New report: labelled products highly estimated

(eceee news, 21 May 2019) A new report from WRAP – The Waste and Resources Action Programme – shows that energy consumption information (particularly the EU Energy Label) can influence purchase behaviour and intentions. The more the consumers understand about the meaning of the label, the higher the willingness to pay more for the product.

The report The Effectiveness of Providing Labels and other Pre-Purchase Factual Information in encouraging more Environmentally Sustainable Product Purchase Decisions: Expert Interviews and a Rapid Evidence Assessment  was commissioned to explore

the existing evidence about the effectiveness of providing factual information (including content, source and format) on the environmental sustainability of a product, and its impact in influencing consumer (individual and organisational) buying decisions.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Energy consumption information (particularly the EU Energy Label) can influence purchase behaviour and intentions
  • For other environmentally sustainable aspects, there is some evidence that labelled products may be preferred over unlabelled products, with a higher willingness to pay for the labelled products
  • The findings suggest that the degree of influence may depend on the consumer’s understanding of what the label, and the subject of the label, means; the more the consumers understand what the label means, the more likely they are to be willing to pay more.
  • Price was often indicated, or found to be, an important factor in consumers’ decisions. Price concerns may override environmental concern. However, in some instances the literature suggests that, to a point, consumers may be willing to pay a premium for environmentally labelled products.

Studies on appliances were the most frequent in the evidence base, and energy efficiency and energy consumption were the two most frequent environmentally sustainable information aspects tested.

The report also points at the importance of environmental information for organisational  consumers. As organisations can frequently have strong buying power, understanding the use of environmental information within their procurement strategies will be important, if they are to be persuaded to buy and use products which are less environmentally harmful, according to the report.

The report is available here