Multidimensional Labelling: Closing the Sustainability Information Gap between Producers, Consumers and Sustainability Science in the Food Sector
Product labels are designed to diminish producer–consumer information asymmetry, which represents a typical information gap. However, sustainability science, in its broadest sense, is another 'agent' for achieving sustainable development, while producer–science and consumer–science information gaps can also be identified. As a step towards closing these gaps, we propose a multidimensional form of eco-labelling in the food sector: a well-chosen system of labels that refer to the possible trade-offs known to sustainability science. The dimensions proposed in our model reflect types of negative environmental effects: the entities harmfully affected by production may be (1) other, non-human species (OTHER; 0th party), (2) other people thousands of miles away in space (FARTHER; 1st party), (3) consumers themselves in the present (HERE; 2nd party), or (4) other people later in time (LATER; 3rd party). We apply this framework to ethical labelling in the food sector.