IGD to develop new environment labelling scheme

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The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) on Thursday (14) has announced a major effort to develop an environmental labelling scheme to provide consistent and transparent information to the buyers.

The aim is to provide consistent and transparent information for customers, so they can make informed choices at point of sale. 

As per the announcement by IGD, it intends to build on its experience with advice on nutritional labelling to help develop a good environmental labelling system.

According to IGD shopper insight, around eight in 10 shoppers now know that colour coding on-pack can be used to compare products or as a shortcut to make healthier choices, while the same amount again are able to correctly interpret front-of-pack nutrition labels.

To deliver its environment labelling workstream, IGD has commissioned sustainability experts Anthesis to develop a recommended industry framework. Product footprinting experts from ERM will also provide support, while IGD will also seek input where relevant from other experts across academia, NGOs and government. 

 Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD, said that with the support of a steering group of senior industry representatives, IGD has set out to develop a recommended strategic framework for environmental labelling in the UK by the end of 2021. 

“We recognise there is a growing appetite from all parts of the food system to measure and communicate the environmental impact of individual products, to drive positive change in consumption habits,” Barratt said.

“We also know there is a real desire for collaboration, to champion a science-based approach to environment labelling supported by robust consumer insights.” 

Barratt added that without a coordinated approach from the whole UK food sector, “we risk confusing consumers and undermining the credibility of any labels that are being trialled”.

She further added that environment labelling is a very complex area, with many unanswered questions in terms of data accessibility, governance, relevant impact indicators and scoring methodology, as well as the most effective way to visualise the information on-pack.