Ekobai Newsletter: Eco-certification and markets (Sept 2014)

Sep 2014

Summary:  Austerity aside, Italian organic markets are booming; a German wool supplier makes use of an ethical label to gain market share; Living Wage standard coming? and which US demographic uses eco-labels.

Organic Markets in Focus - Italy: Austerity and economic stagnation do not appear to have harmed Italy's organic markets.  Research firm SANA reports a 60% increase 2014 compared to 2013 so far.  " There were 52,383 certified organic operators in Italy on 31 December 2013 - an overall increase of 5.4% on 2012. Organic land has increased to 1,317,177 hectares, with an overall growth of 12.8% over 2012. Domestic consumption, according to figures released by the Ministry, collected by the ISMEA/GFK-Eurisko Family Panel in the first five months of 2014 show a positive trend."

Update on the Angora Wool Market:  Last year we reported on how a video depicting screaming Angora rabbits being plucked for their fur almost destroyed the market for Angora products as leading retailers removed all products from their shelves.  Targeted were the Chinese suppliers of the fur.  European suppliers have stepped up and taken advantage of what they claim is more responsible harvesting of the rabbit fur.  Chief among them is German supplier Naturfasern who claim to supply products in full compliance with European animal welfare standards, and have created a standard for the fur, Caregora.  This is a prime example of an extremely narrow social/ethics issue giving rise to a very specific standard.

Living Wage Update: The move towards a global benchmark or standard on the Living Wage is moving forward with the issuance of benchmarks for three emerging markets - South Africa, Dominican and Malawi, ISEAL reports .   " The collaboration between sustainability standards on living wage has taken a major step forward with the release of living wage benchmarks for rural South Africa, Dominican Republic and Malawi. This marks the start of a collective effort to estimate living wages for the countries in which these standards work and to strengthen the role of standards and certification in supporting wage growth globally."

Time for Eco Labels?: GreenBiz reports on which demographic in the United States uses eco labels and other third party certifications to help them shop and make judgements of companies. " They are affluent and educated. In fact, 33 percent of Americans with household incomes of $75,000-plus rely on third-party certifications, and 39 percent of those with a graduate/professional degree do. They also skew older, with one-third of the over-55 crowd picking this option." 

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