How to apply for EU Ecolabel
You have decided to market your green products with the EU Ecolabel? Congratulations, you have made the right choice! Learn how to apply for the EU Ecolabel in the following seven steps.
Pre-application: Understanding the EU Ecolabel
Which products and services are eligible?
Every product or service supplied for distribution, consumption or use in the European Economic Area market (European Union plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) and included in one of the established non-food and non-medical product groups, is eligible for the EU Ecolabel.
Check the list of established product and service groups and their related product and service criteria to find out if your product or service fits within the scope of any of the established product or service groups and complies with the respective specific criteria. If your product or service is not included in this list, you can consider applying for a new product group proposal. Please contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk in case you need assistance in finding the right product or service group suitable for your purpose.
Who can apply?
Producers, manufacturers, importers, service providers, wholesalers and retailers that produce products or provide services that fit within any of the established product and service group criteria are eligible to apply. Retailers can apply for products placed on the market under their own brand name.
Step 1: Contact Your Competent Body
Once you have found the criteria relevant to your product or service and are ready to start your application, contact your Competent Body. Your Competent Body is the independent organisation responsible for assessing, awarding, and managing EU Ecolabel applications and licences on the national level. Your Competent Body provides guidance on the documents needed for your dossier, such as declarations, data sheets, and test results. Recommendations on product testing laboratories that are ISO 17025 accredited or equivalent are shared, along with any relevant technical expertise needed to complete your application.
How to identify your Competent Body?
Your product or service is made or located within the European Economic Area (European Union plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) -> Contact the Competent Body from the country in which the product originates or where your service is located.
Your product or service is made or located outside the European Economic Area -> Contact the Competent Body in one of the countries where your product is marketed or will be placed on the market.
Step 2: Product and service registration on the online EU Ecolabel Catalogue, ECAT
The EU Ecolabel product and service catalogue is a database that is designed to provide stakeholders with the lists of valid services or products per producer and retailers, along with its corresponding product or service information. This catalogue is also a marketing tool to promote products and services to consumers.
The ECAT is the reference point for stakeholders to check licence validity. All licence holders are responsible for registering their products and services on the online EU Ecolabel product and service catalogue (ECAT) to ensure licence traceability.
To register products and services, follow the instructions on the ECAT User Manual, downloadable in all official EU languages. If you have any problems using the system, contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk.
Step 3: Product and service testing to build application dossier
An application dossier is required from all applicants in order to assess criteria compliance. The list of relevant declarations, data sheets and test results is laid out in each product or service group User Manual which can be found under the respective tabs in the full list of established product groups. Your Competent Body will verify that all submitted information is accurate and substantiated and will carry out any further tests if necessary.
Whenever the assessment and verification of EU Ecolabel criteria requires product tests, please note the general guidance:
- All test and independent verification costs for criteria compliance must be met by you as the applicant. Ask your Competent Body for more information about verification costs.
- Whenever the assessment and verification of EU Ecolabel criteria requires product tests, those tests should be preferably performed by laboratories that meet the general requirements of EN ISO 17025 or equivalent, for that specific test. More information on testing methods can be found in the “Guidelines for a procedure for checking the criteria in respect of applications: use of test laboratories”. A list of accredited laboratories for most European countries is available on the European Accreditation Corporation’s website.
Contact your Competent Body if you need any additional information concerning which laboratory to use.
- Submit all relevant information about your selected laboratory to your Competent Body for approval of the laboratory.
Step 4: Application submission and fees
At this stage, you will have submitted your paper application to your Competent Body and have completed your online EU Ecolabel catalogue registration.
The EU Ecolabel is designed to be as low cost as possible. However, as the costs of running the scheme vary between Competent Bodies and from one product to another, fees may vary accordingly.
Visit the Competent Body EU Ecolabel Fees page for exact fares per Competent Body or contact your Competent Body for a more precise cost estimate. Reduced fees are available for SMEs, micro-enterprises and companies from developing countries**.
The table below presents the requirements on maximum fees established in the EU Ecolabel Regulation.
|Type of applicants*||
One-off application fee (€)**
Annual fee (€)***
SMEs and firms from developing countries****
All other companies
* Refer to the Commission Recommendation of 6 May, 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
** 30% reduction for companies registered under EMAS or 15% reduction for companies certified under ISO 14001 can be applied. Reductions are not cumulative and only the higher reduction applies where both systems are met.
*** Annual fees can be a flat fee or a fee based on the annual value of sales within the EU for the product awarded the EU Ecolabel. Where the annual fee is calculated as a percentage of the annual sales value, it will not be more than 0,15 % of that value. In the case of SMEs, micro-enterprises or applicants from developing countries, the annual fee is reduced by at least 25 %.
**** Discover the complete list of developing countries. Please note that Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are not eligible for a fee reduction.
Step 5: Assessment
After receiving your application, your Competent Body examines all submitted documentation, including any material sent directly by your suppliers and gives initial feedback within a two month period. At that time, additional documentation may be requested. Competent Bodies can reject an application if sufficient documentation is not received within 6 months of any request for further information.
After all documentation has been approved, your Competent Body may carry out an on-site visit to your or your suppliers’ sites. The Competent Body judges the necessity of this on-site visit on a case-by-case basis and may charge a fee for it. Contact your Competent Body for more information.
Step 6: Application approval and licence award
Once you have signed the contract, a certificate can be asked for/will be sent, depending on the Competent Body. This certificate will detail:
- the licence number that can be used with the EU Ecolabel logo;
- the legal name of the applicant;
- the services or range of products awarded the EU Ecolabel;
- all relevant trade names under which the product is sold or the service is marketed.
Your Competent Body will give you the final validation on when the EU Ecolabel logo and your licence number can be used on your EU Ecolabel services and products that have met the criteria.
As a licence holder, it is your responsibility to ensure criteria compliance throughout the entire validity of your licence(s). Your Competent Body will explain how often test samples of your product should be conducted in order to proactively verify criteria compliance.
Based on the discretion of your Competent Body, they may carry out factory inspections and product tests or visit your service. These inspections are intended to ensure that the environmental excellence is maintained for consumers.
You or your supplier will need to keep a journal of all tests conducted along with their results. This documentation should be available at all times and may be requested by your Competent Body.
If the Competent Body receives evidence that your product or service no longer complies with the criteria during the validity period, the Competent Body will request an immediate Corrective Action Plan or will prohibit the use of the EU Ecolabel on that product.
Step 7: Communicate about your EU Ecolabel products and services
Take full advantage of the EU Ecolabel through advertising and communication by ensuring that the EU Ecolabel logo and your licence number are visible on your product or service and on all related promotional material. Please contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk or your Competent Body to request high resolution files of the EU Ecolabel logo and refer to the EU Ecolabel Logo Guidelines guidance on how to correctly use the logo.
Clear digital presence about your EU Ecolabel licence on your company website (by visibly presenting the EU Ecolabel logo and licence number on your homepage along with a dedicated page on your environmental commitment), can offer heightened visibility of your environmental and quality commitment via the EU Ecolabel. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) is an optimal portal to multiply communication about your EU Ecolabel logo. Do not forget to connect with and follow the official EU Ecolabel Facebook and Twitter pages and send an email to the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk with your social media page links for a chance to be featured.
EU Ecolabel product and service catalogue
Ensure that you have registered your products on the EU Ecolabel Product Catalogue or Tourist Accommodation Catalogue. This database, which is designed to provide stakeholders with lists of valid services or products per producer and retailers, is also a viable marketing tool to promote products and services to consumers.
Refer to “Step 2: Product and service registration on the online EU Ecolabel Catalogue”, on this page for guidance on how to register your products and services on the ECAT.
Get featured on official EU Ecolabel publications and website
The bi-annual EU Ecolabel News Alert ‘Company Profile’ section features a licence holder within the particular News Alert theme.
Success Story publications are created to give a focalised spotlight on all aspects of a licence holder’s journey with the EU Ecolabel; focusing on quantitative returns on investment along with energy, water, and resource savings.
The EU Ecolabel Videos page is a collection of videos about the EU Ecolabel, including licence holder company videos where the EU Ecolabel is highlighted.
Contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk if you want to highlight an outstanding initiative of your company in the context of the EU Ecolabel. Any of the abovementioned publications provide a great marketing opportunity for committed licence holders to share their success with the EU Ecolabel to relevant stakeholders.
Ask your Competent Body to share any relevant marketing, promotional and communication material available on the national level for further assistance in marketing your product or service.
- EU Ecolabel Logo Guidelines
- ECAT User Manual for Licence Holders
- Marketing guide
- Presentation: EU Ecolabel Masterclass by Solitaire Townsend, Futerra Sustainability Communications Ltd. (September 2009)
- Eurobarometer Survey “Europeans’ attitudes towards the issue of sustainable consumption and production” (April 2009)