What Product Certifications Actually Mean

Thinking of earning a Fairtrade label? How about Canada Organic or Women Owned? Here’s how do-gooder certifications stack up

Written by Steve Brearton

The 13th-century English parliament introduced the very first product labelling regime, demanding bakers brand their loaves with an identifying mark. Knowing where your bread came from was a matter of public safety.

But in the past decade, there has been an explosion of labelling systems designed to identify the social good of products, such as Walmart’s recent announcement it would start identifying “women made” goods from female-owned businesses.

While there are plenty of designations—450 eco-labels alone—only some actually help sales. Here, we look at do-gooder labels through the years—those that inspire consumers, and those that don’t.

Are any of your products certified with these (or other) labels? Have you considered applying for a designation? Why or why not? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

This article is from the PROFIT section of the December 2014 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com

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