Eco-labels

Eco-labels are voluntary environmental protection instruments by which producers and service providers demonstrate that they comply with high standards of environmental protection during the life-cycle of the product and the provided service. Eco-labels are important for promotion of international sustainable consumption and production policy which aims at reducing the negative impact of consumption and production on the environment, health, climate and natural resources and encouraging corporate social responsibility and sustainable lifestyles.

Eco-labels are not aimed at everyone, only the best. Criteria on the basis of which products and services are assessed has been set in such a way that only 20-30% of products on the market can comply with said criteria. Eco-labels are also symbols of excellence since they promote those that do more for environmental protection than the prescribed legal minimum.

Eco labels are primarily intended for the market, or rather the consumers (business to consumer, B2C), and less for the business circle (business to business, B2B). It is expected that a conscious consumer will from the myriad products select those that bear the eco label. Therefore, an important role in promoting these eco labels is played by retailers and consumer associations.

The Ministry is responsible for two eco-labels: the national environmental protection label 'Environmentally Friendly' (Prijatelj okoliša) and the European Union environmental protection label EU Ecolabel. They belong to Type I environmental labels and declarations in line with the definition of the international standard for classification of environmental labels EN ISO 14024:2000. Type I environmental labels are voluntary, include various environmental criteria throughout the life cycle of a product or service, and what is more important, they have an independent system for qualified assessment/verification by third parties. Only Type I environmental labels can be included in the Global Ecolebelling Network, GEN. The goal of this Global network is to promote relevant eco-labels and assist in their communication towards consumers and the business sector at the global level.

There are numerous eco-labels on the market out of which some are self-declarations and do not include the process of independent verification by third parties and do not consider environmental criteria throughout the life cycle of a product. Additional problem is that products bearing eco-labels are often more expensive than others. Therefore, the European Commission issued a Communication ˝Building the Single Market for Green Products“ in order to promote changes for a better acceptance of eco products on the European market.

 

Environmental Protection Label 'Environmentally Friendly' (Prijatelj okoliša)

The national environmental protection label Environmentally Friendly is intended for producers, distributors, importers, retailers or wholesalers and service providers who wish to emphasise their positive attitude towards the environment and provide reliable information to the consumer that their product or service offered on the market in the Republic of Croatia is to the least possible extent harmful for the environment.

The label awarding programme is carried out with the objective of promoting products and services which, in comparison with equivalent products or services, have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle and thereby contribute to more efficient use of environmental components and a high level of environmental protection. The scheme is part of the sustainable consumption and production policy which aims at reducing the negative impact of consumption and production on the environment, health, climate and natural resources.

Since the awarding procedure for the Environmentally Friendly label is based on independent verification by third parties (authorised institutes, accredited laboratories, etc.), it belongs to Type I environmental labels and declarations in line with the definition of the international standard for classification of environmental labels EN ISO 14024:2000, which separates it from the ever increasing group of various private eco-labels and self-declarations.

Contact address: eko-oznake@mzoe.hr

European Union environmental protection label - EU Ecolabel

The European Union environmental protection label EU Ecolabel is the official voluntary eco-label of the European Union (EU) intended for labelling products with a lower environmental impact during their entire life cycle, as compared to similar or identical products and services from the same product group.

On the one hand, the EU Ecolabel is a confirmation for companies that their products and services meet high environmental protection standards, and on the other, it provides consumers and retailers with information for selecting among products and services available on the market those that burden the environment less, those that are greener. The final aim of this eco-label is to reduce the negative impact of consumption and production on the environment, health, climate, energy and resource consumption, and to encourage responsible behaviour towards the environment.

The EU Ecolabel is awarded to all goods or services distributed, consumed or used on the Community market, except to medicinal products (for human or veterinary use), any type of medical equipment, and food and beverages. It belongs to Type I environmental labels and declarations in line with the international standard EN ISO 14024:2000 that includes independent system of verification by third parties.

PROCEDURE FOR AWARDING THE EU ECOLABEL

The EU Ecolabel awarding procedure is carried out in line with the Ordinance on the EU Ecolabel (Official Gazette No. 110/14) and envisages the following steps:

  1. development of an elaborate
  2. submission of the application
  3. proceeding upon application
  4. conclusion of a contract and obtaining the certificate
  5. fees

I. DEVELOPMENT OF AN ELABORATE

Producer (operator) that wishes his/her product to carry the EU Ecolabel first has to check to which product category the product belongs, or if there are criteria for this type of product.

If by inspection of the criteria it is determined that the product meets all prescribed criteria the operator initiates the process of development of an elaborate on compliance of the product with criteria under Annex II of the Ordinance.

The operator concludes a contract with the authorised person that will develop the elaborate on compliance of the product with criteria. The operator selects the authorised person (legal person in possession of an approval for performing professional environmental protection activities) that possesses a decision on the development of background documents for obtaining the environmental label.

List of all authorised persons (pdf)

II. APPLICATION PROCEDURE

After the elaborate is developed, the operator submits the elaborate together with an application to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and requests awarding of the EU Ecolabel through a form prescribed in the Ordinance, Annex I. The material is submitted in written form and on electronic storage media to the address: Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, Radnička cesta 80, 10000 Zagreb

III. PROCEEDING UPON APPLICATION

After receiving the application, the Ministry carries out the procedure of verification of the elaborate within 30 days. If it is established that the application or the elaborate are incomplete the operator is given a deadline within which it has to supplement the requested. If the faults are not addressed within the given deadline (for an application max. 8 days, and for the elaborate max. 60 days), the Ministry will reject the application. When the application is accepted the product is allocated a registration number and a one-off fee is set for the operator in accordance with Annex III of the Ordinance.

IV. CONCLUSION OF A CONTRACT AND CERTIFICATE

After the operator delivers to the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection proof of having paid the one-off fee the procedure is initiated to sign the standard contract on the conditions for EU Ecolabel use between the operator and the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection. After the contract is concluded the operator is issued with an appropriate certificate and may use the EU Ecolabel logo on its products.

V. ANNUAL FEE

The contract defines the amount of the annual fee prescribed by Annex III of the Ordinance.

CO-FINANCING OF THE COSTS OF ELABORATE DEVELOPMENT

In 2016 awarding of subsidies to companies is planned for development of elaborates for the EU Ecolabel in accordance with last-year’s model through the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

Further information on the EU Ecolabel is available at the official European Commission website.

EU Ecolabel Product Catalogue is intended for consumers, retailers and public procurement officers.

Contact: eko-oznake@mzoe.hr

 

 

EMAS

EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) is a scheme for eco management and independent assessment intended for all legal persons and natural persons-craftsmen, that is, all public and private organisations that carry out a particular economic or service activity with a certain impact on the environment in order to assess the impact of their activity on the environment and improve it.

The EMAS scheme was developed by the European Commission as a voluntary environmental protection tool whereby organisations agree to apply higher environmental protection standards than those prescribed by law, and the interest of organisation for registering in the EMAS scheme and the desire to improve environmental performance is continually growing.

The EMAS scheme or the common rules, procedures and fundamental technical requirements for the establishment and implementation of the EMAS scheme was defined by the European Commission through Regulation (EC) No. 1221/2009 while the national Regulation on the voluntary participation by organisations in the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) (Official Gazette 77/14) enabled the establishment of the national scheme for EMAS implementation.

More information on the application procedure and registration for the EMAS scheme can be found at the website of Croatian Agency for Environment and Nature http://emas.azo.hr/

All enquiries regarding registration may be sent to emas@azo.hr

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