BANGALORE, INDIA — The World Resources Institute’s Electricity Governance Initiative today released a new report, Robust, Recognizable, and Legitimate: Strengthening India’s Appliance Efficiency Standards and Labels through Greater Civil Society Involvement. The report finds that although energy efficient standards and labeling programs aim to influence consumer behavior, civil society organizations (CSOs) and consumers are often overlooked in the design, implementation, and monitoring of these programs. This leads to a lack of consumer awareness and limited purchasing of energy efficient appliances in India and around the world.

“Several countries are experiencing success with their energy efficiency standards and labeling programs, by making sure they involve multiple stakeholders, not just regulators and manufacturers,” said Bharath Jairaj, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute. “Scaling up India’s standards and labeling program will require significant consumer awareness and active civil society participation in collaboration with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.”

The report looks at energy efficient standards and labeling programs in 10 countries and highlights success stories of civil society engagement in making these programs more robust, recognizable and popular amongst consumers. In addition, the report offers recommendations for expanding civil society participation in these programs.

Recommendations from the report include:
• Governments create enabling policies for CSO participation
• CSOs understand the benefits of energy efficiency
• Donors support CSOs to help improve their capacity

“The Standards and Labeling program is an effective mechanism to improve energy efficiency of the market, significantly reducing electricity consumption and thus enhancing India's energy security. Participation of CSOs is extremely crucial to ensure transparency and accountability of the program and increase public awareness,” said Shantanu Dixit, Prayas Energy Group.

The report was released at a national workshop on Strengthening Civil Society Involvement in Energy Efficiency Standards and Labels at the Hotel Royal Orchid Central in Bangalore. Attending the workshop were leading think tanks, advocacy groups and other civil society groups including Prayas Energy Group, Centre for Science and Environment, CUTS International, Natural Resources Defense Council, Centre for Environment Education, Consumer Education and Research Centre and Consumer VOICE.

The workshop focused on current successes and limitations of India’s standard and labeling program, and identified ways to strengthen the process with more transparency, accountability and participation by civil society.