The European Parliament in Strasbourg. Copyright by VKI.

Austrian Ecolabel in the EU Parliament

The Austrian Ecolabel made a strong presentation at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg from 16 to 18 October 2023. Together with the Blue Angel from Germany, the Nordic Swan from the Scandinavian countries and the Dutch Milieukeur, the importance of national quality labels was pointed out to the EU parliamentarians. The motto of the exhibition in the busy area in front of the canteen of the EU Parliament: Together we are strong.

Variety of products

The variety of products on display surprised some visitors to the exhibition: from T-shirts to office and school supplies, from various cleaning products and cosmetics to financial products, visitors were able to look at, touch and experience the products. Especially the ATM cards from accounts with the Austrian Ecolabel that were brought along led to many questions - as well as to great appreciation after the explanation of the background, namely the financing of green projects through the funds in these accounts.

A quiz with questions about the labels on display also stimulated questions and discussions. Posters provided information about the individual eco-labels and their contribution to the Green Transition. The facts and figures also led to amazement - or did you know that the labels mentioned, together with the EU Ecolabel, certify 157,000 products from around 16,000 companies throughout the EU?

The Austrian Ecolabel stand with an excellent variety of products. Copyright by VKI.

A strong partnership, the Blue Angel, the Nordic Swan and the Austrian Ecolabel. Copyright by VKI.

A challenge for policy-makers

The aim of the exhibition was - as at the seminar on World Ecolabel Day in Brussels - to draw the attention of politicians, in this case EU parliamentarians, to the credibility and importance of national quality labels - and to make them aware of the challenges these labels face as a result of upcoming regulatory developments.

Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament, was enthusiastic about the variety of certified products and stressed the importance of national quality labels, which should be preserved at all costs, as they cover a broader range of product groups than the EU Ecolabel, for example - and are also much better known among consumers in the respective countries. She also emphasised the importance of the above-mentioned quality labels in sustainable procurement - and suggested that legal improvements be sought in this regard in the next legislative period of the European Parliament.

Raphael Fink from VKI on the importance of national ecolabels for consumers. Copyright by VKI.

Opening Event

The opening event of the exhibition was attended by a number of guests from the EU community, who listened to the inputs of politicians, national labels and the European consumer association BEUC. Raphael Fink from the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) and the Austrian Eco-label emphasised that EU policy and national labels are on the same side: To enable consumers to orient themselves towards truly sustainable products. However, it is important not to hinder national quality labels in their meaningful and important work by excessive legal measures.

Also on the agenda were a series of bilateral talks with EU parliamentarians to sensitise them to central aspects and necessary changes, for example to the Green Claims Directive.