Study for the European CommissionImpact assessment on the simplification of chemical labels and use of e-labels

Project period: 
December 2020 – March 2022

European Commission – DG Grow

Project partner:
VVA, Ecorys

Product labels on chemicals such as detergents, paints, glues or disinfectants carry important information for users. They provide hazard and safety information, ingredients lists and safe use instructions for protecting human health and the environment.

Recent studies concluded that at present, chemical labels are overloaded with information and that the information shown is poorly understood by users. 

As a result, the present study shall assess how chemical labels could be simplified and whether some information could be moved online through e-labelling solutions such as QR or barcodes. To this end, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow) awarded the consortium formed of VVA, Ecorys and ConPolicy to conduct this impact assessment study.

The 15-month study uses a multi-method approach formed of a legal review, desk research, expert interviewsstakeholder consultations, a public consultation and an online behavioral experiment with supporting survey. The study shall in particular assess the current regulatory framework formed by the Classification Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP) and the Detergents Regulation and provide insights on how the regulation could be simplified and improved to perform better for consumers, industrial workers and professional users.

The pan-European experiment and survey will be designed by ConPolicy. It will be conducted with a representative sample of over 4,000 consumers of chemical products in Germany, France, Romania and Greece. VVA will later adapt the consumer research to collect information on how industrial workers and professional users perceive and understand the labels.

ConPolicy will specifically elicit how consumers understand and appreciate information provided on labels and how labels could be improved. The experiment will also measure how different label format impact consumers’ product choices. ConPolicy will use behavioral insights to understand what currently hinders an effective processing of the information provided on labels to design targeted interventions to improve the labels. These interventions might make use of behavioral nudges and could for example streamline, add, remove or frame information. 

Following the data collection, VVA and ConPolicy will derive different policy options for changing the current regulatory framework and assess the likely environmental, social and economic impacts. 

Project of

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-13

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-17