Discussion Paper

Eco-Labeling and the Price Premium

Dec 1, 1999 | Stephen K. Swallow, Roger A. Sedjo


International environmental and government organizations propose eco-labeling as a market incentive to cause industry to operate in an ecologically sustainable and biodiversity-friendly manner. A microeconomic analysis questions whether eco-labeling will cause producer profits in a competitive industry to decline, even under a voluntary system, and whether eco-labeling will necessarily generate different prices for labeled and unlabeled product. Using wood product as an example, results identify conditions that may exist when firms lose profits, even under a voluntary system, and where existing production constraints may lead to a single price, regardless of labeling.