Manufacturers promote the compliance with environmental standards of their products in two ways - via self-declaration or via the use of ecolabels. Although the operation of ecolabels schemes is sometimes governed by regulation, their use is voluntary and not required by legislation. The schemes develop and publish environmental performance criteria for their relevant product groups (for example televisions, furniture etc), which have to be fulfilled by a manufacturer in order to qualify for an ecolabel. There are several European ecolabels, which can be awarded globally, including for example the European "Flower" (operated by the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), TCO (operated by Sweden), the Blue Angel (operated by Germany) and the Nordic Swan (operated by Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland).

The EU ecolabel scheme (European “Flower”) has been in existence for many years, and applies to a wide-ranging list of consumer product groups, for which criteria are established to set standards for low environmental impact.  Many of these apply to products containing flame retardants, for example personal and portable computers, televisions, bed mattresses, textiles, furniture, light bulbs, heat pumps and refrigerators.
Currently, the EU ecolabel scheme is currently under revision. The proposed new Ecolabel Regulation aims at putting a stronger focus on products and services that have the most significant environmental impacts and the highest potential for improvement.  The revised scheme could cover a larger number of products, with simpler administration procedures, and replacement of the annual fee by an application charge.  The revision should be completed in 2009.

EBFRIP does not participate directly in the development of ecolabel schemes, but is open to engagement in, and advocates for improvements in, the schemes.  We fully support the participation of our colleagues in EFRA, who advocate for fair treatment of all flame retardants in ecolabel schemes.  For example, within the EU ecolable scheme, EFRA supports the adoption of more meaningful criteria for selection of flame retardants, and where possible common application of these criteria across product groups.  In most cases, the selection criteria for flame retardants (regardless if they are brominated or not) is based today on the r-phrases classification, from packaging and labeling regulation, which characterise the intrinsic properties of the substances.  A list of restricted r-phrases is mentioned in the ecolabel criteria for the relevant product groups.   R-phrases actually characterize hazard, but do not take into account the exposure to risk of the products.  This imposes extremely stringent requirements, and places products holding the European ecolabel far above legislative requirements.


Cross-industry position - European ecolabel scheme threatened by failure to take account of scientific assessment 
(17 June 2008)

Cross-industry views on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
(8 November 2008)