The reliability of product-specific eco-labels as an agrobiodiversity management instrument
Amstel, Mariëtte van
Brauw, Claar de
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This paper seeks to understand why multinationals prefer to launch a label specific to their own product and examines how reliable these product-specific eco-labels are. A new methodology is applied to assess the extent to which eco-labels live up to claims about their contribution to conservation and the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity. Product-specific eco-labels are considered as industry self-regulation and all three regulatory stages are studied: the planning, implementation and outcome stage. There are major differences between the product specific eco-labels in the degree in which agrobiodiversity management is part of the normative labeling schemes. Although there are some problems of reliability, such as transparency in the implementation stage and the monitoring in the outcome stage, the degree of reliability of product-specific labels is comparable with eco-labels of international labeling families. The conclusion is that only one of the product-specific eco-labels examined here is reliable when examined in the light of all three stages. The main reason why multinationals establish a product-specific eco-label instead of adopting one from an existing labeling family is that they want to profile themselves as distinct from other companies. The unique character of a product-specific label creates a market opportunity for them.