Interview with Kate Harris – World Ecolabel Day 2022
Each year more than 50 countries around the world celebrate World Ecolabel Day. World Ecolabel day is run by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).
GEN is the leading network of the world’s most credible and robust ecolabels. It’s 37 members represent more than 50 countries.
GEN is a nonprofit organisation that sets the global benchmark for ecolabel excellence. Achieving GEN ecolabel membership is a rigorous and independently verified process, making it a powerful trust indicator.GEN brings expertise and clarity to sustainable procurement.
World Ecolabel Day campaign happens on the second Thursday of October each year. This year, that’s 13 October 2022. This year’s campaign theme is “Celebrating our heroes. Looking Forward together.”
In this interview, Kate Harris, GEN Secretariat, answers some common questions about World Ecolabel Day.
Why are we celebrating World Ecolabel Day? Who are the heroes of the campaign?
World Ecolabel Day is an important annual awareness campaign to remind us all to buy better. If more of us can be responsible consumers, together we will make a difference for people and the planet.
Everything we choose and use has a considerable impact. World Ecolabel Day is a time to stop and think about treading lightly for you, your community and future generations.
So this year, we are celebrating our sustainability heroes who make a difference for all of us.
Our heroes will be people, products or producers- but all of them will be making life better for you and me. We can all be an ecolabel hero.
Always ask questions when purchasing a product and be informed because greenwash is everywhere!
What is GEN, and how does it work?
GEN is the member organisation for excellence in ecolabelling. We are 28 years old but continue to be a much-needed critical driver for best practices in products and services.
We connect the community of leading ecolabels – ISO 14024 life cycle ecolabels- to continue to lift the bar across all global regions, share our learnings and insights with each other, and promote the importance of procurement using ecolabels to big business and governments.
As a procurement tool, they are a critical solution for responsible consumption. We also support new regions and markets to develop ecolabels through fundamental work with inter-governmental organisations so that we will have a proper global one-stop shop networked solution over time.
GEN makes it simple for governments and major businesses to cut through greenwash, make better choices, and stimulate the global market for sustainable goods and services.
What is a lifecycle ecolabel?
A lifecycle ecolabel reduces impacts across the whole life cycle of the product or service from beginning to end and beyond
. Like the circular economy, we start making a difference from the beginning- at the point of extraction of raw materials, right through to the end of life in recycling and reusing.
True ecolabels also assure truth, trust, and transparency. They need to have good governance and be independent, credible, and rigorous in their approach to certification. This includes standards development and the verification and certification process that awards products and services with the ecolabel – should they be successful.
I also think mission-led organisations are essential. Ecolabelling looks easy, a simple label, but it is not. It is complex and challenging, technical and requires hard work. You need to care about what you do every day to keep striving toward excellence.