Examples of Environmental Labeling Programs
The European Commission introduced the EU ecolabel in 1992 to enable consumers in the 15 member states of the EU, as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland to recognize environmentally friendly products by means of a common ecolabel. The environmental criteria forming the basis of the award of an ecolabel are the result of scientific studies and comprehensive consultations with the different economic and social parties involved, such as industrial associations, environmental organizations, consumer representatives, and trade unions.
The environmental criteria are defined in a way that allows up to 30 percent of the products in the market for a certain product group to be awarded an environmental label. This guarantees that there are products in the market that will qualify for the environmental label. Prior to the award of the European Ecolabel to an individual product, the environmental criteria for a certain product group must have been adopted by a majority of the member states and by the European Commission.
Since early November 2001, more than 350 products have been awarded the European Environmental Label. Today, products of 17 different categories can be awarded the European ecolabel—from hygiene papers to washing machines. For more information, see the European Ecolabel’s website.