Stephanie Lahad, French Office, Bord Bia
Since July 1st 2011, an experimental programme concerning environmental labelling has been running in France with the participation of 168 French companies including 29 food & drink producers and retailers.
The aim of this experimental programme is to evaluate the opportunity for roll-out of environmental labelling across all FMCG sectors to entice producers to take into account environmental issues.
The programme will help to establish which environmental factors to choose, how to display impact and how to communicate this to consumers. According to the framework specifically designed for the programme, companies display on average 3 environmental indicators. The most popular are greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and the impact on biodiversity. These indicators display the environmental impact of the product using a scale or grading system. The participating companies display this information mainly on the company website, but also on the product packaging, on POS material or using a smartphone application.
The main motivation for companies to participate was the opportunity to contribute to the structuring of future environmental labelling regulations. Other factors included company brand image and differentiation from the competition.
The program has generated great collaboration within the companies and between suppliers and retailers. Half of the companies who participated found relevant information easily due to the well-established traceability in the food and drink sector.
The food and drink sector is the first to undergo preliminary evaluation. Evaluation of other sectors will take place throughout 2012 and a final report on the experimental programme will be submitted to parliament in early 2013 providing the basis for a legal framework for environmental labelling in 2014 at the earliest.