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OTB Position on Environmental Labelling

By 18 October 2022No Comments

THE ORGANIC TRADE BOARD (OTB) believes that environmental labelling will help consumers make more informed, sustainable and educated decisions at point of purchase. We support and encourage our members, along with the wider organic industry in the UK, to trial the internationally recognised Planet Score label, while offering to collaborate with the IGD in their ongoing work and development of a UK Environmental Label. We strongly believe the objective of any environmental label should be to reflect the key metrics that result in a more sustainable food production approach, delivering a more transparent and honest labelling system.

The increase of eco-actives in the UK population (Kantar, 2022) will see a rising number of shoppers highly concerned about the environment and wanting to take more serious actions to reduce their impact. The right environmental label will be welcome tool in achieving this.

The OTB, on behalf of the UK Organic Industry, is fully supporting the development of Environmental Labelling on food & drinks products that will further help consumers in making better and more informed choices for themselves and the planet. We need to make sure that this label is as clear and transparent as possible, as well as avoiding any potential greenwashing which could mislead consumers.

It is of utmost importance that a holistic product overview is achieved with clear assessments of impacts including pesticides, biodiversity, and animal welfare. The ‘perfect label’ is an almost impossible task due to the number of variables, however we need to aim for the highest possible achievable standard. And make sure it is updated and improved constantly.

The OTB acknowledges that the IGD is working on developing a label that will give products an environmental score and we are pleased, as an associate member of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to be part of the ‘consultation group’. Our key interest on behalf of the UK organic sector, is to ensure the sustainable benefits of organic farming practices are properly reflected in the developing scoring system and that the organic principles such as, for example, the avoidance of pesticides and artificial fertilisers alongside higher animal welfare standards, are taken into consideration and communicated to consumers clearly. The OTB offers support and our collective expertise to the UK’s environmental labelling steering group to help define the potential new UK label and develop a system that can be as useful as possible for consumers, and the planet.

While a UK label is in development, we are seeking businesses who would be keen to trial the Planet Score label, an internationally recognised environmental label, which has been developed and trialled in the past 5 years by over 170 organic and non-organic companies and brands in over 11 countries. We encourage OTB members and any other organic brand to trial Planet Score, so we can better understand consumers’ reaction as well as have a clearer insight of this approach in the UK. Planet Score has been proven successful with brands and consumers in other countries and provides a good, clear visual assessment of the sustainable practises and benefits of organic.

The OTB is available to any organic organisation that wants to know more about the environmental labels being developed in the UK and EU, and for any brand wanting to trial the Planet Score label.