The European Commission has made a user manual available for companies and competent authorities which are administering the certification of the EU Ecolabel at national level. Intergraf is encouraging competent authorities to consider the practicalities of implementing the Ecolabel for printed products to ensure, the cost and administrative burden is not unrealistic for printing companies and SMEs in particular.
The Ecolabel for printed products, finalised in mid-2012 is a voluntary scheme which aims to encourage businesses to market printed products that meet high environmental and quality standards.
Intergraf was sceptical about the development of yet another label for printers due to the fact that printed products are complex compared to other EU Ecolabelled products. However Intergraf has been involved in the elaboration of the user manual in order to ensure that the label would be as applicable as possible for printers and particularly to ensure that a compliant range of products, rather than a single one-off printed product, can be licenced. Although the EU Ecolabel will be costly and administratively constraining, having the possibility of applying it to a range of printed products should enable companies, SMEs in particular, to consider applying.
European printers are already operating under strict legal environmental constraints and are taking ambitious voluntary initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint. The EU Ecolabel for printed paper goes beyond these existing high environmental standards and promotes environmental excellence.
Beatrice Klose, Secretary General, Intergraf: “European printers are keen to demonstrate their efforts to secure excellent environmental performance. However, excellence should not mean inaccessibility. The excellence of the EU Ecolabel should not imply that it is either unaffordable or inapplicable. This is particularly true for printed products. Printed products are products designed by the customer. One order will not resemble the next.”
INTERGRAF therefore calls on national competent bodies to consider the unique situation of printed products and guarantee a practical implementation of the EU Ecolabel criteria to ensure that printers are not discouraged from applying and that SMEs can actually consider applying.
Moreover, INTERGRAF calls for a level playing field for the award of the EU Ecolabel. To secure fair competition, equal treatment across the European Union should be guaranteed with, for instance, the application of comparable verification procedures (on-site inspections) and related costs by all competent bodies. Significant differences would devaluate the EU Ecolabel.