Ecolabelling is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification and labelling that is practised around the world. An ecolabel identifies products or services proven environmentally preferable overall, within a specific product or service category.
Eco-labels and Green Stickers are labeling systems for food and consumer products. Ecolabels are voluntary, but green stickers are mandated by law; for example, in North America major appliances and automobiles use Energy Star. They are a form of sustainability measurement directed at consumers, intended to make it easy to take environmental concerns into account when shopping. Some labels quantify pollution or energy consumption by way of index scores or units of measurement, while others assert compliance with a set of practices or minimum requirements for sustainability or reduction of harm to the environment. Many ecolabels are focused on minimising the negative ecological impacts of primary production or resource extraction in a given sector or commodity through a set of good practices that are captured in a sustainability standard. Through a verification process, usually referred to as “certification”, a farm, forest, fishery, orbel.
GEN members operate some of the world’s strongest ecolabels.
In contrast to “green” symbols, or claim statements developed by manufacturers and service providers, the most credible labels are awarded by an impartial third party for specific products or services that have been independently determined to meet transparent environmental leadership criteria, based on life-cycle considerations.
The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has identified three broad types of voluntary labels, with ecolabelling fitting under the strongest Type 1 designation.
a voluntary, multiple-criteria based, third party program that awards a license that authorises the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations
informative environmental self-declaration claims
voluntary programs that provide quantified environmental data of a product, under pre-set categories of parameters set by a qualified third party and based on life cycle assessment, and verified by that or another qualified third party
Ecolabelling systems exist for both food and consumer products. Both systems were started by NGOs, since then the European Union have developed legislation for conduct of ecolabelling and also have created their own ecolabels, one for food and one for consumer products. At least for food, the ecolabel is nearly identical with the common NGO definition of the rules for ecolabelling. Label trust is an issue for consumers because as manufacturers and manufacturing associations have set up “rubber stamp” labels to greenwash their products with fake ecolabels. High trust levels can be created when ecolabels apply for Governmental recognition as formal Certification Marks [recognized by logos or names with ‘CTM’, CM or ‘CertTM’]. Typically this means schemes approved as a Certification Mark, have had the Government Department responsible declare that the scheme has a standard and certifies that they are ‘Competent to Certify’. The highest trust levels would be a government recognized certification mark that was also compliant with key ISO standards especially ISO 14024- Type 1 Ecolabels that undertake ISO 14040 compliant life cycle analysis as part of their assessment.Type I ecolabels are voluntary labels that signify overall environmental preference of a product or services based on life-cycle considerations that address multiple environmental criteria, which are based on transparent standards for environmental preferability, verified by a qualified organization.
Technical University of Munich (TUM)