31 October, Brussels – Leaked documents reveal that the European Commission is considering scrapping the EU Ecolabel scheme as a result of a policy review. The voluntary scheme allows manufacturers to demonstrate that their products meet stringent environmental criteria.
The Ecolabel, which was created in 1992, has gone through numerous rounds of revision and has been under review since 2014. The Commission was expected to submit a progress review to the European Parliament and the Council at the beginning of 2015, which has so far not emerged.
Alongside delays in the Ecolabel review, the Commission has come under pressure for not yet publishing its Eco-design Working Plan, which was due in December 2015.
It has been suggested that the delays have been a result of political sensitivities, with the Ecolabel and eco-design measures often portrayed as meddlesome “red tape”.
The leaked document reveals that if the Ecolabel scheme is not scrapped, it is likely to be scaled back, with some product groups being removed. These include tissue paper, newspaper print and flushing toilets. Industry groups have expressed alarm at the changes.
A meeting of the Ecolabel Advisory Board is expected at the end of November.