Do Europe’s Product Labels Converge? The Case of EU Ecolabel, EU Energy Label and CE Marking
Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)
October 25, 2011
TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2011-048
Not only ecolabelling and energy labeling but also its wider framework, namely, the idea of sustainable consumption and production are recent issues of the globe compared to consumer product safety which dates back to the 19th century. Previous studies analyze the regulation of ecolabelling and energy labeling neglecting its common aspects with product labeling for human health and safety purposes. This article focuses on the development of those three types of product labels, namely, CE Marking, EU Energy Label and EU Ecolabel employed in the European Union (EU) also with a view to predict their future. It is revealed that increasing societal awareness in ecological issues tend to converge earlier measures of product safety labelling (CE Marking) into new measures of ecolabelling (EU Ecolabel) in terms of substance. Secondly, the Article shows that both EU Energy Label and EU Ecolabel tend to converge into CE Marking particularly in terms of standardisation procedures as well as conformity assessment, market surveillance and enforcement. Interestingly, convergence tends to occur in both directions regarding the substance and standardisation of EU Ecolabel vis-à-vis CE Marking. In the end, it is suggested that EU Ecolabel may (and perhaps should) become mandatory in the future in view of the historical development and justifications regarding mandatory CE Marking and EU Energy Label. On the other hand, a mandatory federal ecolabel does not seem so likely in case of the United States (US) due to its different attitude towards product labeling as well as consumers’ impact on the environment. Nevertheless, some procedural convergence is visible among product labels.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: ecolabel, energy label, free movement of goods, CE Marking
JEL Classification: F18, K32, Q38, Q48
Date posted: October 25, 2011
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