Disimproving the European Energy Label's value for consumers? Results from a consumer survey
The European labelling scheme was introduced to counteract the rise in energy consumption by increasing consumer awareness on real energy use. Since its introduction in the mid-nineties it has not kept up with the state of the art. After years of technological advancements and better know-how, an update of the scale became necessary because many products now have the highest energy-efficiency class. After months of negotiations, members of the European Parliament and representatives from the European Commission finally reached a consensus with a compromise proposal from the Swedish Presidency. As a basis for classification, the system would continue using letters A to G, but would expand the A categories into a maximum of three tiers (A+, A++, A+++). Environmental and consumer groups criticise this proposal and support the retention of a simple, closed A-G energy label, provided that a dynamic system would be implemented. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of the effect of two discussed labelling schemes on consumer decisions regarding televisions. The findings are based on 2,244 observations, where half of the consumers surveyed were exposed to the existing label and the other half received an otherwise identical survey, but using the new categories. The survey shows that the well-known A-G closed scheme has a greater impact on consumer decisions than an A+++ style label. The results clearly show that introducing the new label with its additional categories weakens the effect of the label, resulting in lower awareness of consumers about energy efficiency as an important attribute.
contribution to scientific community
IWOe-HSG University of St. Gallen