The European Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme, established in 1992 to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. Products and services awarded the Ecolabel carry the flower logo, allowing consumers - including public and private purchasers - to identify them easily. Today the EU Ecolabel covers a wide range of products and services, with further groups being continuously added. Product groups include cleaning products, appliances, paper products, textile and home and garden products, lubricants and services such as tourist accommodation.
While the logo may be simple, the environmental criteria behind it are tough, and only the very best products, which are kindest to the environment, are entitled to carry the EU Ecolabel.
What is more, this is a label that consumers can genuinely trust. The criteria are agreed at European level, following wide consultation with experts, and the label itself is only awarded after verification that the product meets these high environmental and performance standards.
The EU Ecolabel is a rapidly growing brand. Many producers wanting to sell their products across Europe have realised the benefits that the European Ecolabel brings. Products bearing the Flower logo can be marketed throughout the European Union and the EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
The voluntary nature of the scheme means that it does not create barriers to trade. On the contrary - many producers find that it gives them a competitive advantage.
Ecolabel criteria are not based on one single factor, but on studies which analyse the impact of the product or service on the environment throughout its life-cycle, starting from raw material extraction in the pre-production stage, through to production, distribution and disposal.
The flower logo helps manufacturers, retailers and service providers gain recognition for good standards, while helping purchasers to make reliable choices. The EU Ecolabel is part of a broader action plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy adopted by the Commission on 16 July 2008.
Cooperation between the EU Ecolabel - the "Flower"- and retailers is fruitful for all retail stakeholders. In fact, it answers consumers' demands, promotes "green" retailers, and develops the dissemination of the EU Ecolabel. If you are a retailer, you can join the scheme and discover the advantages of having the flower blooming in your shops very soon! What are the advantages of the EU Ecolabel for retailers? According to a study led by BEUC (the European Consumers' Organisation): "Consumers are drowning in green claims made by producers of different articles on the European market. The result being that consumers do not know which labels to trust or they have given up trying to understand the difference between them". To answer the customer's expectations official ecolabels are the best solution, guaranteeing a high level of transparency, reliability and scientific credibility! Four good reasons to join the EU Ecolabel to benefit from its added value:
1. The EU Ecolabel reinforces the trust of the clients;
2. The EU Ecolabel makes the difference with competitors;
3. The EU Ecolabel - marketing tool - gives support to an image of a responsible company towards consumers and local authorities;
4. The EU Ecolabel simplifies relationships with suppliers.
Why are retailers important for the development of the EU Ecolabel?
Retailers are the link between producers and consumers. They can therefore have a significant impact on the development of the EU Ecolabel by:
• Strongly encouraging, or requesting suppliers to apply for the EU Ecolabel for their products;
• Placing the products on the shelves in the stores in the most visible way for consumers;
• Integrating the EU Ecolabel in their communication campaigns;
• Informing the consumer so that he/she makes a green choice.