Eco-labels: A load of nonsense

“Expecting producers in countries such as India, Bangladesh and China to adopt environment-friendly practices smacks of the white woman’s burden…”

Manjula Lal writes at the Hindu Business Line:

If extreme weather events like the Uttarakhand cloudburst are a result of West-induced climate change, is it morally right for consumers in the West to expect eco-labels for garments and textiles produced in Asia? Climate change is primarily the result of urbanisation and industrialisation. For that reason, expecting producers in countries such as India, Bangladesh and China to adopt environment-friendly practices smacks of the white woman’s burden in an age when globalisation has changed the rules, even the game, of trade across boundaries.

The desire for eco-labels may have originated as a call of conscience but has turned out to be misguided. In the last four decades, garment production has shifted to the developing world while consumption is overwhelmingly in the West. For instance, in 2000, about one-third of the worldwide sales of garments occurred in Western Europe and another third in North America.

With the end of import quotas in 2005 and the removal of tariff barriers, trade in textiles and clothing became freer. Countries such as India, keen on export-led growth, were able to earn significant foreign exchange from this sector. Countries like Norway which, in the 1970s, bought garments mostly from neighbouring countries, today import most of their needs from Asia at lower prices.

This growth has had an environmental cost — and the West is protesting too loudly about this, as if it has not benefited from cheaper imports. The textile industry is castigated as a major greenhouse gas emitter owing to its size and scope, and it is said apparels and textiles account for approximately 10 per cent of the total carbon impact.

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7 thoughts on “Eco-labels: A load of nonsense”

  1. Both sides of the argument are looking at slices of the situation. Looking at the situation in total, it is shear genius. International corporations are breaking the government and unions backs via moving industrial operations away from their traditional locations in the west with the support of social progressives and the unions. Companies that resist will drown in carbon taxes and we create a new commodity to be traded which costs nothing to produce. By the time our leaders are done saving our children, we will no longer be able to afford to raise them.

  2. Fair enough. There is also a market for tattoos, pierced noses and silicone implants. There is one subtle problem with that. I can no longer find a mate. The “market” is saturated with repulsive stuff.

    More pertinently, it is getting more difficult to find food that isn’t “organic”, “fair-trade” or whatever else it is that the market pretends to want. When I show up at my local grocer’s before closing, I can’t even buy whole milk. Skimmed milk is all that’s left at the end of the day. Why is that so? Why are they never sold out on skimmed milk and fat-free yoghurt?

  3. Following the labeling fad is a sure sign of capitalism. You want the eco label and are willing to pay more for it? Sure, we got one of those. This is about the same as paying more for organic food or brown eggs. If there is a market, someone will fill it.

  4. Parasites. They live off of a civilization they contribute nothing to only for the purpose of destroying it.

  5. Eco “everything” is code for phoney parasitic people extorting money from real business.

    Eco “everything” is authorization to greenfleece the public at large.

    Eco “everything” claims made by business are the trade off business gets for caving into greenmail pressure.

    Greenmail is more precious than blackmail. “Eco friendly” products means a greenfleecing scumbag somewhere has been paid off.

    You cannot do business nowadays without handing over green envelopes, a bigger and more corrupt version of the brown envelope.

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