EU Ecolabel ambassadors : Mondi
The EU Ecolabel prioritises deforestation with sustainable forest management practices
Deforestation accounts for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the sourcing of soy and palm oil, beef, paper and pulp as its biggest drivers. Over the last few years, increased commitment has emerged from the public and private sectors to halt global deforestation. As one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, the paper and pulp industry has the potential to be the driving industry to meet SDG Goal 15: sustainably manage forests. Companies of this sector are aware of the prime importance of preserving forests, their main source of raw material, and environmental pressures linked to deforestation have zoned in on how paper manufacturers address this environmental hotspot. Many of these companies have found the EU Ecolabel to be a reliable way of measuring and fulfilling their sustainability goals.
Deforestation has a major impact on the environment—at the current rate of deforestation, the world’s rainforests could vanish within the next hundred years. As 80% of land animals and plants live in forests, millions of species are at risk of losing their habitat. Furthermore, this lack of trees would contribute to severe temperature variations, as trees play a vital role in regulating forest climate by blocking sunrays in the daytime and preserving heat at night.
NGOs such as Greenpeace, WWF and Client Earth have raised awareness on deforestation, positioning it as a key issue for consumers to consider. In parallel, private sector actors such as Asia Pulp & Paper have established zero deforestation commitments, whether it be through voluntary commitments with forest conservation initiatives like the Consumer Goods Forum or the Tropical Forest Alliance and the New York Declaration on Forests. These public-private partnerships promote sustainable forestry practices and, as for the Consumer Goods Forum, establish guidelines for sustainable sourcing, verification and transparency of company policy and goals.
Well aware that forests are the basis of their livelihood, an increasing number of companies from the paper and pulp industry have made pledges to reduce their impact on forests. Despite these efforts, the industry is still under increasing pressure from NGOs to further address this environmental hotspot. The EU Ecolabel has contributed to supporting this battle, with requirements on sustainable forest management for their paper-based products since 1996 upon the adoption of the copy and graphic paper criteria.
Paper-based product categories make up over 25% of all EU Ecolabel products on the market and include five categories: converted paper, newspaper print, printed paper, copying and graphic paper and tissue paper. As of March 2018, there are over 16 700 different paper-based EU Ecolabel products on the market. These criteria impose strict requirements on emissions to water and air as well as on the energy used during the manufacturing processes. Sourcing is also an area of high importance for the EU Ecolabel, and it collaborates with certifications that guarantee sustainable sourcing, such as the FSC or PEFC.
EU Ecolabel Applicants can use PEFC or FSC certification or similar independent third-party certification schemes as proof to validate that their virgin fibres come from sustainable managed forests.
While there is still work to be done to reach SDG Goal 15, tools such as the EU Ecolabel for paper products and the efforts of the private sector represent a step forward towards the sustainable management of forests.
Back to school with EU Ecolabel paper!
Around 410 million tons of paper is produced globally each year. By 2020, it is estimated that paper mills will produce 500 million tons of paper and paperboard each year. Pulp and paper production is one of the largest industrial polluters of air and water, with a number of environmentally harmful substances released during the manufacturing process, according to the Worldwatch institute . In fact, CO2, industrial effluents, nitrogen oxides, sulfur-based compounds, phosphorous composites as well as halogenated organic compounds are all released during the transformation of wood into paper. Environmental certifications such as the EU Ecolabel can limit the detrimental effect this consumption has on our biodiversity.
Paper consumption is particularly important in schools and even more so during the back to school months of August and September. Paper waste is also a critical issue since recycling is complex and costly to implement, and not yet prevalent within all schools. However, reducing paper consumption and buying more responsibly is increasingly becoming possible for parents and students, as brands provide more ecologically friendly products awarded with environmental certifications. For example, purchasing EU Ecolabel paper products for school supplies and writing paper is a simple way to ensure a more respectful paper production.
The EU Ecolabel guarantees paper that is made from recycled fibres, or sustainably sourced virgin fibres. In fact, recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity . The accumulation of paper in landfills is particularly harmful, seeing as the decomposition of paper produces methane, a greenhouse gas with devastating heat-absorbing qualities. The EU Ecolabel also makes sure that the paper production limits the use of toxic substances, detrimental to the environment and human health. Thus, buying recycled paper with the EU Ecolabel certification helps limit the destructive effects paper productions.
EU Ecolabel Ambassadors: Kruidvat & Essity
EU Ecolabel diapers: a healthier alternative for infants
During a newborn’s first year, between 5 and 8 diapers are used in a single day, totalling out to 4,300 diapers which come in direct contact with its skin within the first three years of its life. The EU Ecolabel’s criteria on disposable diapers stand by limiting the health hazards and environmental impact that conventional diapers can sometimes represent. As the European diaper market has been on the rise with a growth trend expected to be between 2.9% and 5.1% over the next five years, the rising awareness of baby hygiene and safety has seen a consumer preference for environment-friendly diaper products. The availability of EU Ecolabel diapers on the market responds to this demand.
A recent study carried out by a French consumer association pointed out controversy in the composition of baby diapers. Disposable diapers are mainly made of cellulose, fibres extracted from wood and plastic materials, which often come from unsustainable sources and energy-heavy production sites. In fact, as much as 85% of the environmental impact from a conventional disposable diaper is linked to its raw material production. The French consumer study also notes that traces of toxic substances were found in many of the tested disposable diapers, including glyphosate, the active agent in the Roundup herbicide. These findings have garnered interest amongst parents for more natural products that use less dangerous substances and that ensure infant health and safety. A number of toxic substances, dyes and bleaches found in diapers are also responsible for allergic reactions, skin irritations, toxic shock syndrome, liver damage and immune system suppression.
To guarantee products with high quality and good performance, the EU Ecolabel requirements relative to diapers set rigorous ecological criteria for baby diapers, defined within the category of absorbent hygiene products. The EU Ecolabel draws attention to the sourcing and treatment of the diapers’ components. It states the necessity of ecological certification (FSC, PEFC, etc.) for pulp fibres and imposes conditions on the products used for bleaching fibres, forbidding the use of chlorine gas, for example. The use of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde or some classes of phthalates, is strictly forbidden for the adhesive materials and no fragrances are allowed. The EU Ecolabel also limits the use of dyes and inks to areas that are not in direct contact with the skin and only if the dye serves a specific function such as indicating wetness or showing the landing zones for tape. Finally, super absorbent polymers must be kept to a minimum threshold.
The label plays a triple role for products that have been awarded the label. Firstly, it reduces the impact of resource consumption thanks to sustainable sourcing and manufacturing methods for the production of baby diapers. Secondly, as mentioned, the restrictions on the use of hazardous substances have a beneficial impact on health and safety, limiting the eventual risks posed by toxic products. Finally, the EU Ecolabel guarantees high quality, durable products, as all diapers must pass performance and quality tests.
A number of producers have awarded their diapers with the EU Ecolabel such as the Danish healthcare manufacturer Abena, which was the first to obtain the EU Ecolabel for three products in its environment-friendly baby diapers line: Bambo Nature. All Bambo Nature packaging is fully recyclable and limit the amount of Super Absorbent Polymers used. One of the SAPs is a 100% biodegradable, starch-based bio-super-absorbent, while the other is a high quality, permeable super absorbent made of acrylic polymers, which is necessary to ensure that diapers are absorbent without being bulky, limiting the amount of waste destined for landfill and enhancing comfort for the infant. Unlike standard disposable diapers, Bambo Nature diapers do not contain perfumes, lotions, deodorants or antioxidants, and are 100% chlorine free and latex free, which limits the risk of allergic reactions. The Czech company Drylock Technologies also sells EU Ecolabel products distributed in France, which omit the use of dyes and fragrances and have strict composition regulations. Consumer response has been very positive, as young mothers in particular are concerned about the well-being of their infants and appreciate the presence of sustainable alternatives for baby diapers.
Technical Workshop European Ecolabel Cleaning Products, Catalonia - Spain
On 29th May 2018 took place in Barcelona a Technical Workshop about the European Ecolabel for Cleaning Products. The Workshop was organized by the Spanish Committee on Detergency, surfactants and Related Industries (CED), in collaboration with the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia.
With 91 participants and representatives from detergent industry, business associations, technological centres and public administrations, the Workshop became a space to exchange and share experiences, opinions and doubts about the EU Ecolabel for detergents.
EU Ecolabel Success Story: Camping Espace Blue Ocean
BookDifferent.com and Adventus Travel: It keeps getting easier to travel green!
The launch of the new EU Ecolabel tourist accommodation criteria in January 2017 introduced stricter environmental and social requirements for hotels, campsites, hostels, and bed & breakfasts that wish to be awarded with the prestigious EU Ecolabel. In an effort to help communicate on environmentally conscious tourist accommodations awarded with the EU Ecolabel, the European Commission has worked with two key Online Travel Agencies and hotel booking websites: BookDifferent.com and Adventus Travel. The European Commission has also launched a partnership with French start-up Sumwhere, which displays all EU Ecolabel accommodations in France (and soon in Europe) on an interactive map.
BookDifferent.com: efficient search filters for sustainable tourism indicators
“We, as tourism professionals, should be able to translate sustainability information into something more tangible for the customers, something they will understand.” "
“For consumers, eco-certification doesn’t really mean much. The sustainable tourism professionals know about existing certification schemes, but this is not enough. We had to find some kind of data that would say something about all our hotels, something that is tangible for the customers and scalable for the business.”
BookDifferent.com’s founder, Lonneke de Kort
BookDifferent.com is a sustainable tourism booking website based in the Netherlands, which makes it easy to find EU Ecolabel hotels. The site, who won the Sustainable Travel Award in 2018 features 7000 eco-certified accommodations. Search filters allow users to identify hotels depending on their certification, country, city and estimation of their CO2 emissions, determined by an applied algorithm. Furthermore, BookDifferent.com contributes 10% of its gross turnover to organisations such as The Travel Foundation, The Global Forest Fund and the WWF. To this day, BookDifferent.com remains the only affiliate of Booking.com that has sustainable tourism at the core of its business model.
BookDifferent.com’s founder, Lonneke de Kort, is a social entrepreneur who believes that sustainable tourism is a key contributor to reaching the global Sustainable Development Goals, meaning that every booking at BookDifferent.com helps promote hotels, hostels, and campsites that have made an engagement towards promoting sustainability within their accommodations. Lonneke was featured as a keynote speaker at the EU High Level Sustainable Tourism Conference in Malta on the 8th of May 2017, in which she shared her desire to transform travel into a more sustainable sector.
Adventus Travel: A Passion Project That Makes an Impact
“Through our own travels and also our day-to-day lives in Barcelona, we have become acutely aware of the environmental impact of tourism. At Adventus Travel, we believe the future of tourism depends on choosing sustainability now, to help preserve the Earth for the next generation.”
Adventus Travel founders.
Adventus Travel is a booking site reserved exclusively for EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations launched by Mauro Sanna and Fiona Goodfellow in late 2017 as a passion project. Adventus Travel, which is a registered travel agency in Barcelona called BarcelonaTours.net, has a long-standing reputation of providing quality services to travellers. Years of experience in online marketing for the tourism industry and the team’s dedication to promoting eco-travel, encouraged a number of EU Ecolabel hotels to be featured on AdventusTravel.com (click on these links to visit the pages of these hotels here: France & Spain).
Fiona Goodfellow and Mauro Sanna created this site out of sheer interest in sustainable tourism. Fiona Goodfellow is a London-native has fully integrated sustainability within her daily life. She became exposed to ecotourism during her travels in South America and has since sought ways to spread awareness. Mauro Sanna, son of an Italian sustainable agriculture farmer and part of an extremely environmentally conscious family, wanted to start a project that would make a positive impact on society.
They acknowledge that while there is a general awareness of environmental issues on the EU scale, there is a need for more proactivity in promoting sustainability. They both believe there is a window of opportunity for organisations like Adventus Travel to make a difference.
SumWhere is a recommendation platform, which lets users explore the world according to their areas of interest. The app and website offer a network of thematic maps created by experts, brands, communities and friends. These themes are connected together through a worldwide map, which give users a chance to discover unknown locations based on their interests.
You can easily find the 'EU Ecolabel Accommodation' theme, which compiles all EU Ecolabel accommodations in France (and soon in Europe) on an interactive map.
For further information, and to book your next EU Ecolabel accommodation, please visit their websites:
The Italian Competent Body has award its first EU Ecolabel Tourist Accommodation to Hotel La Barme in the region of Valle d’Aosta, Italy
The Italian Competent Body has recently awarded the first EU Ecolabel licence for tourist accommodation in Italy: EU Ecolabel registration number IT/051/001 has been assigned to Hotel La Barme, located in Cogne, a few kilometres from Aosta, the capital of the region of Valle d’Aosta.
The hotel is located in Gran Paradiso National Park, which was founded in 1922 and is the oldest protected area established by the Italian state. The park encompasses over 700 square kilometres of mountainous terrain in the regions of Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont in Northwest Italy.
In 2014, Gran Paradiso National Park was the only Italian park included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List, which lists 23 parks worldwide where efforts to conserve and manage protected areas have been particularly successful.
Hotel La Barme is the first hotel in Gran Paradiso National Park and in Valle d’Aosta to be awarded with the prestigious EU Ecolabel. The hotel fulfills the criteria by using 100% renewable energy and through its ‘green building’, which has a high level of energy efficiency and is designed in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Finally, more than 80% of the waste is recycled and the hotel recovers and reuses rainwater.
Reducing food waste and over packaging: a new trend for sustainable tourism
With lengthy kitchen operating hours for room service, individually packaged portions of jam, butter and sugar, as well as generous hotel buffets, the tourist accommodation industry is a contributing player in food waste generation. New criteria for the EU Ecolabel, published in January 2017, draw attention to the role this sector can play in reducing food waste. It sets voluntary standards for hotels and other accommodation establishments to better manage and monitor food waste and packaging levels.
Today, 20% of the food produced in the EU is wasted while 55 million people live in food insecurity. The waste generated by the food service industry, which includes tourist accommodations, accounts for 12% of total food waste . While this sector is a relatively smaller contributor to EU food waste in comparison to households, which account for 53% of total food waste, reducing food waste in this industry is necessary to lower global food waste levels, especially since the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people in 2050 .
Research has shown that guests eating at hotel buffets may only consume about half of the food that they serve themselves. Due to EU food safety regulations, unconsumed food that has been set out on self-serve or that remains on plates must be thrown away. Therefore, only leftover food surplus in the kitchen that respects storage and hygiene criteria can be redistributed to food banks. As there is a maximum redistribution potential of only 10 to 15% of the total surplus food, according to the food use hierarchy, it is favourable to prevent food waste at its source instead of trying to implement recovery solutions after food surplus has already been generated.
The European Commission actively encourages initiatives for the reduction of food waste within the Tourist Accommodation sector through the voluntary EU Ecolabel criteria for this industry. Published in January 2017, these criteria introduced requirements for certified tourist accommodations to establish a food waste management plan, monitor food waste levels, and to communicate on their prevention and management actions to guests. Furthermore, an optional requirement encourages tourist accommodations to recover their food waste via composting or biogas production (a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter and considered to be a renewable resource).
The use of single dose packages for non-perishable foodstuffs (sugar, coffee, chocolate) is also prohibited for EU Ecolabel certified establishments in order to reduce food packaging waste. The EU Ecolabel tourism criteria on packaging and the use of disposable items follows the EU Action Plan for a circular economy adopted by the Commission in December 2015 which identified plastics as a key priority and committed itself to ‘prepare a strategy addressing the challenges posed by plastics throughout the value chain and taking into account their entire lifecycle’. Indeed, in 2017, the Commission confirmed it would focus on plastics production and use and work towards the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.
The introduction of these new food waste requirements in the EU Ecolabel criteria for Tourist Accommodations was adopted at the beginning of the United Nation’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Through this project, the UN pushed for several elements addressed within the EU Ecolabel criteria including resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change. Furthermore, specific to food waste, by being awarded the EU Ecolabel, tourist accommodations can collectively contribute to meeting the Sustainability Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030 (UN SDG 12.3) via compliance with food waste criteria.
In addition, the tourist accommodation sector may encounter several benefits in implementing food waste reduction strategies: tax deductions and fiscal incentives for food donation, cost savings thanks to better stock management or even better reputations for establishments that communicate about these activities.
An April 2018 report published by UK charity organisation WRAP highlights the benefits of taking action to prevent food waste in hotels thanks to its compelling business case. Reducing food waste can represent a large financial opportunity for hotels to lower costs, increase revenues while making a significant contribution to the UN SDG 12.3. Over a three-year time frame, the average benefit-cost ratio for food waste is nearly 7:1 and over 70% of the establishments (42 hotel sites located in 15 countries) recouped their investments within the first year of implementing a program.
With this business case in mind, EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations can therefore take the steps to limit and better manage food waste while reaping business benefits.
- Stenmarck et al. (2016). FUSIONS Estimates of European food waste levels, European Commission.
Towards an EU Product Policy Framework contributing to the Circular Economy
A roadmap titled ‘Towards an EU Product Policy Framework contributing to the Circular Economy’ was recently published. This roadmap describes the Commission's plans to examine actions and options to improve the contribution of the different strands of work of EU product policy to the circular economy, in implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The roadmap is open for feedback until the 4th of June and can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-2409307_en
EU Ecolabel Success Story: Maison Verte
The European Commission adopts new EU Ecolabel criteria for Cleaning Services
On May 2nd 2018, the European Commission adopted a new set of criteria for the EU Ecolabel service group "Cleaning Services" that will be published in the Official Journal in upcoming days. The new criteria focus on addressing present-day environmental hotspots present for cleaning services and will be valid for a period of five years.
Companies providing cleaning services are facing growing pressure to align their commercial, social and environmental practices. The brand new EU Ecolabel criteria on indoor cleaning services address the most critical hotspots of cleaning processes and help businesses take real action towards sustainable cleaning. As of now, cleaning service companies that hold EU Ecolabel certificates are able to prove the efficiency of their environmental practices during green public procurement tenders. The label also demonstrates the companies’ commitment to the well-being and safety of their employees by decreasing their exposure to toxic substances. The criteria prioritizes the cleaning products that are ISO Type I labels like the EU Ecolabel, but also Nordic Swan and Blue Angel.
Price is no longer the primary differentiator when selecting amongst providers of cleaning services, as social and environmental aspects, are increasingly becoming important.
The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary ecolabelling scheme established in 1992 and a component of the European Commission’s action plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy. It encourages manufactures to produce goods and services that are more environmentally friendly. Any good or service that has been awarded the EU Ecolabel meets a set of high environmental and performance standards. Today, nearly 54100 products and services bearing the EU Ecolabel are available on the market. The adoption of these new EU Ecolabel criteria contributes to the continued efforts of providing companies and consumers with a credible ecolabel to promote sustainable consumption and production, enhancing circular economy within Europe.
For more information:
Visit the EU Ecolabel website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/
Contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org
EU Ecolabel detergents and cleaning services aim to reduce the polluting effects of cleaning activities on the environment and provide healthier alternatives to consumers and cleaning personnel
Detergents and cleaning activities make up a large source of chemical pressure on water resources and wastewater systems worldwide. Numerous toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic substances are present in most detergents, which affect the quality of water and the well-being of aquatic environments when discharged after use. Oxygen-reducing substances and chemical components are often found in large quantities in conventional detergents as they increase their efficiency. These substances are, however, resistant to wastewater treatments aimed at biodegrading harmful substances during wastewater operations and can eventually end up in natural bodies of water. This poses a detrimental risk to natural ecosystems as high levels of nutrient pollution (i.e. phosphates) in rivers leads to eutrophication.
Conventional detergents may also include triclosan, suspected of interfering with human hormones, nanosilver, linked to neurological disorders, and substances that release formaldehyde suspected of causing cancer, allergies and asthma. These detergents can thus potentially cause severe health problems for both consumers and natural living organisms. You will not find those substances in EU Ecolabel products.
EU Ecolabel makes the difference
EU Ecolabel detergents and cleaning services differentiate themselves from conventional detergents and companies through the wide scope of environmental criteria they respect. The label guarantees detergents with a reduced impact on aquatic ecosystems, limited hazardous and sensitising substances, increased biodegradability, reduced packaging, documented efficiency, and reliable user information. The use of EU Ecolabel detergents is highly promoted within the new EU Ecolabel cleaning services criteria, as it requires at least 50% of cleaning products used to be environmentally certified by either the EU Ecolabel or another EN ISO 14024 type I ecolabel. Ecolabel detergents and cleaning service companies prohibit chemicals which may cause cancer, alter DNA or damage fertility. Amongst the restricted and banned chemicals are a number of fragrances, reactive chlorine compounds, Alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEOs), preservatives, colourants and allergenic substances that are particularly toxic to the environment. The toxicity of detergents on aquatic organisms is also reduced through critical dilution volume of product thresholds.
Performance tests conducted on all EU Ecolabel cleaning products guarantee the high quality and efficiency of all products comparable to conventional detergents. For example, certified products must have a satisfactory cleaning performance, even when used with cold water. Furthermore, the detergent must provide a dosing device to the consumer with a measurement quantity that is in accordance with that the most updated IKW (German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association) standard test for water hardness. EU Ecolabel detergents are thus proven to have the highest efficiency even at 30 °C and since detergents are highly concentrated, the consumer does not need to use more than the quantity indicated in the measuring device. The Energy Saving Trust has found that washing clothes at 30 degrees uses around 40% less electricity over the course of a year compared to higher temperatures, EU Ecolabel detergents can hence help reduce energy consumption.
The availability of automatic dosing systems to users, in addition to an efficiency of detergents are also highlighted in the EU Ecolabel detergent criteria. Furthermore, limited packaging must be considered, following a specific weight/utility ratio (WUR) of the product calculated for the primary packaging.
Microplastics restriction in line with the EU’s Plastics Strategy
Packaging requirements favour the use of recycled materials within its composition and must be clear of microplastics (tiny toxic particles of plastic) which end up in fish, crustaceans or plankton and can even be present in potable water for human consumption. This requirement is in line with the EU ‘Plastics strategy’ with the aim of increasing the 'circularity' of consumer products packaging and in particular prohibits the use microplastics of any size in the packaging of cleaning products. Regarding the packaging’s end-of-life, the criteria promote refillable container designs to one-time-use containers; this packaging must, furthermore, be recyclable upon disposal.
Austrian EU Ecolabel detergents company Hagleitner as a potential partner for EU Ecolabel cleaning services companies
The characteristics of EU Ecolabel detergents aim to reduce the over-consumption of plastic, water and energy in order for each manufactured product to have the least harmful impact at the end of its lifecycle. This has contributed to the EU Ecolabel becoming an important environmental reference in the detergent industry, pushing a number of companies and consumers to align their values with the EU Ecolabel’s environmental objectives.
For example, the Austrian company, Hagleitner, which has certified a number of its detergents considers sustainable consumption and production to be one of its core values, seen through their ‘green efficiency concept system’. This system ensures that dispenser products in the area of kitchen and laundry hygiene are manufactured free of environmentally and health-endangering raw materials. Hans Georg Hagleitner, the Managing Director notes that: “Chemistry and nature, seem to be opposed. However, they actually originate from one another. Hagleitner wants to be representative of this, with clean chemistry and clean production.” Hagleitner is just one of numerous EU Ecolabel detergent companies that could partner with EU Ecolabel cleaning services in order to meet criteria requirements.
- http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal content/EN/TXT/? uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2017.180.01.0016.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2017:180:TOC
Green your spring cleaning: 5 reasons to choose EU Ecolabel detergents
It’s spring time! As flowers bud and birds chirp after the (long) winter break, you might want to make your home tidy and shiny. Why not go green for this spring cleaning?
We use washing liquids, laundry powders, multi-purpose cleaners and dishwashing tablets daily to keep our houses clean. But standard detergents are not as healthy as we might think. Most contain ingredients which can harm the environment and human health. Problematic substances can sneak through water treatment services, pollute rivers and can even end up in our plates and glasses.
There is a solution: choose EU Ecolabel detergents for spring cleaning, for five good reasons:
- Save energy (and money) – Ecolabel detergents are proven to be efficient at low temperatures, allowing you to save energy and money. For instance, laundry detergents are tested to have the highest efficiency at 30°C. Ecolabel detergents are highly concentrated, i.e. a small amount does the job. If you do not use more than you’re supposed to, detergents can help reduce both your carbon footprint and your cleaning budget.
- Protect your health - Ecolabel detergents generally contain less problematic chemicals compared to standard products, which minimises your overall exposure. For instance, substances that may cause cancer, change your DNA or damage fertility are strictly prohibited in Ecolabel products, but not in standard detergents. Allergenic substances, fragrances and preservatives harmful for the environment or your health are largely restricted, and the most problematic ones are fully banned.
- Spare the environment - To be awarded the label, Ecolabel detergents must not be toxic to aquatic organisms and must be biodegradable. That is why they must be free of phosphates, which fuel algae overgrowth, threaten other aquatic life and cut water oxygen levels. Moreover, the label excludes disinfecting detergents which can make bacteria become resistant, i.e. hard to kill in the long run.
- Cut plastic: Every year, Europeans generate over 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste, of which only 30% is recycled. The packaging of EU Ecolabel detergents is circular: it favours recycled material and is recyclable, relies on less plastic than conventional packages and promotes refillable containers. Ecolabel products must also be clear of microplastics, these tiny toxic particles of plastic which end up in fish, crustaceans or plankton. While the EU is considering restricting microplastics in detergents and other products, Ecolabel is one step ahead.
- Avoid greenwashing: Unlike many self-proclaimed green logos, the Ecolabel flower guarantees sound environmentally-friendly detergents. This is thanks to the strong requirements that manufacturers must meet to obtain the label. Tests prove that Ecolabel detergents work as efficiently as conventional ones.
Convinced? You can easily find Ecolabel detergents on your supermarket shelves. In September 2017, around 5,300 Ecolabel consumer cleaning products, comprising detergents, were registered across the EU.
This label is about much more than just detergents. For 25 years, Ecolabel has been rewarding the most environmentally-friendly consumer products such as tissue papers, paints, shower gels and now even shoes, computers and hotels! Be on the lookout for the flower logo every time you shop.
The EU Ecolabel is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn more in our factsheet.
“This article is the translation of a blog originally published by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)” http://www.beuc.eu/blog/
 Non-ecolabelled detergents may include triclosan (suspected of interfering with human hormones), nanosilver (linked to neurological disorders), or substances that release formaldehyde (suspected of causing cancer, allergies and asthma).
 The EU and Member States in cooperation with industry, environmental NGOs and consumer organisations define the Ecolabel criteria and revise them every four years.
EU Ecolabel Success Story: Neutral
EU Ecolabel: Reducing the Ecological Impact of Textile Dyeing
From organic cotton and eco-friendly wool to recycled polyester, the upholstery fabrics industry is transitioning towards more eco-friendly practices. The EU Ecolabel is an efficient solution for companies seeking to adopt these good practices.
It is no secret that textile manufacturing degrades the environment through toxic wastewater. If we look at dyes alone, up to 200,000 tons of textile dye are discharged as liquid waste every year due to inefficiencies during the dyeing process (almost 10-50% of colourants are lost). Most of these dyes do not go through a controlled wastewater treatment process, instead remaining in the environment for long lengths of time due to their high resistance to light, temperature and most natural and chemical substances. Furthermore, these toxic and mutagenic losses are responsible for destroying aquatic ecosystems through a decrease of light penetration, photosynthetic activity and ultimately oxygen.
Acquiring and keeping up with third party labels such as the EU Ecolabel guarantees products that are environmentally friendly, of high quality and ethically sourced. Indeed, the EU Ecolabel is one of the most efficient tools in Europe to ensure products that contribute to the circular economy and are sustainable throughout their entire value chain – from extraction of raw material to production, use and disposal. The EU Ecolabel certified Danish company Gabriel is one of the industry leaders in eco-friendly upholstery fabrics and particularly in materials such as environmentally certified polyester and wool. Gabriel’s business model also focuses on creating products with the most sustainable life cycles possible.
The EU Ecolabel criteria on wool fibre, polyester and dyes that Gabriel must comply with is particularly stringent. Strict limits on wool ectoparasiticide concentrations in raw wool prior to scouring must be respected. COD values for the final discharge of effluent from wool scouring must not go over 25 g/kg for coarse wool and 45 g/kg for fine wool. Wool scourers must also follow measures to recover value from either oxidised grease, fibre, suint or sludge arising from the scouring site used for the EU ecolabelled wool products. These can take the form of transformation of these substances into chemical feedstock, compost or liquid fertiliser and building material. Products with polyester fibre must not have more than 260 ppm of antimony present. Producers should also either manufacture the polyester using a minimum of content of recycled PET (50% for staple fibre and 20% for filament fibre) or control the emissions of VOCs during polyester production. Finally, dyes that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction or have metal complex must be removed.
Amongst other practices, in order to respect these criteria, Gabriel has committed to a long-term partnership with Wools of New Zealand, which guarantees high-quality raw materials and good conditions for the sheep. This type of wool possesses unique dyeing properties where the dye is easily absorbed into the fibre. By using high-quality raw wool, Gabriel can forego customary chemical finish treatments, since the desired characteristics are already inherent in the type of raw material sourced. Gabriel also controls the use of dyes and toxic substances through the installation of electronic measurements.
Compliance with EU Ecolabel also requires Gabriel to demonstrate implementations of ‘Best Available Techniques’ in energy efficiency such as the installation of heat recovery systems, efficient burner systems and replacement of overflow washing with drainage/inflow washing. This pushed the company to shift most of its energy-heavy production to use more renewable energy to lessen climate impacts and reduce the water and energy consumption per unit produced. Finally, by using fewer chemicals, Gabriel has been able to reduce both its use of water and electricity by about a third.
Technology » Textile Technology » "Eco-Friendly Textile Dyeing and Finishing", book edited by Melih Günay, ISBN 978-953-51-0892-4, Published: January 16, 2013, under CC BY 3.0 licence. © The Author(s).
The Environmental Impact of the Denim Industry
From the production of genetically modified cotton to the use of toxic substances, producing jeans causes a lot of strain on the environment. The EU Ecolabel certifies companies who take conscious steps in improving the sustainability of their production.
Although cotton plants cultivated for traditional jean production represent 2.5% of all agricultural land, they use 10% of the pesticides and 25% of the insecticides consumed worldwide. Furthermore, up to 29,000 litres of water are required to produce 1 kg of cotton. This cotton then goes through a series of dye baths (usually around 5 baths) in order to achieve the iconic pigment of a blue jean. This toxic indigo pigment is often dumped into neighbouring rivers, turning them blue. Finally, some pairs of jeans go through a discolouring phase in order to achieve a ‘distressed’ look. Overall, the amount of water wasted through this dying and discolouring process can go up to 150 litres per pair of jeans, and the number of chemicals used is extremely high.
Fortunately, the rise in environmentally conscious consumers is pushing brands to engage in eco-friendly initiatives. Finding alternative solutions is crucial if a brand wants to survive in this competitive industry. Indeed, using organic, recycled and pesticide-free cotton is becoming more profitable for companies. Adriana Galijasevic, one of G-Star’s sustainability and research heads explains that: ‘using organic cotton, saves 91 percent of the water as opposed to conventional cotton organic cotton doesn’t use any pesticides that are unnatural, synthetic or chemical which in the end take away from the soil richness and makes the crop water intensive.’ Concerns such as water use, dye impact, soil health, labour issues and fair trade are now at the heart of brands’ initiatives.
The European Commission encourages these transitions in the supply chain through the EU Ecolabel. The certification aims to improve the production of textiles through a large range of scientifically based criteria that encompass environmental and social concern and analyses the full life cycle of jeans. For example, companies must either use 95% of organic cotton in their production of jeans or 60% of cotton that complies with ‘Integral Pest Management’; a systematic plan developed as a way to control pests without relying solely on pesticides.
Furthermore, sandblasting, a technique used to achieve distressed denim is prohibited by the EU Ecolabel. This method consists of blasting abrasive materials such as silica sand (crystalline) which creates harmful dust and causes silicosis, lung cancer and other breathing problems in exposed workers. The use of hazardous substances in the dyeing, printing and finishing is also strictly controlled by the certification. The EU Ecolabel ensures the quality of its certified products through consumer test requirements, which determine how quickly the jeans will fade and thin out.
Many future-looking brands have found that the EU Ecolabel aligns with their sustainability values. For example, the Ingredient Brand ISKO™, known for its innovative spirit, is the first denim mill to certify a selection of products with the EU Ecolabel. Water savings, as well as reduced energy and chemical consumption, are key issues reflecting the brand’s approach to production. Seeing as 23% of the water consumption throughout the life of a pair of jeans comes about during consumer care, ISKO™ key innovations ensure the highest quality standards, and guarantee garments that retain their shape wear after wear, limiting the need for frequent washes.
Responsible innovation, excellence and sustainability go hand in hand in ISKO™’s approach. ISKO Earth Fit™, made with eco-friendly raw materials like organic cotton, Better Cotton, pre-consumer recycled cotton and post-consumer recycled polyester from PET bottles, forms an integral part of ISKO™’s responsible innovation platform. Becoming EU Ecolabel-certified was a rewarding step along ISKO™’s road to sustainability. Alongside receiving the prestigious Nordic Swan Ecolabel, it affirmed ISKO™ as the only denim mill in the world to have obtained the most stringent certifications for its outstanding sustainability, now attributed to all the articles that are part of the ISKO Earth Fit™ platform. This commitment is shared within the industry and, with jean consumers through educational and cultural projects, seminars and workshops dedicated to the global fashion system.
THE EU ECOLABEL CELEBRATES 25 YEARS, IN PARIS!
Last month around 65 thousand visitors were able to discover a selection of the best EU Ecolabel products in Paris. The consumers had chance to touch, try and experience all kind of products ranging from detergents to paints, wooden furniture to textiles from all around the EU. In addition French consumers had an amazing opportunity to have a chat with Jérémie PICHON from Zero Waste Family who visited the EU Ecolabel Showroom (see the video in the bottom) and French NGO PikPik that was educating the people about sustainable consumption and labelling. It was a fun campaign for the visitors to recognise quality, eco-friendly products and us EU Ecolabel team and licence holders to organize this show.
Sustainable Tourism Conference
More than 300 people attended a conference on the developing trends in Sustainable Tourism in Lübeck, Germany on the 28.02.2018 and exchanged on the opportunities for sustainable tourism in the North of Germany. The EU Ecolabel as a marketing tool was introduced to marketing and tourist officers, hotels, ministries and other experts in a session on ‘Sustainable certifications for interested services and destinations: overview, advices and information from experiences’. Questions on certification schemes, motivation, implementation and awareness were raised and a discussion took place in order to spotlight the benefits of the EU Ecolabel for North Germany Tourism.
A CONFERENCE ON A BRAND NEW EU ECOLABEL CRITERIA FOR CLEANING SERVICES
On the 10th of April, AFNOR certification, in collaboration with the ADEME and the FEP Ile de France highlighted the benefits the new EU Ecolabel certification criteria for cleaning services. Sylvie Ludain from the EU Ecolabel team presented how the brand new service fits into circular economy narrative. EU Ecolabel certificate for cleaning services will be valid mean of proof for green public procurement tenders. The new service will be also a push for other Type I labels like Blue Angel or Nordic Swan and will allow the entrepreneurs of cleaning services to stand out from the crowd by offering service that is not only differentiated by price, but other ethical values. Clients will be able to go for the environmental and social excellence.
The companies offering EU Ecolabel certified cleaning services will show the commitments and loyalty to the employees, who will be better protected from harmful and toxic cleaning products and educated how to use cleaning products in a most efficient way. Showing that they are taking care not only of environment but also people who work for them.
The EU Ecolabel now has over 54,000 products and services, with France as one of the leading marketplaces in Europe with 4,500 EU Ecolabelled products. As it rewards companies that choose to design sustainable and affordable products that promote innovation and resource efficiency, EU Ecolabel enables us all to make more responsible purchasing choices.
Lithuania begins with series of workshops
On December 2017 Lithuanian Environmental Protection Agency began a series of seminars "The EU Ecolabel and the EMAS are a step towards sustainable business development and the circular economy". The workshop provided practical information on product groups and the application process. 1st seminar was held on December 18, 2017 at the Marijampole branch of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts. In this seminar took part 15 people from different companies starting with the waste management, tourist accommodation and ending up with representatives from the food industry. 2nd seminar was held on January 16, 2018 at the Šiauliai branch of the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce gathering textile and furniture manufacturing companies, chemical industry and academia. A week later similar seminar took place in Kaunas Chamber of Commerce.
The European Commission has published a Notice to Stakeholders on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules for the use of the EU Ecolabel.
Take our EU Ecolabel survey and win a €100 prize!!!
EU Ecolabel has launched its most recent survey that aims to help the EU Ecolabel team in understanding the perceptions of the scheme and its accompanying creative promotional materials. This online survey targets a wide audience in France, Czech Republic, Sweden and Belgium and asks participants to share their opinion on four EU Ecolabel creative concepts. All responses will help EU Ecolabel to understand how best to market and promote their products and services.
By participating in the survey, you will have the chance to win a €100 prize: a gift basket of EU Ecolabel products. Below you can find the links to the survey in French, Czech and Swedish.
Help shape the future of EU Ecolabel and take part!
Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information published
Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information have recently been launched at the World Resources Forum 2017.
The Guidelines are a key output of the 10YFP Consumer Information Programme and were developed over the last 2 years in a consensus building process with the participation of over 125 organizations, led by UN Environment and the International Trade Centre.
The Guidelines offer value chain and public sector professionals' clear guidance on making effective, trustworthy claims to consumers, on product-related sustainability. They are applicable to all regions and companies of all sizes. A long term objective is to create a level playing field for developing new, and revising existing, product sustainability information. Ultimately, the Guidelines aim to empower consumers to make informed sustainable choices on product purchase, usage and disposal.
The Guidelines establish minimum requirements that must be met (Fundamental principles); and encourage ambition, improvement and sustainability leadership over time (Aspirational principles). Associated guidance walks the user through improving their consumer communications.
Starting November 2017, the Guidelines will be road test with companies of all regions, and build a library of case studies.
Interested in getting involved or receiving information? Please contact the 10YFP Consumer Information Programme Coordination Desk.
National Quality Awards Ceremony at Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The National Quality Awards Ceremony took place at the Prague Castle on November 28th, 2017. The best performing companies and organizations were awarded national quality awards and the National Award of the Czech Republic for social responsibility and sustainable development. Two of the national quality awards are the EU Ecolabel and the Czech Ecolabel. This ceremony had the patronage of Czech President Miloš Zeman and many others politicians and guest from different areas including business and media.
National Quality Awards Ceremony at Prague Castle, Czech Republic
CENIA, the Czech Environmental Information Agency has decided to highlight and reward two organizations this year, EURONA s.r.o. and Aloisov paper mill, the part of the Melecky Group a.s.
EURONA s.r.o. has achieved the EU Ecolabel in the Laundry detergents, as the first organization in the Czech Republic. Their two products, White & Bright – washing powder for white laundry, and Baby & Sensitive - washing powder for baby laundry, has been certified by the Czech ecolabel at the same time and have become part of the eco-friendly product´s family.
The paper mill Aloisov took the certificate for 77 individual types of paper products including uncoated graphic papers and cartons and special papers based on wood or recycled paper in different colours. Some of the awarded products are certified with Blaue Engel (Blue Angel) or FSC 100% recycled paper.
From left: representative of CENIA - RNDr. Zdeněk Suchánek; representative of EURONA – Lukáš Černý; representative of Aloisov Paper mill - Robert Melecký and the State secretary of the Ministry of the Environment - Ing. Jan Landa.
Power Flower Campaign
The EU Ecolabel is the official pan-European label that allows consumers to identify environmentally friendly quality products and services from cleaning products to footwear and textiles.
Today, with more than 54,000 products and services, the EU-wide recognised EU Ecolabel encourages better sustainable consumption and production choices. This label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal.
A company is authorized to put the EU Ecolabel logo on its products or services only when an independent body recognises that the product or service shows compliance with the strict ecological and performance criteria of the EU Ecolabel. The EU Ecolabel logo is a guarantee of scientific credibility to consumers that the product they are considering for purchase has a lower environmental impact in comparison to similar products on the market. For example, for cosmetics, the EU Ecolabel goes further than legal criteria and prohibits components with a possible endocrine disrupting effect, such as triclosan and paraben. Moreover, in order to avoid allergic reactions, soaps, shampoos and swabs cannot contain perfumes. Every four years on average, the criteria are revised to reflect technical innovation such as evolution of materials or production processes, as well as factors like emission reduction and changes in the market.
To celebrate the EU Ecolabel 25th anniversary the Federal Belgian Minister of the Environment Marie Christine Marghem and the FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment launch a new campaign (poster and radio): ‘The European Ecolabel, Power Flower’, in collaboration with Carrefour, Delhaize, Lidl, Kruidvat and Colora.
Five animals: a bear, a sheep, a squirrel, a chick and a crocodile playfully incentivise the Belgian consumer to become familiar with the EU Ecolabel certified products he can find on the shelves of its local retailers.
For more information: https://www.ecolabel.be
ECO SEAL FOR NATURE – JSC 'SPODRIBA' rinse-off cosmetic eco-line
Earlier this year JSC ‘SPODRIBA’ received the EU Ecolabel for their rinse-off cosmetics line, ECO SEAL FOR NATURE.
Kaspars Gerhards (left), Raimonds Krampans (right)
In order to ensure EU-wide recognition for its environmental engagement in sustainable production, SPODRIBA set forth to implement the EU Ecolabel criteria for rinse-off cosmetic products for the development of their new product line ECO SEAL FOR NATURE that consists of shower gel, shampoo and hand soaps. By complying with the EU Ecolabel’s strict requirements, the company proves that its products meet the highest environmental standards, which provides consumers and clients with an official environmental and quality guarantee for SPODRIBA products. Through the EU Ecolabel certification, these products provide accurate, non-misleading and scientifically sound information on the environmental benefits of products throughout its entire life cycle – from production to disposal.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, underlined that: ‘The prudent use of resources is one of the prerequisites not only for the resource efficiency practises but also for responsible business actions. This certificate is a recognisable sign of responsible business. Companies should be aware of the opportunities and ambitious challenges in order to be acknowledged throughout Europe’.
Upon receipt of the certificate, the Director of SPODRIBA, Raimonds Krampans stated that ‘Over the past few years, we have become convinced that by putting forward sustainable products into the market, we have chosen the right market strategy. As evidenced by the significant sales increase of our eco-line products. Consequently, in the future development of the company the significant role will be given to the development of sustainable products and financial resources will be allocated for the maintaining and improving this line. I also express my gratitude to my team for the patience and energy involved in product certification. ’
Last year, the company diversified the ecological product line ECO SEAL FOR NATURE, by creating a number of eco-cosmetics and detergent products, which have been recognised by stakeholders both in Latvia and abroad. SPODRIBA continues to apply environmentally friendly raw materials within its production lines and formulas, thus positioning itself as a contributor of sustainable production, motivating consumers and clients to consume sustainable and high quality products.
EU Ecolabel Webinar – Simple ways how to promote your EU Ecolabel Products
The EU Ecolabel team organized a free webinar on the simple ways to promote your EU Ecolabel products on 27/11.
You can find the EU Ecolabel Digital Toolkit here: /environment/ecolabel/digital_toolkit.html
Texworld Fair: EU Ecolabel for textile products and circular economy perspectives
The biannual Texworld fair, on the 20th of September in Paris, gave a great opportunity for businesses and producers to get together and discuss innovation within the textile industry.
This leading textile and fashion trade fair which gathers more than 1500 expositor and around 160,000 visitors created a quick and easy way for SMEs and Clusters, actively engaged within the field of textiles, fashion and creative industries, to meet potential business partners and to operate internationally.
For this event, a circular economy workshop was organised by Business Beyond Borders and presented the benefits of actively implementing circular economy principles and engaging with environmental certification schemes for textile producers.
At the event, Kristine Dorosko, policy officer at the Sustainable Production, Products and Consumption Unit, highlighted one specific EU Ecolabel success story: ISKO™ is the only denim mill in the world producing fabrics that have received both the EU Ecolabel and the Nordic Swan certification. Product and process innovation helped the company to achieve the environmental excellence while being a fashion industry trailblazer. The company demonstrated that it is possible for brands to provide certified eco-friendly jeans or piece of clothing without giving up fashion sense and aesthetics.
The workshop also showcased ‘Orange fibres’, a company manufacturing textiles out of oranges peel, also presented how they have developed their business model around circular economy cornerstones and the company "Cotton Colours" currently undergoing the certification process, committed to the environment by using its cotton-by products to produce paper. The company is very much looking forward to receive its licence as certifying its products is often one of the most effective ways for SMEs to demonstrate to customers and retailers that they are meeting high environmental standards.
With more than 2400 certified textile products, the EU Ecolabel, according to its licence holders, helps facing multinationals and gives a competitive advantage when exporting to the EU market.
Luxembourg City: distribution of EU Ecolabel and EMAS certificates
On 5 September 2017 EU Ecolabel and EMAS certificates were handed out for the first time in Luxembourg. The EU Ecolabel certificates were distributed by the Minister for the Environment Carole Dieschbourg to the Camping Toodlermillen in Tadler and to Chemolux McBride in Foetz for a total of 8 different dishwashing tablets. The European Commission and the European Parliament received EMAS certificates for their sites in Luxembourg.
The Court of Justice of the European Union, The European Court of Auditors and the SuperDrecksKëscht also received an EMAS certificate. The Minister for the Environment hopes that with the distribution of these certificates, other companies in Luxembourg will also become aware of the EU Ecolabel and EMAS and will commit to sustainability and active environmental protection.
Basque Ecodesign Meeting 2017 - International event on ecodesign
“Better products & services for a new circular economy”
Every two years, the Basque Ecodesign Center organises an international event on ecodesign, the Basque Ecodesign Meeting BEM2017.
It is one of Europe’s most important ecodesign meetings and attracts nearly five hundred company representatives in the realm of strategic decision-making and interested in introducing ecodesign and product environmental innovation in the policies of their organisations to obtain competitive advantages. Professionals and technicians from the field of product and service industrial design, the university and the public administration also take part.
The 2017 Basque Ecodesign Meeting is going to focus on analysing the implications for the industrial sector of the change of economic model as the result of the transition towards a Circular Economy in Europe, and on how to be in a position to change those challenges into business opportunities and to enhance business competitiveness. Over 120 speakers from different social-economic areas from the public administration to the private sector will be taking part at the 2017 Basque Ecodesign Meeting to analyse those issues. That will be divided into 2 conference days, with three plenary and 12 parallel sessions being held. In short, a conference that is going to turn Bilbao and the Basque Country into one of the best European forum to talk, discuss and agree about the future challenges facing the industrial sector.
Additional information regarding the event can be found here.
Successful Event at RAL on promoting the revised EU Ecolabel for Cleaning products
Almost 40 participants – licence holders and companies interested in applying for the EU Ecolabel - took part on the information event for the EU Ecolabel for washing and cleaning products on August, 23, 2017.
As Competent Body for the European Ecolabel, RAL together with the German Federal Environmental Agency (FEA) have already hosted for the second time an event in the new RAL premises.
Henning Scholtz, Head of Environmental Eco Labelling and President of the EUEB, Dr. Peter Buttner, responsible for the assessment and verification of the Ecolabels at RAL and Marcus Gast of the FEA presented the criteria that products have to fulfil in order to be awarded with the ecolabels and explained the application process and use of the label.
The criteria can be found here.
Additional information regarding the German Competent Body and application process in Germany here.
Powerful eco-labels for European laminate floors
The European Producers of Laminate Flooring have issued a press release stating the importance and advantages of ecolabels in the sector.
Dr. Theo Smet, Commissioner of the EPLF Working Group, has contributed to the development of the EU Ecolabel criteria and is expecting positive impact of this European initiative: "With the new criteria for flooring based on wood, cork or bamboo, the EU Ecolabel can give a clear signal to end-consumers for high quality on the international level. Environment and sustainability can be a convincing sales argument for the European laminate flooring manufacturers."
The criteria can be found here.
Call for expression of interest Boosting the circular economy amongst SMEs in Europe
The European Commission invites: SME support organisations, green solution providers and regional authorities in the European Union to put themselves forward if they are interested in participating in a pilot project providing them respectively with training, support and policy advice regarding resource efficiency, eco-innovation and circular economy.
For this project we are looking for:
If you are interested to participate please look for more information and submit an expression of interest before September 18th September 2017 by filling in the digital application that are located at /environment/funding/circular-economy-smes/
Please feel free to disseminate this information to potentially interested parties in your network!
If you have any further question please write to ENV-PILOT-PROJECT@ec.europa.eu
EU Ecolabel Workshop in Bonn, Germany on 10th July
To encourage wider EU Ecolabel certification within the floor covering and furniture sector the Competent Body for the EU Ecolabel in Germany (RAL gGmbH) organised together with the European Commission a workshop on the new EU Ecolabel criteria for Furniture and Wood-, cork- and bamboo-based floor coverings. Guest speakers from the European Laminate flooring industry and from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) shared their views on challenges and benefits of the EU Ecolabel.
Attending participants from manufacturing sectors, as well as retailers, associations could find out how and why to apply for the EU Ecolabel, one of the most practical tools of the Circular Economy.
The presentations and the agenda of the workshop (in German) can be found here.
EMAS and EU Ecolabel Fitness Check
On 30 June 2017 the Commission adopted a report presenting the conclusions of the extensive evaluation (Fitness Check) of the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and of the EU Ecolabel scheme.
The purpose of the Fitness Check was to analyse the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and the EU added value of the EMAS and EU Ecolabel schemes. In doing so, the Fitness Check assessed if the EU Ecolabel regulation is fit for purpose, whether its objectives have been met and whether implementation has been done in a cost-effective way.
You can find the Commission Report to the European Parliament and to the Council, the Fitness Check and the accompanying documents below:
- Commission Report to the European Parliament and to the Council
- Fitness Check
- Executive Summary of the Fitness Check
- Supporting evaluation study and synthesis report
- Press Release
The first EU Ecolabel SHOWROOM a great success!
Between June 21 and 25, the first EU Ecolabel pop-up venue, The SHOWROOM, landed in the centre of Brussels to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the label. It featured over one hundred of the EU Ecolabel’s most emblematic products and services, from textiles, clothing and furniture, to detergents, cosmetics and paints to name a few.
On 21 June The SHOWROOM was officially opened by Mr Kestutis Sadauskas, Director for Circular Economy and Green Growth, DG Environment, and Mr Henning Scholtz, President of the European Union Ecolabelling Board. The EU Ecolabelling Board and the national EU Ecolabel Competent Bodies were also there.
On 23 June Mr Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, together with Ms Marie-Christine Marghem, Belgian Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development paid an official visit to The SHOWROOM. They demonstrated the effectiveness of EU Ecolabelled products by cleaning The SHOWROOM window with an EU Ecolabelled detergent.
The SHOWROOM provided the opportunity to engage the public in learning more about the EU Ecolabel and the products certified by it. The space had the goal of showcasing how prevalent Europe’s most trusted ecolabel has become after 25 years. There were two animators for the duration of the event who encouraged passers-by to visit the SHOWROOM and who explained the principles of the EU Ecolabel to them.
For 5 days, a series of activities related to sustainable production, products and consumption ran alongside the main exhibition, including workshops on reuse and leading a zero waste lifestyle. 4 school classes also visited The SHOWROOM and were given a presentation on the EU Ecolabel and sustainable products.
There was also a competition to win two nights in an EU Ecolabelled hotel in Bruges.
Plans of similar installations in other European cities are on-going so stay tuned for an EU Ecolabelled SHOWROOM near you!
More pictures can be found here.
Press coverage:French Fashion Touch, 06/2017 , ''ÉCOLABEL AVEC LA COMMISSION EUROPÉENNE, BRUXELLES''
The European Commission DG ENV hosted the third webinar of the EU Ecolabel!
Together with the Belgian and Danish Competent Bodies and Coop Italia, DG Environment explored possibilities to build stronger partnerships with retailers to better promote consumer products with the EU Ecolabel and to showcase how retailers can benefit too by integrating the EU Ecolabel in their CSR and marketing.
Sustainable consumption has become a trend. More and more customers care about where and how their products are made and they want to be sure that their store also cares. But with the mushrooming of green claims and labels, it is difficult for consumers to distinguish between genuine green marketing and green washing. The EU Ecolabel offers advantages to consumers, producers and retailers alike, by providing a clear environmental message and a sound way of communicating companies' commitment to sustainability.
The webinar was well attended by retailers, producers and stakeholders from civil society and concluded by a lively discussion.
You can find the agenda and presentations here; the recording of the webinar is available here. (90 min - mp4, 65 MB).
Sustainable laundry from Holland to Dubai
Millions of liters of cleaning agents leave Spectro every year. Recently, Spectro has received the EU Ecolabel for their Ecodet Laundry Detergents.
This Dutch family company has made professional cleaning agents for over 50 years. When Laurens’ generation took over the company, they chose to go for a new direction. “We are always moving forward,” says CEO Laurens Metternich, “Sustainability and innovation are core values for us.”
Intelligent dosing system
Laurens continues, “Now we offer highly concentrated laundry detergents in an intelligent dosing system, which is connected to the washing machine. The user will dose the laundry detergent with the simple touch of a button. Overdosing becomes a thing from the past. In addition, you can monitor the amount of laundry product used. The dispenser is also energy neutral: it has a special battery and a solar panel so that it can recharge itself.”
EU Ecolabel = Recognition
With this product, Spectro is aiming for semi-professional washing machines. Metternich explains, “For example care homes, sports clubs, restaurants, hotels or contract cleaners. We have made the system as user-friendly as possible, with simple colour coding for the different types of products. We wanted the EU Ecolabel because for us it means recognition and it is broadly accepted in tenders from the government and other organisations.”
Finding the right fragrance
“The certification of the two laundry detergents went fairly smoothly”, says Metternich. “We already have a lot of products with the EU Ecolabel, which made it easier for us. The biggest challenge was to find a fragrance that keeps the fibres fresh and meets the EU Ecolabel requirements at the same time. With the help of our fragrance supplier we were successful and we have received the certificate for these products”.
Growth market in Dubai
Metternich has high expectations for this product: “It’s market is expanding more and more throughout Europe and even outside of Europe. An important growth market is Dubai. It’s not what you would expect, but there is a lot of interest in sustainable products over there. And for them the EU Ecolabel is reliable proof for a sustainable product with high quality”.
Win a beautiful set of EU Ecolabel organic cotton towels!
The Austrian Competent Body is organising a competition to celebrate 25 years of the EU Ecolabel and YOU can participate and win! The prize is a high quality set of EU Ecolabelled organic cotton towels (bath towel, hand towel and washcloth) from Framsohn.
Enter here to win.
The contest runs until April 23rd 2017.
Recycled polyester made from used plastic bottles - new EU Ecolabel awards for Camira
Coinciding with the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the EU Ecolabel, UK based interior textile designer and manufacturer Camira have been awarded the EU Ecolabel for their latest wool and polyester fabric launches.
Camira’s first EU Ecolabel accreditation originally came in 2011 for a collection of recycled polyester fabrics. They have since expanded their certificate to include 17 different product ranges. Most recently in 2017, they have achieved certification for new fabrics Patina, Synergy, Synergy 170, Individuo and Rivet.
Launched in February 2017, Patina is Camira’s newest performance wool and flax blend available in 43 different colourways. Synergy is made from premium New Zealand wool and available in 75 shades. Panel fabric Synergy 170 is available in 24 carefully selected Synergy colours and Individuo has a fluid, graduated appearance where no two areas of the fabric are same. Rivet meanwhile is made from 100% REPREVE®, a brand of recycled polyester made from used plastic bottles, Rivet celebrates Camira’s 20 years’ experience in designing and manufacturing recycled fabrics.
Paul Arnold, Sustainability Manager at Camira commented, “Sustainability considerations are at the heart of our design and manufacturing processes. We’re proud to have our developments in environmental innovation recognised by the EU Ecolabel, which allows textile specifiers to create fully certified fabric schemes for commercial interiors.”
Environmental and skin friendly: EU Ecolabel for liquid soap "Ecosan" by Peter Greven Physioderm (PGP)
The German Competent Body visited the company in Euskirchen as PGP has received the EU Ecolabel for their B2B liquid soap last year. The visit was used to congratulate PGP for their environmental engagement that by far exceeds the legal requirements and is best communicated by the voluntary EU Ecolabel.
"Consumers are increasingly interested in buying products that are better for the environment. But they also want products with a high quality" says Henning Scholtz from the German Competent Body RAL gGmbH, who awarded PGP the premium Ecolabel. Health related issues are important for professional skin cleaners that are used several times a day. PGP liquid soap is also skin friendly and suitable for people who suffer from allergies.
Bert Nolte (PGP), Henning Scholtz (RAL), Robert Bornicke (PGP)
Happy birthday to us and them!
23rd of March is a big day for EU companies and consumers! It's been 25 years since the EU Ecolabel scheme was launched and adopted in EU law as a voluntary ecolabel award scheme. 25 years on, and the EU Ecolabel continues to help consumers lead a healthier, safer and more sustainable lifestyle across Europe and beyond. There are 40 000 EU Ecolabel products and services currently covered by the scheme. For your company it:
- CERTIFIES that your product is among the most environmentally-friendly in its class
- DIFFERENCIATES your product on the global market
- SHOWCASES your company's CSR and commitments to sustainable production, and
- CONTRIBUTES to achieving a circular economy.
The EU Ecolabel appreciates all the licence holders and partners that believe in sustainability and help us promoting the heathy and responsible lifestyle amongst EU citizens and companies.
Applications open: EU Ecolabel National Awards 2017
The Italian Ecolabel-Ecoaudit Committee and ISPRA, the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, encourage all current license holders to apply for the EU Ecolabel Awards for:
1) The best communication campaign relating to a product or service certified in Italy, which has contributed to increasing the recognition of the label
2) The most innovative product or service from an environmental perspective (in terms of design, use, etc.)
License holders can apply to one or both of the awards. Winners will be selected for each enterprise category (micro, small and medium enterprises, large enterprises).
More information can be found here.
Applications must be received by April 30th, 2017.
Great success for the round table on environmental product certifications with focus on EU Ecolabel at H3i
On the 8th of March 2017, Punto 3 Srl held a roundtable in collaboration with GSA - the Journal of Environmental Services themed ''Environmental product certifications: a market opportunity?'' as part of the H3i - Household, Industrial & Institutional Ingredients Event. Within a lively and dynamic format, the speakers discussed a very sensitive topic in front of a numerous and interested audience.
The panel was composed of: Walter Bertozzi (Certiquality), Gianluca Cesarei (Ispra - Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), Massimiliano Fadin (Per Pulire), Salvatore Inglese (Sutter Professional), Massimo Grignani (Werner & Mertz) and Maria Cristina Poggesi (Ippr - Institute for the Promotion of recycled plastic).
Environmental certifications were the focus of the debate, starting of course from EU Ecolabel, which is increasingly considered as a commercial opportunity, as well as a tool for protecting the environment and human health. Moreover, the audience was informed about the contents of the next Ecolabel criteria on detergents, which will soon be published. During the conference some meaningful evolutions have been predicted, such as the possibility of selling detergents in recycled plastic containers, with similar performance to traditional ones.
The European Commission DG ENV and JRC IPTS hosted the second webinar of the 2017 webinar series on March 9th for the rinse off cosmetic product group.
With growing consumer demand for environmentally neutral and socially responsible personal care products, and a market where sustainability is the new norm, it is the perfect time for companies leading in corporate social responsibility to become recognised with a reliable environmental label.
To encourage wider EU Ecolabel certification within the rinse off cosmetics product group, the EU Ecolabel team hosted another promotional webinar, explaining the criteria, the certification process, and the support tools available for potential applicants. The webinar was well-attended by industry stakeholders, retailers, chambers of commerce and cosmetics/chemicals associations and followed by a lively Q&A.
The recording of the webinar is available here (68 min - mp4, 112 MB).
Keep an eye out for future webinars and workshops on specific product groups, which will also be available for anyone to attend.
1st AHWG meeting for the revision of EU Ecolabel for the products group Lubricants
1st AhWG for Lubricants product group was organised by JRC Circular Economy and Industrial Leadership unit in Seville. It was attended by high number of stakeholders, industry representatives and NGOs. JRC has presented preliminary report that includes revision of scope and definition and range of improvements for the current criteria set in order to increase the ambition level and improve the environmental performance of lubricants product group. Mainstreaming and simplification of verification process is also one of the goals.
Stakeholders can provide comments on technical report and criteria proposals by the end of February. 2nd AhWG is planned for October 2017 and final report for 2018.
Revised EU Ecolabel criteria published by the European Commission on 2nd of February
In the Circular Economy Action Plan the Commission has pledged to take action to enhance the uptake of the EU Ecolabel. Following up on this, on 25 January 2017, the Commission has adopted a revised set of criteria for the service group "Tourism Accommodation" and product group "Wood-, Cork- and Bamboo-based Floor Coverings", in accordance with the EU Ecolabel Regulation.
Tourist Accommodation services (Decision 2017/175/EC): The new simplified service group will help EU citizens who want to travel sustainably and make an informed decision about their accommodation. The criteria, which were drafted in collaboration with several Commission services, stakeholders and industry, address present-day environmental hotspots of the hotels sector such as energy and water consumption, and waste generation. Criteria also address the problem of food waste and propose measures like: educating the guests on food waste, monitoring of food waste, preventive actions against food waste, as well as encouraging accommodations to provide local and seasonal products. For the first time criteria also address the social dimension by including new requirements related to employee minimum wage, insurance and working hours. Currently, there are 796 licences that are held by individual entrepreneurs or big hotel groups, please see our catalogue to discover the range of EU Ecolabel hotels.
A new product group "Wood-, Cork- and Bamboo-based Floor Coverings" is replacing the previous criteria for "Wooden Floor Coverings". The new criteria require that most of the virgin wood, cork and bamboo used in the finished products originate from certified sustainably managed forests. In addition, the Commission has updated a set of requirements to ensure lower energy consumption for manufacturing. Furthermore, the new criteria limit the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) content of some raw materials; ban the use of flame retardants as well as other harmful chemicals. Currently only an Italian manufacturer "Lignum Venetia"that represents this product group, but knowing the potential of the wooden sector, the European Commission together with the JRC Circular Economy & Industrial Leadership team is planning to organise a series of workshops to increase the number of licences. The first one targeting the wood product sector will take place in Germany during the first half of the year.
MEP breakfast on food waste reduction - 31 January 2017 - European Parliament
Today MEP Biljana Borzan and HOTREC invited stakeholders from the hospitality sector to present initiatives on tackling food waste.
HOTREC, the umbrella association of national trade associations representing the hotels, restaurants, cafés and similar establishments in Europe, developed guidelines for hospitality establishments to reduce food waste.
Last week, new criteria for the EU Ecolabel for tourist accommodations have been adopted by the European Commission. They focus on addressing present day environmental hotspots of the hotel sector (e.g. water and energy consumption, and waste generation) also addressing requirements on food waste reduction. Measures include monitoring of food waste, preventative actions and educating guests. They also encourage accommodations to provide local, seasonal and organic products.
The EU Ecolabel gives excellence recognition to those organisations that reduce the environmental impact of their activities. The EU Ecolabel welcomes HOTREC's guidelines as they complement the EU Ecolabel requirements and offer practical measures for reducing food waste in the hospitality sector.
The European Commission launched its first webinar on EU Ecolabel for Personal, Notebook and Tablet Computers on the 23rd of January 2017
The European Commission recently adopted new EU Ecolabel criteria for computers (personal, notebook and tablet computers). These new criteria make the EU Ecolabel a leader in promoting a circular economic model by improving energy efficiency, restricting hazardous substances and encouraging designs that lead to a longer product lifetime and make repairs, upgrade and recycling easier.
To encourage wider EU Ecolabel certification within the computers sector, the EU Ecolabel team hosted a promotional webinar explaining the new criteria, the certification process and the support tools available for potential applicants, such as the Competent Bodies and the Computer User Manual. The webinar was well attended and was followed by a lively Q&A session.
Keep an eye out for future webinars and workshops on specific product groups, which will also be available for anyone to attend.
Ecolabel Awarding Ceremony, Vienna, Austria
Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter awarded the EU and Austrian Ecolabels to 30 environmentally-friendly companies during the Ecolabel Awarding Ceremony in Vienna, Austria. The event took place at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management on December 20th, 2016.
Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter with an award recipient
Rupprechter emphasized the importance of what the Ecolabel stands for: ''These companies combine sustainable business with entrepreneurial success. They stand for environmental compatibility and high quality, their ecological commitment goes far beyond legal requirements.''
Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter presenting about the EU and Austrian Ecolabels
Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter with an award recipient
Products or services of the following companies were awarded with the EU Ecolabel during the ceremony:
- Ueberreuter Print & Packaging GmbH (Austria)
- Paul Gerin GmbH & Co KG (Austria)
- VIGL-DRUCK GmbH (Austria)
- BUCHER AG MOTOREX Schmiertechnik (Switzerland)
Hand Dishwashing Detergents
- Tana-Chemie Gmbh (Germany)
- Swiss Quality Paper AG
Tourist Accommodation Services
- Hotel Schani (Austria)
National Quality Awards Ceremony at Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The National Quality Awards Ceremony took place at the Prague Castle on November 22nd, 2016. The best performing companies and organizations were awarded national quality awards and the National Award of the Czech Republic for social responsibility and sustainable development. Two of the national quality awards are the EU Ecolabel and the Czech Ecolabel. This ceremony had the patronage of Czech President Milos Zeman, chairman of the Senate Petr Pithart, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek, and many other distinguished guests. It also saw active participation of businesses, representatives of business associations and organizations, and the media.
National Quality Awards Ceremony at Prague Castle, Czech Republic
CENIA, the Czech Environmental Information Agency has decided to highlight and reward two organizations this year, Triangl and SEVER.
Triangl, A.S. has achieved the EU Ecolabel in the printed paper product group, as the third organization in the Czech Republic. The Triangl a.s. company is one of the most important and best-equipped printing companies in the Czech Republic, with more than 20 years' experience. This company is also certified in ISO 9001:2009, PEFC, FSC.
The Environmental Education Centre SEVER in Tradition, Outdoors and Culture House TOUCH (DOTEK) and in the building of school in Horní Maršov - this organization obtained the EU Ecolabel certificate for the Tourist Accommodation Services product group. They also achieved the Czech Ecolabel 'Environmentally friendly service'. SEVER is one of the largest and oldest Czech non-governmental organizations in the field of environmental and development education (sustainability education), which is situated in the highest mountains and the oldest national park of the Czech Republic, the Krkonoše Mountains.
From left: representative of SEVER; Deputy Minister for Section of EU Funds, Economic and Voluntary Instruments at the Ministry of Environment - Ing. Jan Kříž; Director of Technical Environmental Protection Department of CENIA - RNDr. Jan Prášek; and representative of Triangl, A.S.
Global Ecolabelling Network commits to growth, consistency and leadership
The EU Ecolabel team attended the Annual General Meeting of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) in Kiev, Ukraine (October 18-20, 2016). Within the framework of the event the presentation on Circular Economy package and its main principles and how the EU Ecolabel can acts as a pioneer in promoting circular economy was given by European Commission.
GEN currently has a network of over 30 members, associates and affiliates, spread across some 60 countries and territories. It is the world's pre-eminent network of ISO-defined "Type 1" ecolabels.
Press conference: European standards for sustainable Development of Ukraine new directions, new opportunities: interpreter, Svetlana Berzina (Green Mind), Kristine Dorosko (European Commission), Ulf Jaeckel (Federal Ministry for Environment Germany), Björn-Erik Lönn (Nordic Swan)
Successful participation or partnership is to be continued or increased with compatible international organisations and programmes, such as UNEP-10YFP (the UN Environment Programme 10 year framework of programmes), GIZ programmes (the German agency for international cooperation for sustainable development) and the World Green Building Council.
Delegates voted to accept the application of software giant Google Inc. for affiliate membership. The information technology company has introduced a green procurement policy consistent with the most stringent sustainability requirements of GEN, and in its application has vowed to support the network in its outreach.
Over the three days, members also attended workshops on communications, strategic outreach and ecolabel effectiveness measurement, and discussed a pilot mobile device app for recognising ecolabelled products, developed and presented by the Russian Vitality Leaf programme.
Global Green Destination Day - Ljubljana, Slovenia (27-28 September 2016)
The EU Ecolabel was given recognition to sustainable tourist accommodations and campsites across Europe. It is a proud partner of the 2016 Global Green Destinations Day, and the European Commission joined the celebration of World Tourism Day in Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016. To get more insight of the event, check the following link : http://greendestinationsday.com/word-partnereu-ecolabel/
A new search portal for EU Ecolabel products and tourist Accommodations is coming soon...
The EU Ecolabel Catalogue (ECAT) is undergoing a mass update to have a fresh new look! The Catalogue is a search portal that makes it easier to sport out the product, see the pictures of the product and read more information on your selected product. The EU Ecolabel Product Catalogue and Tourist Accommodation Catalogue are now separated, bringing about refined search results with its optimised drop down menus and search boxes. There will be also a mobile friendly version and you will be able to browse through our product range directly from you smartphone.
EU Ecolabel and EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) assessed under REFIT
The Commissions Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) aims to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of specific parts of the EU acquis. The EU Ecolabel and EMAS Regulations have been selected to be part of this exercise. The results are expected by the end of 2016.
Read the August 2016 press release on the European Commission's newest set of ecological criteria, adopted under the existing EU Ecolabel scheme for the product groups of: Furniture, Footwear and Computers.
From now on, manufacturers of footwear, furniture and computers (personal, notebook and tablet computers) who wish to benefit from the EU Ecolabel will have to comply with strict requirements that focus on the environmental performance of the product, but also cover product safety and social aspects.
Discover the shortlist for the LIFE 2016 funding
The EU LIFE programme offers funding possibilities for projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.
Under the LIFE "traditional projects" category, LIFE may fund best-practice, demonstration, pilot or information, awareness and dissemination projects.