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Author Larson, Jerrod
Title Indicating impact: The design of an environmental impact labeling system for consumer goods
book jacket
Descript 376 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 71-02, Section: B, page: 1255
Adviser: David K. Farkas
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Washington, 2009
This dissertation describes the design of a point-of-purchase environmental impact labeling system for durable and semi-durable consumer goods: the Environmental Life-Cycle Rating Label (ELCRL). As part of this effort it presents a conceptualization of environmental impact offered by Life-Cycle Assessment as a means of representing impact data on the label. This dissertation also presents economic theory relevant to environmental labeling, it provides a review of existing environmental labeling efforts highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and it describes the prototype label design including a history of key design decisions that were made in its creation. Lastly, this dissertation describes an empirical study related to a phenomenon observed while designing the ELCRL: descriptor-rating symbol dissonance, a phenomenon that arises when a title phrase with a certain connotation is combined with a rating symbol set with a different connotation impeding audience interpretation. As part of this project, the study investigated consumer interpretations of various combinations of environmental phrases (e.g., "environmental impact," "environmental friendliness") and rating symbols (e.g., stars, bar graphs) to determine which were interpreted most consistently and most quickly. This study was used to better characterize descriptor-rating symbol dissonance as well as refine the ELCRL's design with an effective phrase and rating symbol combination. The study also gathered feedback on the ELCRL. Additionally, the study gathered qualitative data regarding what people associate with commonplace environmental phrases and what they believe those phrases to mean. Thus, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of how people interpret various rating systems, environmental phrases and consumer labels, and based on this work, the dissertation advances, evaluates, and refines an environmental impact label meant for durable and semi-durable consumer goods
School code: 0250
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 71-02B
Subject Education, Environmental
Engineering, Environmental
Alt Author University of Washington
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