Symbols to Look Out For:
Eco-labels can help you choose products which are the most environmentally and socially responsible. Below are a list of common Eco-labels that you should look for when buying products.
|The Mobius Loop||The internationally recognised recycling symbol is the 3 chasing arrows icon. Each arrow represents an aspect of a successful recycling programme: collection, re-manufacturing/reprocessing into a new product, and finally purchase by the consumer.|
|The European Eco-label||This scheme was launched to avoid proliferation of separate national schemes. Award of the label signals that the item meets 'rigorous environmental criteria and proper fitness of use', but it does not necessarily mean that a product contains any recycled content. Products featuring the Eco-label should become more widespread as manufacturers apply to be allowed to use the label on products that comply with the appropriate criteria, which are based on detailed life cycle analysis. website|
|The Blue Angel||This scheme is administered by the German Quality Control Institute, and has been established since 1979. It covers a wide range of consumer products from wallpaper to tyres. Currently, over 4,000 products from various manufacturers carry this widely recognised label. For recycled paper to qualify for the mark, it must be made of 100% waste paper (tolerance 5%), and contain at least 51% low grade or medium grade scrap and wastes. website|
|The Nordic Swan||This label was introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1989, to encourage production methods that create the minimum environmental impact. It covers fine papers and soft tissue grades, but does not necessarily imply that the product contains any recycled fibre. website|
|NAPM Recycled Mark||This mark is awarded to those papers which contain a minimum of 75% genuine waste. Genuine waste is defined as: Converters' waste - paper which has left the mill and has become waste during a converting process such as cutting or slitting to meet a specific commercial order. Printers' waste - printed or unprinted waste collected from a printing operation (trimmings, overs or rejects). Domestic or Office waste - collected from homes and offices, printed or unprinted.|
|TCO Labels||The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees currently offer TCO labels for information technology products. The labels address the life cycle or 'cradle to grave' approach to the manufacturing process where it bans such chemicals as chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and certain chlorinated solvents. It also limits low-frequency electrical and magnetic emissions. website|
|ISO 14001||A supplier operating an environmental management system may seek certification to ISO 14001. This standard specifies the requirements for an environmental management system in terms of an organisation's environmental commitment to a policy, compliance with applicable legislation and regulations and to continual improvement in its overall performance. website|
|International Environmental Standard for Fisheries Management||The MSC has developed an international environmental standard for fisheries management through an extensive two-year stakeholder consultation. This standard is based on the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The MSC rewards good fishing practice with an Eco-label. This recognises responsible fishery management practices and provides consumers with the opportunity to make purchasing choices in support of sustainable fisheries. website|
|The Fair Trade Federation (FTF)||The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide. FTF also acts as a clearinghouse for information on fair trade and provides resources and networking opportunities for its members. By adhering to social criteria and environmental principles, Fair Trade Organisations (FTOs) foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade that benefits people and their communities. website|
|The FAIRTRADE Mark||The FAIRTRADE Mark is a widely recognised label awarded to products that meet international Fairtrade standards. The Fairtrade Foundation operates under the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) to license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK. FAIRTRADE is not just about ensuring producers get a fair price for their products. While the standards do relate to the welfare of their employees, producers now have two new Generic Environmental Standards that they will be expected to work to. They will apply from July 2005. website|
The FICGB (Forestry Industry Committee of Great Britain Woodmark)
|The FICGB (Forestry Industry Committee of Great Britain) Woodmark is used to indicate to timber specifiers and consumers that a wood product is derived from British grown timber, which has been felled in accordance with a standard defined by regulations implemented by the Forestry Authority website|
|The EC Energy Label|
By law, the EC Energy Label must be displayed on all white goods such as fridges, freezers and washing machines. The label also provides an assessment of the product's energy efficiency, as well as giving an estimate of electricity and water consumption on standard settings, performance, noise levels and whether the product has gained an Eco-label. The label identifies the most energy efficient models on a scale of A-G, A being the most efficient.
|The Soil Association Organic Symbol||The Soil Association Organic Symbol is the UK's most recognisable trademark for organic produce. When used on food packaging, it tells the consumer that product is certified to the highest organic standards and provides reassurance of organic authenticity. Farmers, growers, processors and retailers value the Organic Symbol as it embodies high professional standards of production, handling, storage and sale. website|
|The Energy Efficiency logo|
The Energy Efficiency logo has been introduced by the Energy Savings Trust, an independent government funded body, to identify products and services which save or use less energy. This label is used to promote energy saving appliances.
|UKCRA (United Kingdom Cartridge Recyclers Association)||UKCRA (United Kingdom Cartridge Recyclers Association) provide environmental alternatives to imported toner cartridges, by establishing standards for toner cartridge recycling and supplying details of companies that conform to those standards. If a remanufactured/recycled product contains the UKCRA symbol, they can be 100% sure it is produced by a member company of UKCRA and the guarantee that symbol supports. website|
|The Forest Stewardship Council||The Forest Stewardship Council evaluates, accredits and monitors certification organisations which inspect forest operations and grant labels certifying that timber has been produced from well managed forests. Once certified, timber and timber-based products originating from that forest or woodland are eligible to carry the FSC Trademark. website|
|EPA Energy Star||The Energy Star® Office Equipment Program is a self-certification program dedicated to reducing energy consumption. It was developed in 1992 by the US environmental Protection Agency to reduce energy wasted during idle periods by personal computers, printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners. Machines with this logo should power down after a period of not being used, and then power up when used again. website|