Improved labeling and standards for environmental health

This solution was shared by PRE-LAUNCH RESEARCH TEAM , 14 May 2021

Print date: 20 October 2023 10:40

Description of the innovative solution

Packaging Consumer choice Food environment - personal Food literacy Traceability Information/communication Accountability mechanism Food safety Healthy diet Nutritious food Public-awareness campaign Regulatory protection Double-duty action Tuft's Innovation Lab

The standard for food labeling has largely been to inform consumers of nutritional content. Recently more food products include labeling for items like fair trade (ensuring those who made the product possible are getting fair working conditions/compensation), organic and other certifications like “Friend of the Sea” (sustainable seafood). Going forward, as anthropogenic climate change continues, there will be a greater need for food labeling to include standards for environmental health. Trust and transparency through labeling may lead consumers to make more environmentally friendly choices within food purchases. If food labeling were to include the item’s direct impacts on the environment from the beginning of the supply chain at ingredient growth following it through to item packaging, a new standard could be set for environmentally conscious consumers. Take Fair Trade for example, the organization has set up three pillars of standards: economic, environmental and social criteria must be met in order to meet the standards. The standards are imposed on both producers and traders. Fair Trade works as an NGO to provide the labeling and the standards. For Fair Trade, there is an overarching set of standards that producers and traders must meet to participate. Environmentally, these include objects like improving soil and water quality, avoid using harmful chemicals, reducing GHG, protecting biodiversity, etc. As for specific products, take coffee for example, there is another, more specific set of requirements of Fair Trade standards made for coffee only. Fair Trade aims to have high standards from planting to purchasing, all the way through the product's lifespan.

Supply chain segment

Consumers Regulatory aspects

Maturity level

Gaining traction


Food desirability Climate mitigation Water use Soil health Reducing biodiversity loss Increasing agrobiodiversity Reducing pollution

SDG target

SDG 2: Zero Hunger SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth SDG 10: Reduced Inequality SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production SDG 13: Climate Action SDG 14: Life Below Water SDG 15: Life on Land


Urban Peri-urban Rural Marine/Coastal

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Additional resources

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Eco Labels and Eco Conscious Consumer Behavior: The Mediating Effect of Green Trust and Environmental Concern
Scientific paper
Explores consumer effectiveness on environmental labeling standards and perceived consumer behaviors


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