Study shows that eco-labels have an effect on consumer behaviour

A recent Danish study shows that consumers are willing to pay extra for products they know are more sustainable.

Despite the fact that eco-labels have been used for a
considerable time, a report by the Danish institute of local
government studies is one of the first empirical studies to show
the relationship between eco-labelling and consumer’s behaviour.
Previous studies have mainly concentrated on the consumers’ ability
of recognising eco-labels. The Danish study analyses the effect of
the Nordic swan on Danish consumers’ decision. It draws the
following conclusions:

  • consumers are willing to pay 10-17% more for eco-labeled toilet
    paper and detergents;
  • the market share for the Nordic swan labelled products is
    estimated to 6-7%;
  • when there are more sustainable alternatives on the market, as
    e.g. reusable dishcloths instead of kitchen paper, consumers will
    not pay extra for eco-labelled products;
  • consumers have confidence in the label.

The study shows that eco-labels can play a role in consumers’
behaviour. However, the study would have to be reproduced in other
countries to prove if the result are valid for the EU in general.


There are a number of eco-labels in use in the EU. The EU
eco-label scheme, the Flower, celebrates its 10 years anniversary
in 2002. There are also national schemes, such as the Nordic swan
and the German blue angel that have been applied for almost 25

The idea behind eco-labels is that consumers
should be able to make informed choices and buy more
environmentally friendly products. Eco-labelling is a "market-based
instrument" whose primary function is to stimulate the supply and
demand of products with a reduced environmental impact.


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