You Can’t Always Judge Something By Its Label

Many of us are quick to judge, whether that be products or people. This week has helped me learn that that is not always good because in both cases, our labels or perceptions of labels are off. According to Social and Eco-labeling of Textile and Clothing Goods as Means of Communication and Product Differentiation, there are two factors that determine the success of labeling systems. Those factors are consumer’s ability to understand the message and the business community’s willingness to accept the systems. In other words, do regular consumers understand what the labels are saying, and is the industry willing to agree upon a common standard for labeling.
Often times, labels are more confusing than they’re worth. The article explains four ways to make labels more understandable and trustworthy. First of all, we need to have transparent certification systems. We also need to make existing labeling systems more harmonious; there should not be as much variability between them. In addition to this, we need to minimize the diversity of our labeling. Lastly, there must be a new approach to labeling communication, as most everyday consumers cannot understand the current labeling.
The article does a good job of explaining why labels are often confusing. I feel as though labels are few and far between so, because we don’t often see them, we have a hard time knowing what they mean. I think that in order to combat this and make labeling more universal, we need to look at several key issues. First of all, a product that “meets standards” such as a LEED certified building, is the exception. We need to form a system where these products are the standard; everyone should be producing products that meet sustainability requirements. Once this becomes the standard, certifications will not be as expensive and companies can be on more of a level ground. This would help to systemize all labeling. I know that it is a long shot, but if sustainability is truly important to our country, we need to implement organizations like the USDA to make all sustainability labeling requirements. This would make it so much easier on consumers to trust the labeling.

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