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Greenwashing or consumer power? Eco-labels and why we need them

With globalisation of trade in consumer products and commodities since the nineteen eighties, eco-labels have grown into an established method of leveraging the market to drive sustainability.

Today, there are hundreds of more or less trustworthy eco-labels certifying everything from toilet paper to biofuel. European consumers in particular have picked up eco-labels to assist them in making sustainable choices, when they shop for cocoa, wood furniture or other products derived from forestry, agriculture or other forms of land-use.

The generic term ‘eco-label’ originates from the early days of eco-label standards, which primarily focused on ecology, environmental issues and health. Many of those labels remain, but today most of us are aware that other issues may often be associated with the products we consume.

To produce vegetables without health-damaging pesticides makes a lot of sense - but is the produce really sustainable, when the farm workers have not been paid a decent living wage?
We believe it is not.



Preferred by Nature favours a holistic approach: Developed by our field auditors and sustainability experts over nearly a decade, the certification scheme behind our Hummingbird Seal is perhaps the most comprehensive on the market, including indicators for biodiversity, and social and economic issues.

By addressing sustainable challenges in the field and in the supply chains, eco-labels can improve the likelihood that products and commodities have a positive impact on people, nature and climate.

Choose the hummingbird.

Facts about Eco-labels

  • There are currently 465 eco-labels worldwide, according to the Eco-Label Index, 231 are European.


  • Eco-labels are based on assurance; a system of indicators that producers have to adopt to make “claims” about their products.


  • Products with eco-labels are sold at a higher price - with a premium - to cover the use of more sustainable production standards.


  • Eco-labels are sometimes criticised for helping businesses to ‘greenwash’ unsustainable products. However, they are voluntary systems and based on the goodwill of businesses wishing to invest in them. Therefore, no eco-label can be a guarantee - only an indicator of goodwill, which may not always be there. 
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Meet the Preferred by Nature Seal

The Preferred by Nature Seal is your gateway to showcasing your organisation’s commitment to sustainable practices. It signifies that your products support farm or forest management with respect for people, nature and climate. Unlock the Seal's potential. 


Do you want to support our efforts to create a better world?

Small steps lead to a big change and all contributions are valuable.

What we do

Choose the hummingbird

At Preferred by Nature, we work with smallholders, farmers and foresters to restore ecosystems, and build transparent supply chains. 

Together, let's create a sustainable future for all.

We work with businesses on all aspects of their sustainability journey


Strengthen your organisation’s commitment to sustainability, showcasing impactful business transformations.

Tailored services

With over 30 years of experience in sustainability, our experts can support you in enhancing your sustainability journey.

Expert courses

Engage in impactful training experiences through our programmes, project-specific sessions, or bespoke courses upon request.

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