In June, I attended a small conference on eco-labels at the University of Michigan, which was hosted for the second year by the Ross School of Business Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise (and jointly sponsored by the Sustainability Consortium). I had attended the first conference in 2010, and it was great to see many of the same people, and compare notes on the state of eco-labels around the world. This year’s theme was “Informing Green Markets: What Makes a Difference and Why,” and there was a fantastic range of presentations on supplier choices about certification, corporate level reputation ratings, social norms and labeling, consumer awareness, and designing better systems.
My own presentation was on “Green” Demand: Consumer Preferences for Different Types of Product Ecolabels and Corporate Sustainability Ratings,” and discussed the results of my online survey of over 500 consumers. Overall, both academic researchers and practitioners from the private, government, and non-profit sectors attended the conference, which made for some engaging discussions among people who have thought a lot about the questions and issues that I have been grappling with and analyzing in my own research over the last several years. I look forward to staying in touch with the other attendees, and keeping up on their work in the field.