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Revision as of 23:06, 27 July 2009 by Spiritquest (talk | contribs) (→‎Abstract: - ideas on where the URL should point.)
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It's difficult to authenticate eco-friendly goods and services online.

  • The proposed solution below is not a solution to the above problem. The proposed solution offers a mechanism by which a service can claim an eco-friendly label, but no way of authenticating that claim.

Proposed Solution

We are interested in establishing "rel-ecolabel" as a way of identifying ecolabelled (and thus eco-friendly) items (where item = ecolabel certified unit including products, services, companies, land, or any other thing that can be certified eco-friendly) on the World Wide Web.

Definition of an ecolabel:


Ecolabelled products appear on retailer and producer sites all over the web. There is currently no way of identifying them. Several examples are presented below:

URL: SCHEMA: Oregon Tilth ecolabel:

URL: SCHEMA: FSC ecolabel:

URL: SCHEMA: Energy star ecolabel:

Similar Microformats

rel-license: indicates a "that the destination of that hyperlink is a license for the current page." whereas rel-ecolabel would indicate that the destination of that hyperlink is an ecolabel for a product, company or service listed on the page.

In this case I am uncertain if rel-license defines an authoritative source for license information. The difference with rel-ecolabel is that we would define an authoritative source at We'd do this because there are many ecolabels 300+ and very few display their information in a standardised way. That being said, we're not beholden to this approach.


This would need to have the option / ability to point to the issuing labels site as well. Or if want to become the source, it should have a simple an quick method of adding labels into the system that aren't listed .. eg. a lot of UK based certified labels are currently not on the site. Would there be a conflict if I wanted to point the URL at the label associations website instead of (asked for discussion purposes)

Label example: Vegan Society Trademark:

Ecolabel Schema

ecolabel entry @ eg:

ecolabel entry @ eg:

ecolabel ISO types eg:



Rel-Ecolabel is a simple, open, format for indicating ecolabelled items which is embedable in HTML or XHTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML. Rel-Ecolabel is one of several microformat open standards. Specification 2008-05-12


Jacob Malthouse (, formerly of ICANN (


Rel-Ecolabel is one of several MicroFormats. By adding rel="ecolabel" to a hyperlink, a page indicates that the destination of that hyperlink is the ecolabel for an ecolabelled item listed on the current page. E.g. with the following hyperlink:

<a href="" rel="license">ecologo</a>

NOTE: in the highlighted portion - is this where we would put an ecolabel code or readable URL for entry?

the author indicates that the product, company, or services has obtained an "ecologo" certification.

--Spiritquest 23:06, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

It seems that it might work well with being linked to an hproduct / hCard - to identify a manufacturer - I've yet to explore hproduct in detail.

I don't know that pointing the URL of the ecolabel directly to would work.

If I ran a product site with ecolabelled products, I would want to point to either a source of information on the label internally within the site, or have it point to a list of all data tagged with similar ecolables.

<a href="" rel="license">ecologo</a>

The destination would then show all ecologo tagged products within the catalogue of

maybe microformat parsing tools could be created to send users or pull information from site as a source of authoritative info and background on the label.

rel-tag as an example can point to an internal site structure using a taxonomy but can also use microformat tools to extend data searches to sites like technorati.

Multiple Licenses

Multiple such rel="ecolabel" hyperlinks indicate that multiple items on the page are available under any of the referred licenses. E.g. the following hyperlinks could be used to declare that a page is available under either an ecologo or a certified carbon free ecolabel:

<a href="" rel="ecolabel">ecologo</a> <a href="" rel="ecolabel">certified-carbon-free</a>

XMDP profile

unknown/in development



List of Ecolabels see also: about


See Also


For contrast, the above rel=ecolabel proposal can already be implemented in RDFa using Dublin Core very easily:

 This product conforms to <a about="#product"
 xmlns:dc="" rel="dc:conformsTo"

RDFa also allows these claims to be verified by the authority being linked to (in the case above by simply providing an RDFa link back from to our product page and labelling it with rev="dc:conformsTo".

Re-using dc:conformsTo is also better than minting a new rel term. dc:conformsTo can be used in a wider set of situations that "ecolabel" in that it can be used to indicate non-ecological conformance to standards too. e.g. a web page can conform to HTML 4.01 Strict, or software could conform to "Certified for Windows Vista" or a toy could conform to a particular child safety standard.

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