GM to Launch Industry's First Eco-Label for Cars

In an industry first, General Motors' Chevy brand has created a green label for its cars and will roll out the sticker bearing environmental data next month starting with the 2012 Chevy Sonic.

The Ecologic label (pictured below) will be affixed to the driver's side rear window of Sonic sedans and hatchbacks in the U.S. market by the end of February, GM and Chevy announced today. The automaker also said it will place Ecologic stickers on all cars under the Chevrolet nameplate for the 2013 model year.

"We've taken an environment leadership role (with the Chevy Volt electric car) and we thought this was the next evolutionary step," said Chevy Brand Marketing Manager Bill Devine.

"From a sustainability point of view what this signals, I think, is that we're trying to provide consumers with relevant information that we know they're very interested in," said Mike Robinson, General Motor's vice president of sustainability and regulatory affairs.

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Devine and Robinson talked to me this morning about the auto company's latest green initiative, which it undertook with the Two Tomorrows group as the validator of environmental claims.

The Ecologic sticker is the first voluntary and third-party certified label of its kind for autos, although environmental product labeling is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. for building materials.

Federal regulators, which require car companies to disclose fuel consumption data and other vehicle information on new cars sold in the United States, revamped their labeling last year to make it even more explicit. And in California and New York, new cars also must display a global warming scorecard.

Supplementing the mandated information, the sticker devised by Chevy tells prospective buyers about the environmental measures taken at manufacturing and assembly facilites, fuel-saving technology in the car, and the percentage by weight of material in the car that can be recycled.

The idea is to convey what Chevy has done to ease the environmental impacts of its cars during its lifecycle -- or "before the road, on the road and after the road," as Devine put it.