Established in 1992 and recognized throughout Europe and the world, the EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence awarded to products and services that meet high environmental standards throughout their lifecycle: from raw material extraction to production, distribution and disposal. The EU Ecolabel supports the circular economy by encouraging manufacturers to produce less waste and CO2 in the production process. EU Ecolabel criteria also encourage companies to develop products that are durable, easy to repair and recycle.
The EU Ecolabel criteria provide important guidelines for companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact and ensure the efficiency of their environmental actions through third party controls. In addition, many companies refer to the EU Ecolabel criteria for guidance on eco-friendly best practices when developing their product lines.
The functioning of the EU Eco Label is determined by the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council . Its day-to-day management is carried out by the European Commission together with the bodies of the Member States and other stakeholders.
The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary programme; This means that manufacturers, importers and retailers can apply for labels for their products.
The life cycle of a product begins with the extraction or cultivation of raw materials such as cotton (for textiles) or wood (for paper products). When the product is disposed of or recycled, manufacturing and packaging continues through distribution, use, and finally to the “lifetime” stage.
When developing the EU Ecolabel criteria for products, the focus is on the stages where the product has the highest environmental impact and this differs from product to product.
Looking at textiles, for example, fabrics have strong environmental impacts when they are dyed, printed and bleached. That’s why experts have designed benchmarks for textiles to ensure that damage in the production phase is reduced as much as possible. For other products, such as detergents, the ingredients that go into the products are one of the main priority areas. Other products, such as electronic equipment, have a very high environmental impact at the time of use, so the criteria will focus on the efficiency of their energy consumption.
In addition, product-specific criteria ensure that any product bearing the EU Ecolabel is of high quality and high performance.