Food and electronics are two product categories that have seen a particularly large number of product eco-labels and sustainability certifications emerge. From ENERGY STAR and USDA Organic to EPEAT and Bird Friendly Coffee, environmental information about the food we eat and the electronics we us is ubiquitous. We are therefore taking a close look at the broader “ecosystem” of these initiatives, and comparing how it has evolved over the last 5-10 years. We are analyzing the websites of a broad range of these programs, and assessing how the claims they make about themselves have changed over time. We are using a coding system developed by Dr. Bullock and the qualitative coding software MaxQDA to code the text from these websites, and will explore how their claims about their methods, credibility, organizational affiliations, and impact are different from 2009, when these same websites were last coded using the same coding system. We look forward to determining whether the transparency and trustworthiness of these sites have increased or decreased over this time period.
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