Gathering Global Wisdom

GEN Chair calls for comments

Published On: 08-Sep-2016

The head of the world’s leading environmental labelling organisation is calling on member organisations across 51 countries and territories to add their expertise to a UNEP consumer information initiative.

Bjorn-Erik Lonn, chair of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), has been working with the United Nations Environment Programme on the development of guidelines to give better information on sustainability to consumers, businesses and governments.  The initiative is part of a ten-year, worldwide collaboration under UN auspices, and the draft of the guidelines has just been made available for consultation.

“Now that the draft has been published, I am calling on all our members to go on-line to add their own wisdom. They cover almost every business, cultural, geographic and political situation on the planet, and share an aspiration for environmental improvement through the power of genuine, informed consumer choice. Our voice is global and our ecolabelling knowledge is unrivalled.”

The consumer information programme for sustainable consumption and development has three objectives:

  • Improve availability, accessibility and quality of consumer information
  • Drive change in business and government
  • Enhance communication to drive behavioural change

Submissions on the draft guidelines are open until 14 October 2016 via a simple survey that takes around 15 minutes and is accessed via the UNEP 10YFP Draft Sustainability Guideline survey.

Further information is available from UNEP’s Paris office: More information on GEN, its membership and standards, can be found at


Under the UNEP 10YFP-programme, GEN has a co-lead in the working group on ecolabels "type 1" which has separate platforms throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, reflecting a special focus on emerging and developing economies.

Mr Lonn says awareness about sustainable use of resources is growing, but consumers at all levels need clearer, more robust environmental labelling to inform their choices.  “GEN is the gatekeeper for organisations that provide the strongest label information worldwide on more than a quarter of a million products and services. The ISO-defined “type 1” ecolabels issued by our members are actually a formidable  library of knowledge - standards, tests, expert assessments and independent verifications that make GEN uniquely valuable in this UNEP programme.”