#nofilter: Alko's Eko

The symbol for organic products has existed in Alko’s product information already since 2007. In past few years the weight of environmental issues in any purchases has grown. Simultaneously, customers have missed even more diverse environmental information to support their purchase choices. Drinks producers, on the other hand, have missed a channel via which Alko’s customers could be receive information about their sustainability in an easy manner.

Environmental certificates of consumer goods will be more and more relevant choice criteria in the future; according to some estimates they will even become parallel to product brands in consumers’ perceptions. By the broadened product eco information we in Alko want to simplify how our customer can find products into which the producer has invested for sustainable development. For example, we have actually had lighter glass wine bottles in the assortment since 2013 but before now we have not had a way to help our customers to find them. Similarly, products that have earned an eco certification in their country of origin have been in the assortment for years. Marking the products that are suitable for vegans has been actively requested for and now we have implemented it. In the beginning of our “Eko” project we asked our customer panel’s feedback and opinions about our plans for these product markings and the symbols that were drafted for them. That input was used to finalize the symbols and also to develop a new product search filter for Alko’s webstore. Now, eco attributes can be used in the webstore more effectively and easily than the previous two attributes for organic and biodynamic. The eco product information being launched now in October can also be flexibly expanded. In the future there will likely be still more environmental product information that our customers would think useful.

When browsing the “Eko” product information it is good to keep in mind that they do not tell –nor were they intended to tell – about the environmental footprint of product categories or individual products or about any absolute environmental impacts. Neither the order in which the “Eko” information and symbols are listed in Alko’s store communications and other media is an order of importance or ranking, but the basis is an evaluation of relevance and customer’s need in each given context. Bringing the “Eko” product information into the stores doesn’t as such change the eco-friendliness of our store chain. Yet, what kind of products we have in our assortment and how the interest and demand of our customers evolves does have an effect in our overall environmental impact.

Does an eco symbol have an effect on your choice between otherwise similar products? You are welcome to join discussion in Alko’s Twitter @Alko_Sustain.