It’s not easy for environmentally conscious consumers to work out the relative impact of their choices. But ecolabels – which typically indicate independently certified standards of production – help customers make fairly reliable decisions at the till. The world’s first ecolabel, Blue Angel, was created by Germany’s environmental agency in 1978, establishing standards for eco-friendly products. Now ecolabels are ubiquitous: the global directory www.ecolabelindex.com tracks 431 of them across 246 countries and 25 industry sectors – covering everything from energy ratings to organic foods to building standards to sustainable fisheries and carbon footprints. Recently, General Motors launched Ecologic, the auto industry’s first third-party certified ecolabel. Consumers need to pay close attention to what ecolabels promise, but it’s worth the effort. Even small stickers can help add up to big improvements for the planet.