Policy Action Framework: Improving product sustainability information in e-commerce

How can policy-makers take action to improve product sustainability information for consumers using e-commerce platforms?

By Florencia Sarmiento, Cristina Larrea, Soledad Leal, Rashmi Jose, Oliver Bealby-Wright on January 16, 2023

Shifting toward sustainable consumption is vital to addressing the world's pressing environmental issues and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The scope of the sustainable consumption challenge is daunting, with trillions of products produced in millions of locations and sold to billions of consumers. Meaningful progress will require a tectonic shift for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers.

Two trends offer an opportunity to accelerate this shift. The first is the growing number of consumers worldwide who are concerned about their environmental footprint and are willing to change their consumption habits to be more sustainable. The second is the significant growth of e-commerce, which will continue reshaping consumption worldwide after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report outlines how policy-makers can realize e-commerce’s potential to accelerate sustainable consumption by supporting clear and reliable product sustainability information for online consumers. Toward that end, this report sets out five core and three supporting actions for policy-makers who regulate product sustainability information.

The Policy Action Framework is supported by a policy and literature review entitled: E-Commerce and Product Sustainability Information: An Overview of Policies and Practices.

These publications were created as part of a project led by Consumers International and implemented in partnership with IISD. They were launched along with two additional publications from Consumers International: The State of Sustainability Information: Critical Trends, Trade-offs, and Solutions and Action Agenda: Informing Sustainable Consumer Choices in E-Commerce.

Report details

Standards and Value Chains
Responsible Business
Sustainable Development Goals
State of Sustainability Initiatives
Focus area
Consumers International
Consumers International, 2023