labels debut, will they help shape your purchasing decisions? And do you think other companies will follow suit? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.