Eco labeled products are those items labeled voluntary by manufactures, in order to give customers the guidance or instruction of using the product. It is one way of assuring that the product has met the standard criteria. Eco-labeling system is done to both food products such as (maize floor, baked bread), food spices such as( Royco, garlic powder, tomato toss), drinks such as (Juice, bear ,soda, ) and in other consumer products such as electronics e.g. (computers, television, phone, microwaves and photocopier machines), clothes, house fittings and fixtures e.g. (roof fun, sofa sets, tables) vehicles and pesticides (Clegg, 2009). The main aim of product eco-labeling is to maintain good relationship with consumers, good reputation and to sustain good environment conditions. Good numbers of eco-labeling system have been introduced nationally in order to satisfy the needs of consumers by assuring the present of the standardized products. (Clegg, 2009).
Focusing on electronics products, we find that there is a need for the third party to verify that the products have met the specified criteria. Third parties includes: government, non government organizations and privates organizations that have initiated eco-labeling programs which check manufactured products. Electronics products that require eco labeling include: computers, copiers, facsimiles, mobile phones, print cartridges and printers.
LG Electronics Company is among those who have initiated ecolabeling programs and which have own a certificate of environmental labeling system. This company is run by the government to enhance the environmental safety to all electronic product produced to its potential consumers. It gives guidelines to customers through labeling their products so that the consumers to be aware of the environmental safety aspect of LG electronics products. (Clegg, 2009).
LG Company developed its Environmental self declaration that implemented their own eco mark symbol and again established their own environmental standards which replicated overseas environmental laws and domestic regulation as well as the needs of the customers for eco-healthy products (Figure 1 and Figure 2). LGE Eco-mark is awarded to the products selected to disclose the part of LG products of their green marketing strategies. (Clegg, 2009).The LG eco-labeling includes: the weight of the products, recyclability chances, energy consumption of electronics products, the packaging materials i.e. the content used to pack the products and customer precaution. The Customer precautions are the guides that worn the consumer about the possibility risk that might happen if the product is improperly used. The risks range from minor injuries, severe injuries, and heavy cost incurred to even death of a person.
The company also has the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) to enable them evaluate, compare and chose the desktop computers and monitors that are based on the LG environmental attributes. It includes three tiers that show environmental performance i.e. Gold, Bronze and silver. Another example of eco-labeling company is Europe Ecolabeling (EU) which is a scheme run by the commission of the Europe and is a designated knowledgeable body nationally.
Eco labeling bodies guarantee the safe environment and good health in the future to all consumers by assuring them that the environmental issues and health issues have been taken into account when releasing the product into the market. The scheme ensures that the standardized environmental condition, safety and ecological criteria have been fulfilled. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about the emission of carbon dioxide that pollutes the air leading to global worming which results to so many health issues and negative environmental impacts such as drought.
Product guidelines are provided by the LG Electronics bodies that outline the nature of the products in terms of their physical, chemical and biological characteristics to enhance customer’s clear understanding of their products. They state out about the packaging material used, harmful chemicals and hazardous effluents that might arise if the electronic product is improperly used. Therefore, they proved clear, simple and relevant instructions that help the consumer to control the named above consequences. (Clegg, 2009).
Again customers are guaranteed that the advertised product is of the high quality that would last for long fulfilling their desires and wants. Lifespan of the electronics product is well described to enlighten the consumers how long he is supposed to use the product. Warrant is also guaranteed to all electronic users for a specified period of time. Again, the eco-labeling bodies provide installation service to their customers. For example, television connection services are provided to the specific customer who needs the seller’s help. Also repair services are provided to fault electronic products bought by the customers to enable them to enjoy the product for a bit longer. (Tokar, 1997).
Eco-labeling bodies provide source and manufacturing guarantee that indicate the compliance of environmental standardized criteria and product safety. It assures the presence of healthy environment condition during the extraction of electronic raw materials and during the processing procedure. It ensures that the surrounding environment remains unpolluted so as to avoid environmental complication that may arise as a result of the air pollution, land pollution and water pollution. Some negative consequences of the environmental pollution are the transmission of infectious diseases such as bacillary dysentery and intestinal dysentery.
LG Electronics eco-labeling bodies proved the transparency guarantee and independent management guarantee. It also enhances progressed investment company system where competent and skilled managers are able to spotlight exclusively on that electronic business. This is one way of promoting collaborative and participatory environment leading to the efficient and effective performance thus creating good reputation of the product worldwide. Again it facilitates to clear understating among the electronics staff members about the content and quality of the electronic products. (Tokar, 1997).
Eco-labeling is very much useful to the consumers because it raises their awareness about the electronic products. They get to understand clearly how the product is supposed to be used in order to enhance the environmental safety. They are guided on ways to minimize wastage of energy by adapting the efficient and effective behaviors of handling, implementing and using electronic products.
Again, eco-mark shows a clear detail about the lifespan of the electronic product and their guaranteed time in case of any electronic problems. Proper instructions are given of claiming new electronic product in case of any fault of the purchased electronic product if it is still within the warranted duration. Yet again, consumers get clear description of the electronic products in terms of their weights, packaging material i.e. whether the packaging materials can be re-used again or can be recycled, Therefore, eco-labeling is very significant and it should be always conducted. In fact, more electronic details should be provided to the consumers in order to promote good environmental performance and environmental safety. (Tokar, 1997).
Finally, consumer awareness is promoted; making them wise and competent to know which product in the market is environmentally friendly and safe in human life. They end up becoming more kin and attentive about the green wash advertisement made that mislead customers leading to environmental issues and health problem (Weil, 1996). Therefore, eco-labeling should keep up with this eco-making scheme, so as to sustain the healthy environment suitable for all living organism. (Johnson, 2003).
Green washing advertisement of products gives false information concerning the products just to make them appear environmentally friendly. These products do not comply with the standardized criteria, but the information given states so just to mislead the consumers. These acts began long time ago – more than one hundred years ago – which has lead to great environmental impact that interfered with human safety and health issues.
Product advertisement is considered to be a green wash if it gives wrong information that misleads the customer about the specific product in the market. For example, it can give the low weighted product which is below the standardized weight level required, simply to make a lot of surplus at the expenses of the customers who buy the product. In their advert they mention the required weight figure but in the real sense, it is just a big lie. (Black, 2008).
Again an advert may describe the product to be less harmful to the environment, less toxic and non hazardous to the users, whereas it is just the opposite of what the product is. Green wash companies do so to attract many potential customers who later suffer from the misleading information. It is very hard to recognize and identify the green wash product, but it can be done by the competent bodies who give the guarantee whether the product is environmentally friendly or harmful to all living organisms. Don’t Be Fooled is one of the scheme used to verify the manufacture product to see whether it complies with the required environmental criteria. (Johnson, 2003).
Basing on corn product, we find that some of the corn growers give misleading information about the corn product which results to environmentally negative impact and health issues. The farmers claim that their products are environmentally friendly and safe for the human consumptions, but in real case they are not, because mostly they use the genetic engineering techniques making the products unsuitable for the consumption. Again, the genetic techniques used interfere with the environment, whereby greenhouse gases are released to the atmosphere resulting in drought, famine, infectious disease and decrease biodiversity worldwide.
Pollution of the environment has been a major problem caused by the corn growers. They use fertilizers in order to boost the corn productivity, but on the other hand, pollute the water bodies through the run off that washes these chemicals to the lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. Again, pesticides used to splay the crops do pollute the environment leading to the global warming and respiratory diseases to people around that region. (Johnson, 2003). Global warming leads to so many diseases such as a skin cancer, especially to albinism and other environmental impacts such as drought. When the world is embraced with the drought, less food is produced resulting in the food crisis because of the high level of demanded limited products. As a result, so many people die out of the starvation. Therefore, there is need to have the Environmental Protective Agency who prevent and control water pollution, land pollution and air pollution through formulation, implementation and enforcement of environmental policies that must be observed by everybody including corn growers. (Black,2008).
Corn growers have also destroyed the wildlife habitat with an aim of extending the corn growing land. National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has reported that thousands of acres of wildlife habitats had been converted to corn production firm, yet again; the native grassland were being converted into the corn cropland at a startling rate (David, 2002). These act results to diminished biodiversity worldwide leaving the world unattractive and unpleasant to live in. Again, oxygen air production is reduced whereas carbon dioxide is increased to the environment leading to high temparatures and crop withering.
Although some of the green wash advertisements go through, some do not go unnoticed, especially by the established bodies that have specialized in verifying information broadcasted. For example, in the past year decades, assigned watchdog group had discovered the top ten companies that has given the most misleading information about their products claiming that is very beneficial to consumers and environmentally friendly . (Black,2008). These watchdog groups came up with the report known as “Don’t Be Fooled” just to sensitize the potential customer about the present of green wash advertisement of the products. Don’t Be Fooled report accuses misleading companies for their wrong information that misleading customers, polluting the environment and producing genetic modified foods that are very harmful to human being when ingested. (Johnson,2003).
Lack of the consumer awareness about the presence of green wash advertisement has led to the high level of green wash products to the market. This is because the government has not taken the necessary precaution to minimize the existence of green wash company through the closed supervision and advertisement followed up to verify the accuracy, reliability and transparency of broadcasted information. Again the government fails to educate the civil society about the required standards of any kind of products in terms of weight, quality, packaging material information and the safety of each product. (Black,2008).
Green wash advertisement and products continue to be successful due to the lack of well established competent, committed and skilled bodies that would help to check whether the manufactured product have met the required standards or have comply with the standardized criteria of processing the products. Yet again, they will ensure that the information disseminated about the product potrays the truth of the product concerned. Again, they will ensure the future label guarantee that promotes safe development for all living things.
Consequently, Eco-labeling is significant because it gives guidance to customers on how to use the manufacturing product in the most environmentally friendly manner (Figure 4) (Figure 3). Again, it enables them to choose product that complies with environmentally standardized condition or has fulfilled the required criteria (Greer & Kenny, 1996). On the other hand, green wash products should be diminished completely through the help of the established National Environmental Agencies in order to promote healthy and desirable environment that is suitable for all living organisms in the world (Black,2008).