Environmental concerns are increasingly present when deciding which products to buy at the supermarket. The European Union Ecolabel (EUEB) assures consumers that the product or service they choose meets strict environmental criteria. In this article, DECO explains everything you need to know about this eco-label.
What is the European Union EcoLabel?
The EU Ecolabel was created in 1992 as a voluntary EU-wide label, designed to make it easier for consumers to make greener and healthier choices. Products and services must meet a list of environmental and health criteria to be able to display the logo, from the durability of the product to exposure to toxic chemicals. In this way, it helps consumers making a more conscious and responsible choice, avoiding false environmental claims, also known as greenwashing practices.
Which products can display the EcoLabel?
In March this year, the products and services displaying the EU Ecolabel exceeded 90,000, spread across 24 different categories, a number that has almost doubled since 2016. We can find the EUEB from baby clothes to cleaning products, to TV, paints, shampoos, wood flooring, printing paper and tourist developments.
How important is it for consumers?
The European Union now has evidence that consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their choices. According to a 2017 EU survey, 87% of respondents believe they can play a more active role in protecting the environment. By 2020, 23% of consumers said they are aware of the environmental impact of most or all of their purchases.
In fact, 8 out of 10 consumers know and trust the EU Ecolabel, because it helps consumers to easily identify the products and services that are most eco-friendly, which is key for consumer choice.
To use the label, brands should produce goods that last longer, are easier to repair or recycle. The production process should rely on fewer resources and generate less waste and CO2 than conventional manufacturing.
By choosing EU Ecolabel products, consumers reduce exposure to toxic chemicals because it is a requirement that, wherever technically possible, manufacturers must substitute hazardous substances with safer alternatives. In addition, the EUSR puts pressure on manufacturers to go further because only products that perform better than required by the legislation can get the label.
The Ecolabel is therefore a reference for companies who want to improve their products. It plays an important role in EU product policy as a tool for innovation and competitiveness in the market.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252