In Germany, there is a confusing plethora of more than 1,000 product labels referring to health, sustainability, regionality, environmental protection, fair trade or similar aspects. In everyday practice, the orientation of consumers towards sustainability criteria implies a major information effort.
An overall sustainability label shall provide consumers with reliable assistance in decision-making at the point of sale regarding the selection of sustainable products (and services) by communicating their sustainability characteristics in a credible, quick and understandable manner. Such a label could both strengthen consumer protection and promote sustainability of consumption and production. The question of whether a sustainability label is able to show these intended effects depends on all market players involved. Acceptance by producers and consumers’ confidence are indispensable prerequisites. However, it is a very special thematic, methodical and institutional challenge to integrate the complex concept of sustainability into a valid and transparent process of sustainability assessment and to implement a viable organizational model for an overall sustainability label.