This arose from widespread interest in ecolabelling as a market-based means to use consumer interest in the environment to encourage companies to improve their products.
The eighty-four submissions received on the 1989 discussion paper expressed almost unanimous support for the proposal. This support was based largely on the need for clear guidance about the real environmental effects of products at a time when many companies were claiming to be "environmentally friendly" without any real basis.
Submissions were largely in favour of a label with Government backing which would be a credible guide for consumers. Cabinet set the initial objectives when it agreed to the programme in 1990.
As in 1990, there is still a need for unbiased information for consumers, from an organisation which is clearly independent but has the confidence of the government and the public. The same need for unbiased information could also apply to businesses seeking to reduce environmentally damaging aspects of their activities.