The rise of certification, the current state of the playing field for NTFP certification programmes and future prospects by Jamison B Ervin and
As early as 1906, with the Food and Drug Act, labelling has been an important quality assurance tool for consumers (Hadden, 1986). Since then, the notion of quality, first used to describe food purity, has greatly expanded to cover health, nutrition, safety and social and environmental responsibility. Such programmes include dolphin-safe tuna, kosher-certified foods, sweatshop-free clothing, bird-friendly coffee, fairtrade coffee, environmentally safe electricity and cruelty-free cosmetics. Such labels empower consumers to voice their concerns directly through their purchases, instead of indirectly through their votes. While over half of all Americans consider the environmental attributes of a product (EPA, 1993), savvy consumer-citizens are
increasingly distrustful of industry claims and corporate green-washing and have begun seeking out third-party assurances regarding the products they purchase.