SOURCE: The Erb Institute

Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise logo

September 13, 2010 08:00 ET

Erb Institute's Tom Lyon to Discuss Government's Role in Ecolabels on Capitol Hill

ANN ARBOR, MI and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 13, 2010) -

WHO: Tom Lyon, Director of The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan and Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce.

WHAT: The desire among consumers to "Go Green" has grown dramatically over the last few years and as a result, thousands of products now market themselves based in part on environmental attributes. Yet many -- including Tom -- worry that the current proliferation of ecolabels is generating consumer confusion, rather than making green purchasing easier. In fact, these concerns have helped motivate the Federal Trade Commission to prepare a major revision of its Green Marketing Guidelines, which are due to be released soon.

As part of a debate on the role that government should play in addressing ecolabeling concerns, Lyon will address policymakers on Capitol Hill about how they can work in conjunction with the efforts of corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to serve all green market stakeholders. 

The material will draw on findings from the Erb Institute's recent Informing Green Markets conference. The event brought together sustainability experts from the private sector, the public sector, NGOs, and academia to explore how ecolabels will evolve in upcoming years, and the appropriate roles of government regulation, corporate environmental claims, and external evaluations by NGOs.

Key findings that Lyon will share during his presentation include:

  • Consumer demand is not the major driver in many evolving green markets
  • The precise details of and design of a product label matter greatly
  • There is little evidence to date that certification has had major direct impacts on environmental performance, but there have been important indirect impacts

WHEN: Lyon will be presenting to policymakers during a closed session on Friday, Sept. 17. He is available for media briefings to discuss the issue after 3:00pm ET that afternoon. To set up a briefing, contact:

Meghan Gardner or Katelyn Henry
Version 2.0 Communications

About the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
Created in 1996, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise is a 50-50 partnership between the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The Institute fosters professional education, public outreach and scientific scholarship supportive of the transition to sustainability -- that is, meeting the fundamental needs of a growing human population in an equitable manner within the means of nature. Utilizing a collaborative approach, the Institute helps business, government and civil society organizations to achieve meaningful progress toward sustainability. Its mission is to be a premier source of knowledge and leadership for the achievement of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable development and enterprise. For more information, visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Katelyn Henry
    Version 2.0 Communications
    Email Contact