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Eco-labelling and the Trade-Environment Debate


  • Daniel Melser
  • Peter E. Robertson


In this paper we consider the effectiveness of eco-labels as a substitute for alternative, but trade-restrictive, environmental policies. Specifically, while there are concerns that eco-labelling requirements increase the cost of international trade, due to their potential for misuse as technical trade barriers, little attention has been given to the environmental benefits of eco-labelling. We show that incentive problems inherent in eco-labelling policies make it a very weak tool of environmental policy. Despite this, we argue that eco-labelling schemes may remain popular, owing to the lack of alternative WTO compliant environmental policies. We also use this framework to consider the economic and political conflicts facing the EU with regard to its policies on genetically modified organisms. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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  • Daniel Melser & Peter E. Robertson, 2005. "Eco-labelling and the Trade-Environment Debate," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 49-62, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:28:y:2005:i:1:p:49-62

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. José-Antonio Monteiro, 2010. "Eco-label Adoption in an Interdependent World," IRENE Working Papers 10-01, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Prosperi, Maurizio & Viscecchia, Rosaria, 2007. "Indirect Effects of Eco-labelling of agricultural products on Natural Resources," 105th Seminar, March 8-10, 2007, Bologna, Italy 7868, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Peter E. Robertson, 2007. "Global Resources and Eco-labels: a Neutrality Result," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 735-743, September.

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