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Informing Green Markets: What Makes a Difference and Why?

June 2-4, 2011  (Deadline for Registration: 5/27/11)

Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Despite rapidly growing interest in the use of ecolabels, standards and certifications, both theoretical understanding and empirical evidence are insufficient to assess the potential benefits and risks of these systems and guide design, purchase and policy decisions.  How can program design assure positive social and environmental outcomes and motivate continuing improvements?  How do private initiatives interact with government regulations and voluntary programs?  When is label competition good or bad for social and environmental performance? 

More research is badly needed.

The Erb Institute is collaborating with The Sustainability Consortium to organize this second annual workshop, a cross-sectoral dialogue among the private sector, the public sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academia.  Key themes this year are: 1) how green markets are likely to evolve, and 2) the relationships between government regulation, NGO certification, and corporate environmental claims.

We invite paper submissions:
Using “ecolabel” to refer broadly to labels, standards and certification systems, we invite papers (from all disciplines and research styles) which address the following:

--How does the design of an ecolabel affect producer and consumer behavior?

--To what extent do consumers matter for ecolabel performance?

--Do ecolabels complement, substitute for or undermine government regulation?

--Why do producers participate in ecolabel programs and what are the relative strengths of their motivations?

--What – if anything – should be done about ecolabel proliferation?

--Do single-issue labels shift burdens to other environmental or social impacts?

--How can ecolabels best encourage innovation?

--In which product categories do ecolabels have the greatest impact?

-- What is the role of brands and retail outlets, versus third-part certifiers, in shaping purchase decisions?

 --How can information be shared among actors in a supply chain to achieve social or environmental objectives without creating anticompetitive effects?

Please submit completed papers by March 25, 2011, (early drafts are acceptable) by going to and following the instructions there.

Registration will open on March 28, 2011 and will Close on May 27, 2011. Please register here:

Questions may be addressed to conference coordinators at or conference organizer Thomas P. Lyon at Accepted papers will be announced by April 8, 2011.



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