Ecological labels or eco-labels are a form of labelling that refers to the environmental performance of a product and is usually represented by symbols. The main objective of these tools is to ensure truthful and reliable environmental communication, avoiding deception in the environmental information provided by organizations. It seeks to favour those products that produce a lower impact on the environment, considering a life cycle approach.
According to ISO standards, there are three ecolabelling systems, and they are classified as:
- Ecological label type I (ISO 14024 standard) – Ecolabels
- Ecological label type II (ISO 14021 standard) – Environmental self-declarations
- Environmental declarations type III (ISO 14025 standard)
These standards define the general principles, objectives and procedures that must be followed for the different types of ecological labels and environmental declarations.
In this post we will focus on the ecological label type I and, specifically, the EU Ecolabel.
Ecological label type I (ISO 14024 standard) – Ecolabels
Voluntary environmental qualification system that officially identifies and certifies that certain products or services have a minor impact on the environment, considering their entire life cycle. Ecolabelled products and services meet strict environmental criteria previously established. Ecolabels are granted by an independent third part, which acts as a certifying entity.
EU Ecolabel belongs to this group of ecolabels and is represented by the following logo:
What is European Ecolabel?
The European Ecolabel was stablished in 1992 and constitutes an important part of the community policy of voluntary instruments to help companies and consumers to improve their environmental performance. The Ecolabel is one of the instruments included in the EU Action Plan for Sustainable Production and Consumption and Sustainable Industrial Policy of the EU and has the backing of the EU environmental authorities and Member States.
The objective is to promote products that can reduce adverse environmental effects, compared to other products in the same category, contributing to the effective use of resources and a high level of environmental protection.
The EU Ecolabel is a type I label, which has the following characteristics:
- Voluntary labelling
- They aim to identify and promote organic products
- Established by product categories
- Based on multiple criteria throughout the entire product life cycle
- Criteria established by an independent body that does not intervene in the market
- Application controlled by a certification and audit process (specific requirements according to ISO 14024)
To qualify for the EU Ecolabel, products must comply with a tough set of criteria. These environmental criteria, set by a panel of experts from a number of stakeholders, including consumer organisations and industry, take the whole product life cycle into account - from the extraction of the raw materials, to production, packaging and transport, right through to your use and then your recycling bin.
This life cycle approach guarantees that the products’ main environmental impacts are reduced in comparison to similar products on the market.
Fitness-for-use criteria also guarantee good product performance.
EU Ecolabel minimises the use of hazardous substances and substances that may be harmful to the aquatic environment. Substances contained in the products are also highly biodegradable, so they are less damaging when they flow into the wastewater system. Packaging is also reduced as much as possible and fitness-for-use criteria guarantee the efficient performance of the product.
The label has been awarded to thousands of different products across Europe, including soaps and shampoos, baby clothes, paints and varnishes, electrical goods and furniture, as well as services, like hotels and campsites. You can see the product categories in the catalogue of Ecolabel website: http://ec.europa.eu/ecat/
In RepaQ you can find expert personal in labelling and sustainability. Do no doubt to contact with us for more information: https://www.repaq.es/en/contact/