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1.0 Introduction
With the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation and ever-increasing population, environmental pollution has assured alarming proportions and has become one of the most challenging problems of the human race.  Individuals, business organisations judiciary and the governments all over the world have recognised the need for prevention of pollution and protection of environment.  The emergence of environmental awareness among consumers world over has led to the growing demand for goods and services that are environment friendly and attempts are being made to find out ways to consume natural resources in a sustainable/green(er) manner.  An increasing number of consumers are translating their concern for wider environmental problems into changes of their purchasing behaviour.  The increasing green consumerism, especially in developed countries, has prompted their governments to bring in environment related guidelines that will regulate trade.  It is in this context of eco-friendly products and services and 'GREEN SHOPPING' that environmental labeling has assumed grater significance to develop confidence in the buyers about the goods and services used by them.  This will also lead to increased market share and provide incentive to companies to change their process/product line to meet the criteria.

2.0 What is Green Shopping?
The meaning of green shopping is inherent in the word 'GREEN' where each alphabet signifies :
                 G - Growth
                 R - Resources
                 E - Environment
                 E - Enhancement
                 N - Nature
Thus 'GREEN SHOPPING' means utilising goods and services in such a manner that leads to sustainable growth based on optimum management of resources for  protection and enhancement of environment in tune with eco-system of nature. 

3.0 What is an Eco-Friendly Product?

Any product which is made, used or disposed off in a way, that significantly reduces the harm it would have otherwise caused to the environment, can be termed as eco-friendly product.  Thus, it involves complete life cycle assessment of the product right from its raw material extraction stage, manufacture, use and to the final disposal with regard to its impact on environment.
4.0 Aim of Eco-Friendly Products Labelling
Ecolabel generally represents a holistic judgement, giviing an overall assessment of a product's environmental quality relative to other products in the same category.  In other words it is a claim which indicates the environmental aspects of a product or service.
Environmental labels operate as informative and voluntary market instruments.
Eco-labelling can accomplish several goals:

  • Improving sales or image of a labelled product; 

  • Stimulating consumer awareness about environmental impact of products;

  • Directing manufactures for the environmental impact of their products; and

  • Ultimately improving the quality of the environment and encouraging the sustainable management of resources.

  • The overall goal of eco-labelling is to encourage the demand for and supply of those products and services that cause less stress on the environment, thereby stimulating the potential for market-driven continuous environmental improvement.

5.0 Eco-Labelling and International Scenario
Environmental labelling programmes are becoming popular worldover.  At least, 15 countries including India have launched the ecolabelling schemes that are either sponsored by the governments or by the voluntary organisations that receive technical and financial support from their government.
While there is a need for greater transparency, voluntary ecolabelling schemes should not be brought under the scope of the technical barriers to trade agreement.  As ecolabelling is featuring as a contertious issue in international trade, the Indian industry needs to gear itself to meet the new challenges.  Accrecitation and prevailing laws of individual countries may at times act as barriers for international trade.  To eliminate such deterimental features in the scheme, it is made amply clear that the ecolabelling scheme in India is a purely voluntary scheme open to all manufactures, both domestic and foreign. 

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