The Nordic Eco-label is over 27 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest eco-labels. Shaped like a swan the Nordic Ecolabel is found on products throughout the Nordic region: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The purpose of the label is to help customers choose the right products from an environmental point of view.
The labeling process is thorough with each product or service’s life-cycle examined with a holistic view of the environmental issues that may occur during the lifetime of a product that is detrimental to the environment and the planet’s resources. For a product or service to obtain a Nordic Ecolabel license a report along with detailed documentation are examined closely. Afterwards regular follow-up inspections are made to ensure companies with Nordic Ecolabel licenses meet the set requirements. When criteria for labeling changes companies that want to retain their license must reapply for a license.
An evolving labeling criteria
The Nordic Ecolabel is still successful more than 25 years on as the criteria used to determine if a product or service receives a Nordic Ecolabel changes over time to reflect new research and technologies in energy consumption and climate change mitigation, use of chemicals, biodiversity and resource consumption and waste management.
Energy consumption and climate mitigation: The Nordic Ecolabel views greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere as a serious concern and so reducing emissions and energy consumption while increasing energy efficiency are important aspects in determining whether a product or service receives the Nordic Ecolabel or not.
Use of chemicals: New chemicals harmful to human health and the environment are being constantly discovered. At the same time knowledge is lacking on which characteristics of these chemicals have the most harmful effects. The majority of substances harmful to the environment being discovered today are substances that break down very slowly and therefore are found in the environment, our food and human bodies. Nordic Ecolabelling works to minimize substances that are harmful to the environment and health in the life cycle.
Biodiversity: Resource consumption threatens a range of habitats, plants and animal species. Additionally, air and water pollution are harmful to the impact on biodiversity. Nordic Ecolabelling aims to ensure raw material consumption is in balance with economic growth.
Resource consumption and waste: Rising consumption levels are generating increased waste-streams. While progress has been made in the recovery and recycling of waste there is still a long way to go. Nordic Ecolabelling is promoting the minimization of resource consumption through reduced use of materials, recycling and waste separation. The labeling also ensures products offer good quality throughout the validity period of the license.
Ecolabels need constant updating to ensure products are services are sized up against the newest and latest research and technology.