Flower Week to promote Euro eco-labels

An eco-label that promotes environmentally friendly products and services throughout the EU is being celebrated this week in European Flower Week.

The prestigious label, which carries the image of a flower made of the stars from the EU emblem, shows that goods have received the EU stamp of approval for complying with strict ecological criteria as well as satisfying high performance standards.

European Flower Week is intended to raise the profile of the EU flower, and has received support from retailers and producers as well as consumer and environmental groups.

The flower’s popularity has increased considerably amongst consumers over the last two years, according to Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom. However, she said that more still needed to be done to raise awareness further.

“The flower is the EU eco-label and should allow producers who sell their products across Europe to use the same label everywhere,” she said.

There are currently 21 different product groups covered by the flower label, including: textiles and footwear, detergents, paints and varnishes, household appliances and paper products.

Around 200 licenses have been awarded now to several hundred different products. Last year, the number of eco-labelled articles sold rose from 80 million to over 217 million.

Following the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) publishing its evaluation report of the EU’s flower last week, product policy officer Melissa Shinn stated that the eco-label’s environmental ambition still had not reached a satisfactory level.

“Two thirds of product labels are not making the grade as best-of-class products, and there is no data available to evaluate market uptake and overall environmental benefits,” she said.

“However, this is still the only existing EU product-focused instrument with the potential to have some impact on the choice of green products on the supermarket shelves and facilitate green public spending.”

Ms Shinn pointed out that only three of the product groups were evaluated as showing a good level of ambition compared to the EEB’s demands, and two product groups showed a mixed good/mediocre ambition level. A total of 75% of product groups were either mediocre or poor.

“Our conclusion is that the existing applicant deficit is more likely to be due to active producer boycott and a lack of leverage from retailer and consumer demand, directly linked to a lack of investment in national promotion activities,” Ms Shinn said. “Hence the importance of this week’s events.”

By Jane Kettle

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