The present study examines the Swedish eco-label Good Environmental Choice (Bra Miljöval); an eco-label that has attained great recognition in Sweden since its initiation in 1989. The focus of the study is on the control function behind this particular label and how the criteria writing and control mechanism are organized. Good Environmental Choice is operated by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen). One of the aspects that distinguish Good Environmental Choice from many other contemporary eco-labels, such as KRAV, FSC and Fairtrade, is that the control of compliance with the criteria is kept internally within the organization. The same person, or group of people, who have been participating in the process of writing the criteria, or standard behind the label, may carry out the control. Thus, the way Good Environmental Choice organizes its eco-label, differs from the norm that has evolved during the past decades with clearly independent regulatory functions: standard setting by one actor, certification by private companies specialized in the control function, and accreditation of certification firms by yet another actor. Given the divergent organization of this particular ecolabel, the study uses a qualitative approach and investigates how the particular way of organizing the Good Environmental Choice label has evolved, how it has been justified, and how people engaged in its organization perceive their work. In the discussion, possible explanations are proposed for the high levels of recognition and credibility of this particular eco-label. Some of the challenges of this way of organizing eco-labels are also reflected upon. At a general level, the study contributes to nuance the knowledge about the workings of certification labels and the prominent position they have today in bridging the gap of trust between consumers and (often distanciated) producers.
2014. , 32 p.