Monday, August 20, 2007

Life Story Labeling

According to the June Trendwatching report, the trend of labeling a product with some form of a narrative about the product from birth to shelf is broadening. UK Supermarket, Tesco, is working to develop a carbon footprint measuring system for all of its 70,000 products. Once a system is determined the company will then have to find an easily recognizable method of labeling products with carbon footprint information to allow comparison by consumers. Who are the leaders? Shoe-maker Timberland started placing “nutritional labels” on every shoe it sells last year in an effort to inform the consumer of where and how the shoe was manufactured and its impact on the environment. To take it one step further (pardon the pun, the inside of the box has the message “what kind of footprint will you leave?”

Dole Organic has taken some real innovative steps in this type of labeling by allowing consumers to see pictures and documentation of the farm where the bananas were harvested. The picture above is from the Don Pedro Farm in Colombia. Check it out go to and type in farm code 776 and you can see the Don Pedro Farm. The site includes the farms USDA – NOP Organic and ECC Organic Certifications. There is also a link to check out the farm on Google Earth. Pretty cool. Legitimacy built by transparency. Kudos to Dole for this comprehensive and massive effort to bring the consumer into the brand, particularly with a product that some argue is threatened with commoditization. I think we can only expect the demand from consumers for CSR and more from their purchases than just the product itself will only increase.

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