There are several different eco-labels used for apparel and as this is a means of showing sustainability, there is an interest from buyers. The EU Ecolabel for example look to chemicals-free and environmentally-friendly options. Leather Weather Group and Naturleder are other eco-labels that are used. You can find a step-by-step guide on ECO labelling at the EU website.
Steps to Join the Initiative:
Step1: Getting started
You first need to check whether your product is eligible and if your company can apply.
Every product or service supplied for distribution, consumption or use in the European Economic Area market (European Union plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) and included in one of the established non-food and non-medical product groups is eligible for EU Ecolabel. Discover the full list of established product groups and the related product criteria.Producers, manufacturers, importers, service providers, wholesalers and retailers. Retailers can apply for products placed on the market under their own brand name.
Step2: Getting advice
Once you have found the right product group and would like to start the application, we would advise you to contact your Competent Body. They are independent organisations that will treat your dossier. They are responsible for evaluating your application and awarding the EU Ecolabel. They will give you technical support and answer your questions about meeting the criteria.
They will provide you with assistance throughout the application process and may help you market your products. Contact the Competent Body in the country, or one of the countries, where your product will be placed on the market Contact details of all Competent Bodies
Step3: Starting the Application
To get your EU Ecolabel licence, it is mandatory that you apply using the online application tool, ECAT_Admin. Download the E-Catalogue User Manual. It will help you navigate the online system. For further information, contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk.
Step4: Collecting the Evidence
To prove compliance to the criteria for your product group, you will have to provide a dossier made up of the declarations, documents, data sheets and test results. The User Manual for each product group explains what you need to provide. You can find each of the user at the established product groups. The EU Ecolabel checklist helps you manage your dossier. Download the checklist.
Your Competent Body will also help you figure out which documents you need and which laboratories qualify to carry out the testing.
Product Testing – General Guidance
- The applicant should meet the costs of testing and assessment of conformity with the EU Ecolabel criteria.
- The test laboratory should be accredited under ISO 17025 or equivalent. You can download information on testing methods. A list of accredited laboratories in Europe is available on the European Accreditation Corporation’s website.
- The applicant must submit all the required information about the laboratory to the Competent Body, which must approve the laboratory.
Step5: Submitting the Application
Once you have submitted the online application, you need to submit the required paper file to your Competent Body. Within two months of your initial application submission, your Competent Body will assess your product against the criteria set for it.
Check the EU Ecolabel fee structure established by each of the Competent Bodies at "EU Ecolabel Fees". The EU Ecolabel is designed to be as low cost as possible for businesses interested in the scheme. As the costs of running the scheme vary slightly between Competent Bodies and from one product to another, fees may vary accordingly.
Step6: Ecolabel Awarded
If you meet the criteria and your dossier is complete, the Competent Body will award the EU Ecolabel to your product by creating a contract with you. Once done, you can use the EU Ecolabel logo on all the products that have met the criteria and on the associated promotional material. It is your responsibility to stay compliant with EU Ecolabel criteria. Your Competent Body will explain how often it will need test samples of your product.
You (or your supplier) will need to keep a journal on the test results and all the relevant documentation. This documentation should be available at all times. If the Competent Body receives evidence that during the validity period, the product no longer complies with the criteria, it will prohibit the use of the EU Ecolabel on that product.
Step7: Marketing your Product With the EU Ecolabel
There is a range of marketing, promotional and communication material available, which you can use to help market your product. Have a look at the logo guidelines available under “Useful material” to understand exactly how to make best use of the logo. Once you get the EU Ecolabel you can register your product on the E-Catalogue via ECAT_Admin. The E-Catalogue is the centralised database for EU Ecolabel licences and products, and is a useful marketing tool for retails/ EU buyers or consumers to find your product.
- The application process is simple, and can be done online. There are special discounts for SMEs, micro-enterprises and applicants from developing economies.
- Ecolabel: product groups and criteria
- Ecolabel fees
- For facts and figures on the use of the EU Eco label refer to the EU website.
- Consult the Standards Map database for more information on the Eco Label.