LABELS: Linking Consumers and Producers Vol. 1, Number 2

  LABELS:  Linking Consumers and Producers - Vol. 1, Number 2    July 22, 1997

                            Table of Contents                           
    - Announcing Labels:  Linking Consumers and Producers
    - Changing Consumer Behavior Key To Eco-Label Success
    - Grown in the U.S.A.
    - Child Labor Free Bill Introduced
    - Pacific Northwest Spawns Salmon Safe Label
    - Chiquita Looks To Be A Bunch Ahead With Eco-Label
    - News Briefs
    - Resources
    - Events



We are pleased to introduce the second edition of a monthly publication 
from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Labels: 
Linking Consumers and Producers.  The first two editions have been sent 
to you via e-mail, however we will not send any further editions without 
your subscription to the automated list serve (see instructions below). 

Labels provides readers with relevant, up-to-date news, events and 
resources related to the labeling of products for environmental, social 
and regional sustainability. Labeling products with respect to the 
sustainability of their production, processing and transporting is a 
powerful tool for achieving more environmentally sound, economically 
viable, biologically diverse, and socially just communities. IATP 
encourages information exchange on the development, implementation and 
impact of labeling initiatives. 

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Contact Kathryn Clements, kclements@iatp.org, if you need any 
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bulletins, via our website: http://www.sustain.org/bulletins.
A report released in mid-June by the Organization for Economic  
Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that eco-labeling programs will  
ultimately be judged successful if they are able to change consumer  
behavior. The report, Eco-labeling: Actual Effects of Selected Programs,  
prepared by a team of  trade and environment experts, provides in-depth  
analysis of the market impacts, environmental effectiveness and trade  
impacts of eco-labeling programs across North America, Europe, and Asia.  

Eco-labels have had only moderate success with individual consumers, but  
are having greater impact on changing institutional procurement  
practices.  According to the report, eco-labels' influence on producers  
and manufacturers is the most significant environmental impact  
registered to date. In some cases, producers' desire for eco-label  
certification has encouraged modification of products or production  
techniques with direct improvements on the environment. Government  
procurement practices utilize eco-labels under eco-label programs such  
as the Canadian Environmental Choice Program and the Japanese Eco-Mark  
to identify environmentally preferable products. The U.S. Green Seal  
Environmental Partners program was cited as an effective tool in  
institutional purchasing programs requiring eco-labeled products. 

As to the market value of eco-labels, the report says that no  
statistical data is available to demonstrate the market-power derived  
from an eco-label, although "Producers continue to apply for and pay for  
eco-labels...indicating that they have some market value."  The OECD  
report notes that there is no "...hard evidence of trade effects arising  
from eco-labeling."  When eco-labeling schemes include production- 
related criteria, such as regulations on water effluents or air  
emissions, "Such criteria can discriminate against imports when they  
reflect exclusively the environmental conditions and preferences of the  
importing country, particularly for developing countries and countries  
heavily dependent on exports," the report said.  

"Report says success of labeling programs based on ability to alter  
consumer behavior,"  INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT REPORTER, June 25, 1997.

The Imported Produce Labeling Act (HR 1232) was introduced in the U.S.  
Congress, calling for mandatory country-of-origin labels on fresh  
produce sold in U.S. grocery stores. A "clear and visible sign" would be  
required to declare what country the produce originates from, under  
penalty of $250 per day for non-compliance. The bill's sponsor,  
Representative Sonny Bono of California, said the bill is a  "common-
sense way of providing the American consumer with basic  information 
about the produce they may want to purchase." 

Consumer's right-to-know or veiled protectionism? Supermarket owners  
argue the initiative is more of the latter. The spokesperson for the  
Food Marketing Institute, which represents the U.S. supermarket  
industry, said "We see this as a thinly veiled effort to limit or  
restrict imported produce. If you think your product is superior, market  
it that way. Don't ask the government to do it." Grocery store owners  
enjoy the benefits of providing customers a steady supply of produce  
during the winter months by importing foreign produce. The U.S. last  
year imported $1.7 billion worth of produce. 

U.S. fruit and vegetable growers are wary of foreign competition: U.S.  
tomato growers are particularly concerned citing increased competition  
for market share with Mexican tomatoes as a result of the North American  
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Pushing hardest for the labeling is the  
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA), which represents Florida  
tomato growers. The FFVA maintains that rather than a trade barrier,  
country-of-origin labeling is about consumer choice. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman voiced concern over possible  
retaliation against U.S. goods in foreign markets. The bill is being  
promoted as good trade policy based on the premise that the initiative  
will harmonize the labeling practices of the U.S. and its major trading  
partners - most of whom, proponents argue, already require country of  
origin labeling on imported produce. 

"Bill would mandate labels on imported food goods," AGRI NEWS, July 3,  

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller  (D-
California) in April introduced the Child Labor Free Consumer  
Information Act of 1997 (S. 554 and H.R. 1301), encouraging companies to  
voluntarily adopt a child labor free label on product packaging.  
Speaking at an International Labor Organization seminar in Geneva June  
13, Sen. Harkin said the use of consumer labels is the best available  
approach to combating child labor. Details around enforcement and  
monitoring of "child labor free" certification are vague and seem to  
depend on significant NGO participation. 

Saying "We cannot divorce trade policy from social policy," Senator  
Harkin said the U.S. is ready to pursue a social label initiative even  
without international consensus. The ILO, arbiter of international labor  
standards, has cooled its pursuit for an internationally recognized  
social label after strong protests from developing nations. Developing  
countries maintain that trade and labor linkage via social labeling  
would act as a mask of protectionism for Western goods competing with  
less costly goods from developing nations. 

"Senator Harkin on the use of consumer labels to combat child labor,"  
INSIDE U.S. TRADE, June 13, 1997.

The Pacific Rivers Council (PRC), a Portland, Oregon conservation group,  
this spring launched its Salmon-Safe marketing campaign, offering a  
seal of approval on agricultural goods produced utilizing farming  
practices that keep rivers clean enough for wild salmon to spawn and  
thrive. So far the initiative has enrolled a dozen regional agricultural  
producers including wineries, juice processors and ricegrowers. 

Salmon-safe certification is based on an operation's impact on water  
quality and riparian habitat. PRC salmon-safe production guidelines  
include using cover crops to minimize erosion into streams and  
ecologically sound methods to control weeds and pests. Certified  
producers are allowed to adhere a salmon-safe label to their products.  
At present, PRC salmon-safe products are carried in about 30 retail  
outlets--mostly natural and specialty foods stores--throughout Oregon  
and Washington. "We're asking consumers to vote with their  
dollars,"Daniel Kent, PRC marketing director said, "I think eco-labeling  
is a thing of the future." 

"Salmon, redwoods gain eco-labels,"SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, June 16,  
1997; "One label ag can live with:Salmon Safe," CAPITAL PRESS, May 9,  

Chiquita Brands Inc., is reportedly pursuing an "environmental" approach 
in its quest for market share in the European Union. Cincinnati-based 
Chiquita is using its Rainforest Alliance "Eco OK" certification as a 
marketing tool to position its products for greater acceptance on the 
European market. Chiquita received the certification-- based on limited 
use of pesticides, proper chemical-use training for its workers and a 
plastics recycling program -- in 1995. This past year, Chiquita began 
pushing its product in Europe as the "better banana," produced in 
environmentally friendly Costa Rican fields. Attuned to European 
consumer's higher sensitivity to food-related environmental issues, 
Chiquita's "Marketers in Europe felt they needed to have environmental 
certification," according to a Chiquita spokesperson.

Another reason Chiquita may be pursuing its eco-label approach is to 
counter any "green" trade barriers the European Union may try to impose 
in an effort to support banana imports from African, Caribbean and 
Pacific nations. Reports say efforts are underway in Europe to set aside 
a quota for organically grown bananas: The EU has granted the Dutch firm 
Max Havelar licensing set-asides for Havelar-certified organic bananas 
from African and Caribbean countries.  The EU recently issued an appeal 
against a WTO ruling that its banana import regime, giving preferential 
treatment to bananas imported from ACP developing countries, violates 
international trade agreements. The U.S. brought the case against the EU 
to the WTO on behalf of Chiquita.

"Banana company gets Eco-OK stateside, but not in Europe," EARTH TIMES 
NEWS SERVICE, June 2, 1997.

A Food Marketing Institute (FMI) study reports that 52 per cent of 
Americans say they are concerned about environmental issues: Although 
only seven percent are committed to "environmentally sound" consumption. 
According to the FMI, 23 percent of Americans are concerned about the 
environment but do not consistently reflect their concern in their 
purchasing decisions.THE PACKER, June 23, 1997

Asda, a U.K. supermarket chain, announced it will begin on-package 
detailing of its private-label products containing genetically modified 
soybeans. Asda reportedly made the decision after receiving pressure 
from consumer groups, and as a proactive measure to independently 
implement labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) before it 
becomes mandatory in the European Union.AGNET, June 27, 1997.

The Virginia Association For Biological Farming (VABF) is developing a 
"Virginia Green" label as a marketing tool for the statešs sustainable 
producers. The initiative is part of the VABF consumer education and 
market development program, funded by a grant from the W. Alton Jones 

Eco-labeling: Actual Effects of Selected Programs (see above): Available 
from OECD Publications and Information Center, 2001 L St. N.W., Suite 
650, Washington, D.C. 20036-4922 USA; Ph: +01/202/785/6323; Fax: 

What's In A Name: Eco-Labeling In The Global Food System: Paper 
presented at the Joint Meetings of Agriculture, Food, and Human Values 
Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society, held in 
Madison, WI, June 5-8, 1997. By Elizabeth Barham, Department of Rural 
Sociology, Cornell University. Examines the emerging clashes between 
corporations and eco-labeling proponents as reflective of a larger 
struggle to moderate the effects of global market liberalization on 
consumers, producers and environment.

"Business-led Initiative in Environmental Management:  The Next 
Generation of Policy";  Saturday, July 26;  Sheraton Centre Toronto 
Hotel, Toronto, Ontario.  This is a preconference workshop to the 
American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting.  
Presentations include, "Environmental labeling of food and fiber," and 
"Greening the food supply chain."  Cost:  $75.  Contact AAEA at 515/233-


Produced by the Institute for  Agriculture and Trade Policy, Mark   Ritchie, President.  Editor: Judith  Brienza, e-mail iatp@iatp.org.  E-mail   versions are available free of charge.  For information about fax or mail  subscriptions or for a  list of other  IATP publications, contact the Institute  for Agriculture  and Trade Policy, 2105  First Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN  55404.  612-870-0453, fax: 612-870-4846,  e-mail iatp@iatp.org.  For  information  about IATP's contract research  services, contact Dale  Wiehoff at IATP  dwiehoff@iatp.org