Ecolabelling is the voluntary labelling of products and services that are demonstrably better for the environment and consumer health and are of a high quality throughout their life cycle.
The main ideas of ecolabelling
The ecolabel gives the customer the assurance that the product meets strict environmental criteria, which include quality raw materials, environmentally friendly production methods and recyclability.
The ecolabel criteria provide guidance and guidelines for companies wishing to reduce their environmental impact and ensure the effectiveness of their environmental measures.
Ecolabels are a tool for labelling products and services that have reduced, or no negative environmental impacts compared to other comparable products or services. In general, ecolabels can be awarded to products that meet certain specified criteria and fall within the product categories under consideration.
The Ecolabel must undergo an inspection and approval process by an authorised third party. In the Czech Republic, products are assessed, and the ecolabel is awarded by CENIA – the Czech Environmental Information Agency under the Ministry of the Environment.
Although there are several ecolabels, CENIA certifies two types of ecolabels in the Czech Republic, namely:
- the European Union Ecolabel (EU Ecolabel), and
- the Czech national ecolabel (Eco-friendly product or service).
The regulation of the European Union (EU) Ecolabel is based on EU legislation, in particular Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the EU Ecolabel (hereinafter referred to as “the Regulation”) and regularly updated implementing regulations for individual products for which it is possible to obtain the Ecolabel.
The regulation is based on the principles of the international standard ISO 14024 and the topic of ecolabelling is also addressed in the well-known Green Deal for Europe.
The EU Ecolabel can be applied to products on the market throughout the European Union. Through one label, they can be promoted throughout the European Economic Area.
The EU Ecolabel logo takes the form of a stylised flower with the symbol Є in the middle and the wording EU Ecolabel, and a frame with the licence number in the required shape is an integral part of the label.
Environmentally friendly product or service
The Ecolabels Eco-friendly product and Eco-friendly service are awarded under the National Ecolabelling Programme to products that meet the requirements regarding their environmental impact.
The programme is based on the technical standard ČSN ISO 14024 Environmental labels and declarations – Type I environmental labels and is governed by the Rules on the implementation of the National Labelling Programme for Environmentally Friendly Products and Services issued by the Ministry of the Environment.
The Ecolabels Eco-friendly product and Eco-friendly service apply only to products offered on the Czech market.
The ecolabel logo consists of a stylised letter ‘e’ with the words ‘Environmentally friendly product’ and ‘Environmentally friendly service’ at the top and the registration number of the labelled product at the bottom.
What products can be ecolabelled?
Under the current rules, the following products can be awarded the EU Ecolabel with the Eco-friendly product label:
- graphic and tissue paper,
- printed paper products, paper stationery and carrier bags,
- absorbent hygiene products,
- cosmetics and animal care products,
- hard surface cleaners,
- dishwasher detergents,
- hand dishwashing detergents,
- laundry detergents,
- paints and varnishes,
- electronic displays,
- wood, cork and bamboo floor coverings
- hard coverings,
- bed mattresses,
- growing media, soil amendments and mulch, or
In addition, the Eco-friendly product label can still be awarded to:
- products made from sucked paper pulp,
- thermal insulators,
- gritting materials for road maintenance, or
- pipes, fittings, and piping systems made of polyolefins.
The following services are eligible for the EU Ecolabel or the Eco-friendly service label:
- tourist accommodation, or
- cleaning services.
What are the criteria for obtaining the ecolabel?
The criteria are adapted to consider the characteristics of each product type and are based, for the EU Ecolabel, on both the Regulation and the individual product-specific implementing regulations and, in the case of the Ecolabels Eco-friendly Product and Eco-friendly Service, on the relevant technical standards and award rules.
These criteria include:
- the quality and origin of the raw materials,
- life cycle,
- chemical emissions and energy consumption in production
- heavy metal content,
- energy consumption,
- electro smog,
- hazardous substance content of the product,
- design and interchangeability of parts,
- packaging solutions,
- noise level, or
Ecolabel award process
The actual awarding of the ecolabel is preceded by the certification process – application, inspection, payment of fees, assessment of documents, evaluation, inspection visit, issuance of a summary report and decision on the award (including submission and conclusion of a license agreement).
If successful, once the contract has been signed and the relevant fees paid, the applicant is an ecolabel holder and is entitled to use the ecolabel logo to promote their product or service. The ecolabel can only be used on the products specified in the licence agreement.
The eco-label can be placed, for example:
- directly on the product or its packaging,
- on promotional materials, user manuals and other production and technical documentation relating to the product,
- in all types of articles dealing with the labelled product or service,
- in correspondence concerning the designated product or service, or
- at exhibition displays, etc.
The validity of the licence to use the ecolabel coincides with the validity of the criteria for the product type, which are usually updated every five years. The licence to use the eco-label may be renewed or extended subject to compliance with the current criteria.
Businesses can use ecolabels to market their labelled products and services and increase their value through ecolabel certification. In the future, ecolabelling can also be expected to be included in the evaluation system for public procurement. At the same time, consumers can use the ecolabel as a guide for purchasing more environmentally friendly goods and services.
If you have any questions on this topic or if you need support in obtaining ecolabels for your products, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mgr. Jakub Málek, managing partner – firstname.lastname@example.org
 More, for example, here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_cs