The European Eco-label was created in 1992. It is the only official European Ecolabel available in all member countries of the European Union. It is issued in France by AFNOR Certification, independent certifying organization, as well as by ADEME.
The Community eco-label is based on the principle of a “global approach” that considers the lifecycle of the product from raw materials extraction, manufacturing, distribution, and use to recycling or disposal after use. The quality and use of the product are also considered.
This brand/label satisfies both:
- the need for reliable information on the ecological quality of products or services,
- the wishes of companies to enhance their efforts in environmental protection, through labeled products or services.
The European Eco-label applies to products and services for consumers or business users. It can be used for products and services that meet the criteria specified in the certification standards for each category (for more information see http://www.ecolabels.fr/)
Pharmaceuticals, food products and automotive are temporarily excluded from the scope of this brand.
To check or find a product that is concerned by this label: http://ec.europa.eu/ecat/
« NF Environnement » label
The NF Environment label is a label issued by AFNOR. This label was created in 1991. Unlike the European eco-label, this is an official French ecological certification.
This label is intended to distinguish goods and their packaging with low environmental impact throughout their life cycle. All consumer products are eligible for the label except pharmaceuticals, food and automobiles.
The NF Environment Label is divided into different brands for which a certification has been established.
For example, for a coffee maker, certified characteristics are:
– Availability of spare parts,
– Water level indicator,
– Early warning system scaling,
– Energy saving for brewing,
– Energy saving for keeping coffee hot,
– Energy saving with switch off and sleep,
– Absence of flame retardants,
– Valuation and end of life recycling,
« Blue Angel » label
Created in 1977, the German label Blue Angel (“Der Blaue Engel”) is the oldest warranty for products environmentally friendly. Controlled by an independent organization, it is considered as one of the most reliable and most demanding eco-labels.
The Blue Angel relates firstly to the paper: when carrying its logo, constitutes of 100% recycled fibre.
But this label may also be awarded to other consumer goods (over 4000 products display the Blue Angel, excluding food and pharmaceutical industry): printers (color or black and white), which must operate with minimal use of energy, products using solar energy (calculators, watches), …
« The Nordic Swan » label
The Nordic Swan was established in 1989. Scandinavian eco-label from the Norwegian authorities, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic and Danish, it aims to encourage sustainable design products. It is awarded to products that meet accurate environmental specifications and must be renewed every 3 years.
This label apply to 63 products groups such as :
- Dish washer
- Toner cartidge
- Washing machine
« EPEAT » certification
The EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is an eco-label for computer products from the United States. Since August 10, 2009, this label has been extended to other countries, including France.
Based on IEEE 1680, EPEAT is divided into three levels of certification: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Access to different levels of certification is conditional upon compliance with a number of criteria covering the entire lifecycle of products:
– Bronze: 23 required criteria
– Silver: 23 required criteria + 50% of optional criteria
– Gold: 23 required criteria + 75% of optional criteria
|Meets all required criteria||Meets all required criteria plus at least 50% of the optional criteria||Meets all required criteria plus at least 75% of the optional criteria|
For example, the criteria for displays are:
- The reduction and elimination of risk substances,
- The choice of materials,
- Design for end of life,
- A longer lifespan,
- The energy saving,
- The end of life management,
- Environmental performance of the company,
- The packaging.
For example, regarding the end of life management, there are two mandatory criteria:
– The establishment of a system of collection and recycling at end of life,
– The establishment of a system for collecting and recycling end of life batteries.
And an optional criterion:
– An annual audit of sites for recycling.
Note that, the label is a declarative one: a product may qualify for certification if the producer agrees to comply with the conditions for awarding the concerned label.
« Energy star » program
The Energy Star program is an American label established in 1992. Since 2001, the European Commission signed an agreement to promote the deployment of this certification in Europe. This certification is intended for consumer products as well as professional products.
European Energy Star program concerns three product families: monitors, computers (desktop or portable) devices and image processing (printer, scanner, copier, etc.).
The label focuses mainly on energy efficiency of products. To qualify for the label, products must meet a maximum energy consumption for various states of activity (active, sleep, deep sleep, etc.).
Other eco-labels exist around worldwide, such as:
The Green Seal in USA (cf. http://www.greenseal.org/),
L’Eco Mark in Japan (cf. http://www.ecomark.jp/english/).
– European Eco-Label website, Afnor group http://www.ecolabels.fr/fr/tout-savoir-sur-les-ecolabels – french
– Blue angel eco-label official website http://www.blauer-engel.de/en/index.php
– Nordic Swan eco-label official website http://www.svanen.se/en/.
– EPEAT official website http://www.epeat.net/
– European program Energy star website http://www.eu-energystar.org/en/index.html