Annual report of the Ecological Union - 2022
The Ecological Union is one of the leading Russian non-commercial organizations in environmental protection. Itpresented a public annual report on its activities in 2022.
The experts of the Ecological Union believe one of the main challenges for engaging people in responsible consumption is greenwashing. Аccording to GWI data false eco-statements repel 40% of consumers.
Thanks to a scientific approach and transparency, eco-certification has become a flagship in the fight against greenwashing. Today an increasing number of countries are implementing ecolabels for fair competition and sustainable development goals: in the European Union - EU Ecolabel, in Brazil - ABNT, in China - China Ecolabel, in India - GreenPro. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have also introduced their own ecolabels.
The annual report of the Ecological Union contains initiatives that highlight the value of the Russian ecolabel The Vitality Leaf as a tool for sustainable production and consumption and ecolabeled products. These initiatives also help consumers make informed choices and protect society from greenwashing.
The highlights of some projects in the report:
- To increase the value of eco-labeling and ecolabeled products, the Ecological Union conducted a new study on the ecolabeling effectiveness, comparing regular products with those bearing ecolabels. For example, using laundry detergent with The Vitality Leaf ecolabel alone prevented 129 tons of phosphates, substances that cause water bloom and the death of water bodies, from entering the environment in just one year. This amount would have been enough to trigger eutrophication in the Taymyr Lake, the fourth largest lake in Russia, with water reserves estimated at 12.8 billion cubic meters.
- To protect against greenwashing and instill confidence in eco-friendly choices, the ecologists have joined forces with stores and other partners to maintain interest in eco-consumption in the new economic realities. For instance, Lenta. Online has designated eco-products with special ‘The Leaf of Life' stickers. With the support of the retail chain of stores Magnit exclusive brand Gardenica, and the other companies participation, customers have participated in a series of educational events. Owners of the Vitality Leaf have allocated approximately 6.5 million rubles towards projects aimed at developing ecolabeling and eco-education programs in Russia.
- To support the development of the eco-product niche. In 2022, more than 20 federal and regional brands continued to create their eco-friendly product lines featuring the Vitality Leaf. The Ecological Union offered various support programs to assist responsible manufacturers. This non-profit organization signed an agreement for mutual recognition of ecolabels — the Vitality Leaf and the Brazilian certification system ABNT. Fertilizers by 'PhosAgro' were honored with the Brazilian eco-label under this scheme. Additionally, the Ecological Union became a partner of the Russian Export Center.
‘We relied on our partners to increase the number of customers paying attention to eco-labels and maintain environmental agenda in the market. There was support from the retail sector, enabling us to achieve significant international agreements and boost companies' motivation to create eco-products despite market turbulence’, — noted Julia Gracheva, the Director of the Ecological Union.