Headlines: August 24th, 2005

The government is being urged to include an ‘environmental scoring system’ for products in its proposed Environment Direct information service for consumers. The call comes from the National Consumer Council, which today publishes research showing that 8.6 million people are looking for clear advice on how they can lead a greener life.The NCC says that with energy prices rising and greater awareness of water shortages a significant number of ‘canny consumers’ are looking for ways to save money and the environment. But the NCC is warning that people are confronted with up to 500 different ideas on how to live in a more environmentally friendly way and find this all too complicated.

Today’s report, “Desperately Seeking Sustainability?” suggests a simple, environmental performance star-rating system, which would make green choices much simpler and it is calling on the Government to include this in Environment Direct.

Proposals for the information system were first set out in Defra’s five year plan “Delivering the Essentials of Life”, published in December last year. The detail of the service is now out for consultation.

The NCC wants the Government to set up an independent body, as part of Environment Direct to translate complex, scientific information into easy to understand language to help people compare products at-a-glance. It says products such as electrical goods, mobile phones, clothes and furniture could all be star-rated according to their environmental credentials. The ratings could be used in shops and available online. It believes the system would encourage competition for top sustainability ratings.

Paul Steedman, researcher at the NCC says there is a moodswing underway among consumers who are starting to feel good about recycling. With household finances under more pressure than for some years, people are returning to the idea of saving money and helping the environment.