Certification standards in Europe

The European Green Deal

If you trade in Europe, you need to be aware of the European Green Deal, which…

Was created by the European Union (EU) in 2019 with the goal to make Europe into a climate neutral society by 2050 or sooner
Affects all imports to EU countries across all industry sectors
Is a set of policy initiatives and directives related to climate, energy, agriculture, industry, environment, transport, regional development and innovation
Informs mandatory and voluntary directives relating to production, water/energy, marketing, product use, consumption and waste
Impacts your operations in areas such as design, manufacture, materials, labelling, packaging, product disposal/reuse and transport

An overview of EU sustainability requirements

There are EU directives that affect the sale of specific products – for example under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, batteries require a crossed out wheelie-bin symbol to direct them to recycling. The CE Mark is probably the most widely used and recognised product mark in the EU. It indicates a product meets all essential requirements (safety, health, energy efficiency or environmental concerns) of applicable EU legislation.

The EU has a requirement for the circular design of some products. For example, some products are required to be designed for a minimum warranty period and/or disassembly. There are ‘extended producer responsibilities’ (EPR) for the end-of-life phase of some products. Retailers are required to incorporate the cost of waste recovery and reuse, remanufacture, or recycle of EPR products into their business model.

o support the EU’s move towards a toxic-free environment, chemicals may be grouped into categories, and restrictions applied. Some certifications specify labels include information on recycled content and material of manufacture.

European sustainability standards and eco-labels

Some of the more common European standards, certifications and eco-labels include:

Blue Angel

Blue Angel

Blue Angel – Voluntary eco label for products

CE Mark
E-Mark
EMAS
Energy Labelling
EU Ecolabel
Green Dot
EU Footwear Mark
Water Label
WEEE label for electronic products

Keeping up with European directives and policies

The certification and labelling of exports to the European market is an evolving area. You will need to research this and keep up to date if you are trading in Europe.