Eco-labelling. A Socio-economic Analysis.

Wendy Williams

Publikation: AbschlussarbeitDissertation

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Due to the interdisciplinary nature of eco-labelling, the sense of the phenomenon itself is lost when studied in isolation. With this consideration, a balance of research between practical and theoretical approaches, between environmental sociology, environmental economics, international trade relations, consumer society, sustainability and marketing theory was explored. Eco-labelling has far-reaching ramifications in society, not just in the commercial relationship between producer and consumer, but in socio-cultural norms and values. It combines economic and social forces via the marketplace. The research of this paper focuses on 1) the socio-cultural aspects of eco-labelling, 2) the economic incentive which drives eco-labelling and 3) the global institutional structures which influence the eco-labelling dimension. Chapter 1 provides an overview of eco-labelling and introduces ecological modernization, the theoretical foundation of this paper. Chapter 2 is a summary of interviews which were conducted with eco-labelling managers around the world. Chapter 3 analyses the economic impact of eco-labelling, the effects on international trade and the environment, and how eco-labelling affects consumers and producers. Chapter 4 deals with the social context of eco-labelling, and the social paradigms of consumer society and sustainability, merging in the case of ecological modernization. Chapter 5 looks at opportunities and challenges to eco-labelling, and concrete recommendations with respect to the design of eco-labelling programmes are made. Eco-labelling is the only tool which functions within the conflicting social forces of consumer society and sustainability. As a market-based instrument for environmental management that functions within the producer - consumer relationship, eco-labelling can be seen as the ecological marketisation of consumer society. Best practices in eco-labelling rely on accepting the fundamental market principles combined with social trends. (author´s abstract)
Gradverleihende Hochschule
  • Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
ErscheinungsortAugasse 2-6, A-1090 Wien, Austria
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Nov. 2004