The aim is to award a Community eco-label to products and services with reduced environmental impacts. The scheme is voluntary. Criteria are established for individual product groups, such as paper products, shoes, textiles, detergents, paints and appliances such as refrigerators or dishwashers. The European eco-label is part of a broader strategy aimed at promoting sustainable consumption and production. Following the current discussion in the European Commission, the eco-label can also be adopted by books publishers. The European Eco-label is part of a broader strategy aimed at promoting sustainable consumption and production.
In July 2008, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation revising the EU Eco-label scheme. The revised scheme will reduce the administrative process for developing criteria, allowing the number of product groups covered by the label to grow considerably, and will speed up the procedure for applicants to begin using the label. This legislative act provides the framework for the European Eco-label system, so there is no direct impact on publishing sector.
Ecolabelling on the printed paper product was restarted again at the end of 2009, when a new criteria proposal on printed paper products was introduced in the context of the EU ecolabel criteria revision for copying and graphic paper. However, based on the input from stakeholders, it was decided to exclude the printed paper products- product group from the scope and proceed only with the copying and graphic paper to a vote. It was considered that printed paper products product group still needs to be further worked on. In October 2010, the EC started the development of new draft criteria for printed matter together with a new set of criteria for newsprint paper. In March 2012 the Commission confirmed its decision that since the chemicals used in the printed paper products may hinder recyclability of printed paper products, and may be hazardous for the environment and for human health, it is appropriate to establish EU Ecolabel criteria for the product group "printed paper".
The Commission presented the 2011-2015 Work Plan to set a number of realistic and achievable objectives for the next five years. As the Regulation was revised in 2009/2010, the next evaluation will take place in 2014 in order to submit a report on the implementation of the scheme to the Parliament and the Council in 2015. That report should also identify elements for a possible revision.