The European Ecolabel is an ecolabel awarded to products and services that distinguish themselves by their reduced environmental impact.
The products and services under this label are produced in a manner that limits their environmental impact from the beginning to the end of their life cycle.
The Ecolabel enables consumers to recognise more environmentally friendly and healthier products and services, and businesses to demonstrate their ecological commitment.Businesses interested in receiving the label for one or more of their products or services have to apply to the Environment Agency.
Who is concerned
Each producer, manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, retailer or service provider wishing to highlight the reduced environmental impact of their products or services can submit an application to the European Ecolabel.
The range of products and services which are eligible for the European Ecolabel contains a very large selection of products (e.g. cleaning products, paint, electronic devices) and services (e.g. camping and accommodation services) which are consumed or used against payment or free of charge, and is detailed on the list of products or services which are eligible for the ecolabel on the website of the European Commission.
However, food products, pharmaceutical products and medical equipment are excluded from the Ecolabel.
Before preparing the application, applicants are required to check whether their product or service is eligible and meets the set criteria for the European Ecolabel.
To this end, applicants can consult the list of product groups concerned as it also contains the user manuals for the application process specific to each product group or service.Businesses are recommended to contact the EMAS / European Ecolabel Service of the Environment Agency from the beginning of their application process in order to receive assistance, namely with regard to the definition of the criteria and the supporting documents which must be attached to the application.
Applicants are subject to the payment of a fee before they can start using the European Ecolabel on their products and promotional material.
The amount of the fee varies depending on the size of the business:
- EUR 250 for micro-businesses;
- EUR 500 for small and medium-sized businesses;
- EUR 1,000 for other businesses.
The fee is reduced by:
- 30 % for businesses who are registered in the EMAS system;
- 15 % for businesses who are ISO 14001 certified.
These reductions can not be cumulated. If both conditions are met, the highest discount will be applied.
Moreover, applicants must cover all costs related to testing and evaluation procedures concerning the conformity with the European Ecolabel criteria, which also include travel and accommodation expenses whenever the Environment Agency has to travel for verification purposes outside the Member State in which the application was submitted.
How to proceed
Submitting the application
Applicants must submit an application for the European Ecolabel on plain paper by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt to the EMAS / European Ecolabel Service at the Environment Agency.
The application file has to indicate:
- the business operator's full contact details;
- the product groups concerned;
- a full description of the product or service;
- the documents, test results, data files, declarations, etc. concerning the product or service;
- proof of payment of the fee;
- any other information requested by the Agency, if required.
The application file must demonstrate that the product or service concerned meets all the criteria to obtain the label and must be accompanied by all the necessary documents which help understand all the information in the application.
When the administration receives the complete application file, it will allocate a registration number to the applicant.
Once the contract is signed, applicants can begin using the label on their relevant products or services as well as on their promotional material.
Modification or extension of the label
An application for modification has to be submitted:
- if the specifications of the product or service will change, or;
- if the range of products which shall receive the label is larger than initially planned.
The application for modification must indicate the precise nature of the modification.
Applicants should submit an application for extension if the contract is about to expire and if they wish to continue using the label.
Any modification or extension is subject to the payment of a fee:
- EUR 125 for micro-businesses;
- EUR 250 for small and medium-sized businesses;
- EUR 500 for other businesses.