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IP/02/1771

Brussels, 29 November 2002

U eco-label celebrates its 10th anniversary

On 1 and 2 December 2002, the European Commission will put the spotlight on its commitment to promoting 'greener' products within the European Union by celebrating the 10th anniversary of the EU Eco-label at the Residence Palace, Brussels. The "flower" label was launched in 1992 and is currently used by 19 different product groups. Licences have been given to 120 companies to use the label. Consumers today have the choice of hundreds of eco-labelled products which comply with strict ecological performance criteria throughout their life-cycle. Margot Wallström, Commissioner for Environment, will open the anniversary celebration and honour companies producing goods under the EU eco-label scheme for their environmental commitment. Events during the celebration, include a live fashion-show with examples of fashion clothes made with eco-labelled textiles.

"The 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development has highlighted the pressing need to change our consumption and production patterns. Transparent and reliable information on the environmental quality of products is necessary to help consumers make the right choices" says Environment Commissioner Wallström. "The EU Eco-label fulfils that role as it is the guide to greener products in the European market."

Main activities during the event

The event will bring together various stakeholders - consumers, producers and representatives from various governmental and environmental protection groups - to highlight recent developments. Representative speakers have been invited to discuss the future of the "Flower".

One of the main features of this event in Brussels will be the launch of the new eco-label online 'interactive catalogue' www.eco-label.com. It has been designed to provide direct and accessible information on eco-label products to consumers with a list of stores and links to existing online shopping sites. A range of these products will be exhibited throughout the two-day event.

Another important feature will be a live fashion show. Young Danish designers from TEKO, a Danish Academy of Design, will show their collection. It will be a unique opportunity to experience for the first time their creative ideas with eco-labelled textiles. The collection is also due to be presented in February 2003 at the bi-annual Scandinavian Fashion Fair in Copenhagen.

Commissioner Wallström will also announce the winning design of a poster competition held in 4 art schools in Brussels.

Essentials on the "Flower"

The EU eco-label was established in 1992 to promote products which have a reduced environmental impact, by allowing manufacturers that have been awarded the eco-label to place the "Flower" logo on their products. All these products have been checked by independent bodies for compliance with strict ecological and performance criteria. Whether the consumer is buying a new dishwasher, a bed mattress or a new pair of shoes, he or she is assured that what they are taking home is not only more environmentally 'friendly' but will perform at least as well as, if not better, than conventional equivalents.

There are currently 19 different product groups, including textiles and footwear, detergents, household appliances, paper products, paints and varnishes as well as soil improvers and growing media. (See full list in annex.) More than 120 licences have been awarded to several hundred different products. Over the last two years sales of eco-labelled items has risen by more than 300%. The highest "flowering" rates so far have been achieved on French, Danish, Italian, Greek and Spanish soil.

The "Flower" has an important role in making consumption more sustainable. It is one of the key instruments of integrated product policy (IPP) which now provides a strategic approach to reducing the environmental impacts during the life-cycle of products and enhancing the market for green products.

Outlook

In the coming years the European Commission and the European Eco-labelling Board will build on recent progress and further raise the profile of the "Flower" and its visibility on the market. One of the activities will be the development of ecological criteria for new product groups to expand the range of eco-labelled products. Criteria for vacuum cleaners and the first service sector, tourist accommodation, will be available shortly. Work on other product groups, such as furniture, is ongoing. In addition, an extensive European-wide marketing campaign is planned for the year 2004 to bring the "Flower" closer to the consumer.

For full details on the event and all information about the "Flower" and contact points in the Member States, please consult the web site at http://europa.eu.int/ecolabel.

The press is invited to attend the events at Residence Palace. No prior registration is necessary.

ANNEX

List of current product groups:

Bed Mattresses

Footwear

Hard floor coverings

Indoor paints and varnishes

Light bulbs

Soil improvers

Dishwashers

Refrigerators

Televisions

Washing machines

All purpose cleaners

Dish washing detergents

Hand dishwashing detergents

Laundry detergents

Tissue paper

Personal computers

Portable computers

Copying and graphic paper

Textile products


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