Visiting Fellow Dr Balzarova Delivers Seminar on Eco-Label Strategies
20/09/2017¯The New Zealand Centre at Peking University hosted Dr Michaela Balzarova as a Visiting Fellow from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. During her visit, Dr Balzarova presented a seminar, entitled ‘Choosing the Right Eco-Label for your Product.’
Dr Michaela Balzarova from the School of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, the University of Canterbury, New Zealand visited Peking University as a Visiting Fellow of The New Zealand Centre at Peking University from the 15th to the 25th of September. Her department host was Professor Shiqiu Zhang, Director of the Environmental and Economic Research Institute, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University and she delivered a talk that coincided with Professor Zhang’s seminar on environmental decision-making. In her talk, “Choosing the Right Eco-Label for your Product”, Dr Balzarova discussed her research on the rapidly expanding landscape of eco-labelling and the challenges of navigating their intricacies for businessmen and businesswomen.
Dr Balzarova introduced the landscape of eco-labels available and their rapid proliferation, to a current figure of 465 varieties across 199 countries. She explained how this variety has generated challenges for both consumers and businesses when deciding which labels to use and trust. This persists even in niche fields such as in the prevention of overfishing, with more than 10 options available, each representing an incongruous approximation of what is necessary to protect marine populations. She went on to discuss the differences between independently organised “Type I” labels, and self-declared “Type II” labels that are held to internal standards and may be signs of greenwashing and inherent bias.
Examining the many uses of eco-labels, Dr Balzarova explored further the uses of eco-labels as tools for soft regulation by governments, personal expression by consumers, and more. She pointed out that research suggests consumers primarily make the choice to buy eco-labelled products because of the expected health benefits and not the ecological impact, but went on to explain that some products, like organic wine, may be seen as inferior if eco-labelled due to their more rapid expiry and spoiling. She concluded by explaining the steps required for eco-label success, from consumer awareness and confidence to willingness to pay for the product.
Dr Balzarova’s talk was attended by a large audience and generated a great deal of discussion with students. Her talk synergised well with Professor Zhang’s and her seminar attendees’ programme, and created opportunities to inform future local business operation in China with Dr Balzarova’s international expertise.On top of her talk, Dr Balzarova also met colleagues of New Zealand Centre at Peking University, including Professor Paul Clark of the University of Auckland, Dr Peter Meihana of Massey University, Professor Liu Shusen, Associate Professor Liu Hongzhong and some interns working at NZC: Tony Fiddis, Alex Walsh and Megan Hawkins. They shared experiences of working and how to promote academic exchanges and collaboration with Chinese universities and scholars and discussed how to further develop the existing fellowship programme in future.
Dr Balzarova delivered her seminar as part of a Visiting Fellowship with the New Zealand Centre at Peking University. If you are a member of the academic staff from any of our eight partner institutions and you are interested in attending a fellowship at Peking University, get in touch with our liaison officers to learn more about the application process. Visiting fellowships for New Zealand academics are held year-round at Peking University, across a broad range of departments, forming a significant contribution to the advancement of academic exchange between China and New Zealand.