The high development of the economy and increase in the consumption rate created the situation in which people more often produce products that are harmful for the environment. Every day, the world population faces with hundreds of permitting, directional, traffic and environmental signs. It is clear with the first three ones that people get used to them and are knowledgeable about the information that those signs explain to them. However, the meaning of the environmental signs is not known for everyone. There are some factors such as environmental risks in the cities, the deterioration of the environment and others that made people more seriously take into account those things that create the living conditions around them. All of these turned into a struggle for the reduction of waste production and consumption, and the desire to use the so-called eco-friendly materials. Nowadays, people want to consume products that are friendlier to the environment and represent the high quality. However, the question is: how to determine the quality of the product and its compliance with proper environmental standards? For this purpose, there is used a special set of environmental label system that helps people to distinguish the environmental products from the rest products on the market. Instead of numbers and chemical formulas, people came up with the neat little symbol that can be put on the packaging. There are several different ecolabels, which will help the customer quickly to find the product that is environmentally friendly.
The UE Ecolabel is a system that put special labels on the food and different consumer products. It could be found on the packaging of the goods. This system also marked agencies that provide services with the relevant environmental requirements. It can only get a company that has passed the examination of all stages of production and proven environmental safety and high quality of their products or services. The introduction of this system for the public use was made in order to make it easy for customers to take into account the environmental concerns when people buy different products. The main aim for people who developed ecolabel was to provide customers with affordable information to make a choice in favor of quality. With the help of this label system, people can also find out and take into account the minimum negative impact on the environment during the process of production of those products. There are also green stickers that in comparison with ecolabels are mandated by the law in the United States of America (Jordan and Adelle 46). The main benefit of this system is that environmental labels provide information about products or services in respect of their overall environmental performance of one or more environmental aspects. Buyers and potential customers can use this information when choosing a product or service, and learn about the less negative effect on the environment. Also, when a customer selects products with ecolabels, it literally affects the market and makes it the environmental place for the current generation. It also makes the contribution to the whole process of energy reduce. The environmental production of goods is characterized with less amount of energy consumption, waste and so on.
The EU Ecolabel system is recognized throughout the Europe that promotes a voluntary label environmental excellence, which can be trusted among the population. It displays the environmental impact of the products through the process of their life cycle including such stages as extraction of raw materials, the products use and their disposal. One of the key elements of this system is that it is voluntary for companies that produce products. Thus, it is a new form of regulation, which runs parallel to usual standardization in production. However, the government in different countries imposes on the large corporation and organizations the use of ecolabels in order to create the harmonious balance between the production of services and goods with environment. In other words, it is a sufficient attempt to make the large contribution to the environment sustainability. There were developed criteria by scientists and stakeholders that helped to create a reliable and credible way to establish responsible choices in favor of the environment. There are also independent experts that help to control the whole process of production. It is important to mention that they make the evaluation of the total processes of good production in order to ensure that particular group of products or services reduce the environmental impact and meet special criteria. In this way, customers should not have any doubts and can rely on the logo. The supporters of this system are convinced that it is a one of the easiest way to inform people about the products that they are buying.
EU Ecolabel Structure
Ecolabel system has a complex structure with departments and their responsibilities. It is mainly regulated by the European Parliament and the Council. European Commission and bodies of the Member states implement the daily management operations. The European Union Ecolabelling Bureau (EUEB) is an organ of regulation that includes representatives from such countries such as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It also includes representatives from such organizations as European Environmental Bureau (EEB), EUROCOOP, Business Europe and others. The main responsibility of this organ is to implement the revision and review of the EU Ecolabel system and its criteria in order to provide its proper work. It provides assistance, advice and different recommendations on the environmental performance requirements. EUEB, which is composed of representatives of the competent authorities of the EU, as well as leading business associations and organizations, is considering proposals to develop eco-criteria, analyzing the projects, which are in progress, and approving them. Each new set of eco-criteria goes through several rounds of consideration between the parties, and after the complete harmonization of certain legal acts is adopted by the European Commission. The European Commission is an organ in this system that provides control in order to ensure that all Ecolabel regulations are made in accordance with main rules. It is responsible for developing the final draft of documents with Ecolabel criteria. Competent Bodies are designed in order to carry out the EU Ecolabel system on the national level and establish contact with applicants by answering their questions (European Commission).
The EU Ecolabel was formed in 1992. It was the initiative by the European Commission that intended to encourage companies to produce products and services with high quality and standards in terms of the environmental impact. Ecolabel scheme promotes the production and consumption of products, which have a lower impact on the environment. Furthermore, it carries out it not only in terms of emissions, but it makes it in volumes that are involved in natural resources per unit of output compared with existing products on the market. The general requirement of the EU Ecolabel scheme is that the system of eco-labeling is included up to 20% of the top producers according to the annual monitoring within national markets, with the limit values at the global level. The process of eco-labeling is quite popular in the world markets, and its development is carried out in an active discussion process. Many companies have the desire to get the Ecolabel. In order to gain it, the company’s products must meet strict criteria. These environmental criteria established by a group of experts from the interested parties, including consumer organizations and producers. It takes into account the entire product life cycle from raw material extraction, production, packaging and transportation, up to the end-use and recycling. Moreover, principles of modeling and life cycle assessment of products installed in the international standards. Each country of the European Union determines the competent body. It is the independent and impartial organ, which implements the Ecolabel scheme at the national level. The competent authorities play a central role in the Ecolabel scheme and act as a first point of contact with applicants. In particular, they assess the application, and award Ecolabel products that meet the established eco-criteria. They are responsible for ensuring that the verification process was carried out in sequence, neutral and reliable manner.
EU Ecolabel has its own strategy. The main aim of this strategy is to increase the growth of eco-products on the market. It is not possible to promote such type of labeling without a clear vision of increasing of eco-products in the market. There are five key elements that were developed in order to maintain and promote its growth strategy: policy development and coherence; maintenance and development of the product group criteria; effective communication; coordination and cooperation with other existing schemes; the proper financing.
In order to make this strategy effective and end up with the successful result, it is necessary that these elements were addressed concurrently. In order to accomplish this, it is vital to develop approaches that would allow tracking the key performance indicators. Therefore, the best way to promote is to make the range of Ecolabel products much wider by reinforcing the benefits for the environment. Recently, there was the rise of issues during the criteria setting process. There was some confusion with situations where some requirements were mixed with different product group criteria. In order to escape it, it is necessary to develop the common guidance that would be applicable for all products groups.
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The introduction of the Ecolabel showed its increase on the market. “The number of eco-labels in Belgium has tripled since 2006. Already 298 products have an eco-label attached to their name comparing the only 77 in 2006” (Celine 3). Currently, the EU Ecolabel covers many services and goods, and provided 17,000 of them with the right to use the logo for a special product group. EU Ecolabel scheme tries to embrace all sphere of production where can be indicated air, soil, water, marine, coast, land pollution. It works in the direction for increasing the production of ways, which would help to develop clean and environmental friendly energy.
To sum up, the whole process of production goods and services is related to the making pollution on the environment. In order to reduce the impact of the industry production, it is necessary to come up with some efficient solutions. One of them is an idea of the EU Ecolabel strategy. It is an effective and proper approach, which allow for manufacturers to replace the market with products and services that will be produced with less impact on the environment. It is also the extra tool that can help to attract the wide range of people to the problem of the pollution of the environment. The number of products is growing, because the strategy of the whole EU Ecolabel system is to reduce the cost and environmental impact and increase the quality.