Environment

Swedish eco-label offers detailed certification schemes

08/05/2015
Swedish eco-label offers detailed certification schemes

The Swedish eco-label

In particular, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), which first issued the label in 1988, has developed criteria for biofuels, electricity supply, district heating and insurance, as well as transport and logistics. In these areas, varying environmental criteria must be met in order to qualify for the label:

  • For biofuels, criteria have been set based on the amount of non-renewable energy used to extract, process and transport the biofuels, and on the presence of chemicals in, for example, wood pellets. In this area, the label can be applied to pellets, charcoal and biogas.
  • For electricity, certification goes further than simply ensuring that power comes from renewable sources. It also has criteria on, for example, the siting of wind turbines away from sensitive bird habitats, and ensuring that hydropower does not damage aquatic life.
  • For district heating, certification also ensures that biomass used in generating heat is properly sourced with respect for wildlife and, for example, that biomass from genetically modified crops is not used.
  • For insurance, the eco-label certifies that premiums are invested in sustainable industries, and that if insurers pay for the repair of homes or vehicles, the work is done using sustainable materials, while damaged material is recycled wherever possible.
  • For transport of passengers and goods, the label emphasises low greenhouse gas emissions and the efficiency of logistics to ensure that vehicles do not travel unnecessarily.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation carries out the certification of goods and services, as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure environmental standards are maintained. Certification under the scheme involves life-cycle analysis. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation also emphasises continual improvement, and seeks to work with companies that are awarded the eco-label to progressively tighten the environmental criteria.

The Good Environmental Choice label currently applies to about 700 products and services. Sweden is the home of the label, but it can also be found in Denmark, Finland and Norway. The scheme is one of several in Scandinavia. Others include the Nordic Ecolabel, promoted by the Nordic Council of Ministers and known for its swan logo, and the Miljönär (Millionaire) label, a new certification scheme established by the Swedish Waste Management trade association. The Miljönär label promotes products and services that emphasise reuse and minimise waste.

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