There are a number of ecolabelling schemes in Europe and elsewhere which have been devised partly in response to growing consumer preferences for “greener” products, but also to set standards of environmental performance that discourage manufacturers and retailers from making unjustified “green” claims about their products.

The EU Ecolabel Scheme is a voluntary scheme and is supported by all Member States of the EU. Its symbol, the "Flower" (see below), is perhaps the most widely recognised and is awarded to those products that meet the labelling scheme's ecological and performance criteria, including a whole product life cycle assessment. All products bearing the “Flower” have been checked by independent assessors.

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has meant that the European Commission no longer recognises the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as an EU Ecolabel competent body. This means that any UK organisation wishing to continue using the EU Ecolabel will need to apply for a new contract with the EU Ecolabel competent body of an EU Member State where the eligible product is sold.

However, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU Ecolabel Regulations continue to apply in Northern Ireland with the proviso that licences granted by the Northern Ireland competent body are only valid for use in Northern Ireland.

This topic considers the various standards and schemes related to ecolabelling and should be read in conjunction with Ecodesign — ISO 14006: 2011 and Life Cycle Assessment.

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