FINNISH STANDARDS ASSOCIATION (SFS) ECOLABELLING 1/2
Leena Nyqvist-Kuusola 13 May 2004
The Flower is the symbol of the European Eco-label – your guide to greener
products and services
In order to make it even easier for consumers and public procurers to purchase
“green” products, the European Community has created a voluntary labelling
system that enables consumers and public procurers to identify the daily
consumables and services that cause the least environmental loading (the system
does not however extend to food products and pharmaceuticals). The EU Flower is
used by all member states of the European Community as well as in Norway,
Liechtenstein and Iceland, and it is about to be adopted in the ten new member
states as well.
The eco-labelling system of the European Community was launched in 1992. The
current REGULATION (EC) No 1980/2000 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND
THE COUNCIL regarding the revised Community eco-label award scheme was issued
on 17 July 2000 (OJ L 237 21.9.2000 p. 1).
Characteristics of the European Eco-label
Pan-European and Market Oriented
The European Eco-label is part of a broader EU strategy, which aims at promoting sustainable consumption and production. The purpose of the European Eco-label is to promote both the production of goods that cause less environmental loading and to increase their demand through a market oriented approach.
Reliable and Based on Life Cycle Assessment
The Eco-label is one of the significant tools based on Life Cycle Assessment used as part of integrated product policy. The EU Flower on a product guarantees that the properties of the product have been tested and that an independent body has ensured compliance with the requirements. All stages of the product life cycle are taken into consideration in drafting the criteria, extending from the selection and production of raw materials to manufacture and use, and to the disposal of the product.
Selective and Demanding
The European Eco-label is only awarded to the products that cause the least environmental loading and that are the best for the environment. A product group comprises all goods that are used for the same purpose from the consumer’s point of view.
The awarding principles do not set requirements to one characteristic alone but rather they are based on the assessment of the environmental impacts of the product throughout its life cycle. On the basis of the assessment the most significant environmental impacts are identified and requirements are set with regard to these.
Transparency of the Preparation Process
The selection of product groups and the drafting of criteria are conducted through a transparent process. The committees drafting the criteria consist of representatives from industry and commerce, experts from environmental and consumer organisations and from the operational bodies of the member states. Prior to establishing the criteria, the opinion of the European Union Eco-labelling Board is sought, after which the member states express their views through voting. All stages involved in the drafting of the criteria can be followed on the European Eco-label Homepage, which includes the various proposals and minutes of meetings.
Eco-labelling does not entail the drafting of environmental norms, to which all manufacturers should adhere. Application for the label is voluntary. Once the awarding principles have been published in the Official Journal, manufacturers, distributors and service providers can decide whether they want to apply for the EU Flower for their product or not.
POSTAL ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 116, 00241 HELSINKI, FINLAND ? STREET ADDRESS: MAISTRAATINPORTTI 2, HELSINKI, FINLAND ? TELEPHONE: +358 9 149 9311 ? FAX: +358 9 1499 3320
Leena Nyqvist-Kuusola 13 May 2004
Applying for the Label and the Cost
Each EU member state accommodates a Competent Body responsible for the application and verification procedure regarding the European Eco-label. Once compliance with the requirements has been established, the enterprise in question can be awarded the right to use the European Eco-label. The application process is subject to a charge and annual payments are enforced in relation to the use of the label.
The Flower Symbol on a Textile Product Means that…
; The risk of allergies caused by the colouring agents and the chemicals has
; Contamination of water and air has been restricted during the manufacturing
; The product contains no traces of materials that may be harmful to health or
; And finally… the product will not shrink in the wash or fade any more than
The European Eco-label can be awarded to all kinds of materials. No colouring agents or fibres –
synthetic or natural – have been excluded. All stages of the manufacturing process are inspected from the cultivation and manufacture of the fibre to the knitting and colouring and to the sowing process. Products that are made using natural fibres may carry an additional “Organic” certification. The properties of textile products are tested prior to awarding the Eco-label in order to ensure that the products are not subject to shrinkage or fading when washed or dried and that the colours resist rubbing and perspiration.
@Anne Linnonmaa – Ecological Fashion Knitwear
@Anne Linnonmaa Ecological Fashion cotton knitwear fulfils the criteria for awarding the European Eco-label for textiles. The Commission Decision (2002/371/EC) establishing the ecological criteria for the award of the Community Eco-label to textile products has been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 18 May 2002 (OJ L 133, 18.5.2002 p. 29).
The knitwear is made from handpicked Peruvian combed cotton. The cotton fulfils the criteria for organically grown cotton and it has been awarded the KRAV certificate. This means that no chemical pesticides, fertilisers or foliage toxins required in machine harvesting have been used in the cultivation of the cotton. The thread manufacturer has been awarded the Nordic Swan Label and the European @Eco-label with the “Organic” clause. The Anne Linnonmaa cotton knitwear is therefore also allowed to
carry this certification.
The following forbidden chemical substances are not used in any stage of the manufacturing process: Alkyl Phenol Ethoxylates (APEO), Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulphonates (LAS), Bis(hydrogenated Tallow Alkyl) Dimethyl Ammonium Chlorides (DTDMAC), Distearyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chlorides (DSDMAC), Di(hydrogenated Tallow) Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride (DHTDMAC), Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA) and Diethylene Triamine Pentaacetic Acid (DPTA). All the detergents, fabric softeners and sequestrants used in the manufacturing process are biodegradable. Chlorine bleaching is not used for obtaining white knitwear. No azoic colours are used in dying the products. No formaldehyde or substances emitting formaldehyde are used in the finishing process, nor are anti-shrinking agents, finishing agents or compounds that are harmful to health or the environment.
The knitwear fulfils the usability requirements included in the awarding principles:
; Dimensional changes during washing and drying
; Colourfastness to washing must correspond to at least level 3-4 in terms of colour change and
level 3-4 in terms of staining.
; Colourfastness to perspiration (acid and alkaline) must correspond to at least level 3-4 (colour
change and staining).
; Colourfastness to wet rubbing must correspond to at least level 2-3.
; Colourfastness to dry rubbing must correspond to at least level 4.
; Colourfastness to light must correspond to at least level 4.