The functioning of the EU Ecolabel is set through a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. Its daily management is carried out by the European Commission together with bodies from the Member States and other stakeholders.

The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme, which means that producers, importers and retailers can choose to apply for the label for their products.

The life cycle of a product begins with extraction – the mining or cultivation of the raw materials, such as cotton (for textiles) or wood (for paper products). It continues with manufacturing and packaging, distribution, use and finally the “end of life” stage, when the product is disposed of or recycled.

When developing EU Ecolabel criteria for products, the focus is on the stages where the product has the highest environmental impact, and this differs from product to product.

Taking a look at textiles, for instance, fabrics have strong environmental impacts when they are dyed, printed and bleached. So, experts have designed the criteria for textiles in order to make sure harm at the manufacturing stage is reduced as much as possible. For other products such as detergents, the substances that go into the products are one of the key priority areas. Other products, such as electronic equipment, have a very high environmental impact during their use phase, so criteria will focus on the efficiency of their energy consumption.

In addition, product-specific criteria ensure that any product bearing the EU Ecolabel is of good quality with high performance.

Criteria are developed and revised in a transparent way by a group of experts and stakeholders. For more information on the development of EU Ecolabel criteria, visit the Criteria development and revision section.

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