Green Labels

If designers are to succeed in reducing the environmental damage caused by their products, then they must ensure that their are achievements are effectively communicated to management, shareholders and customers. Marketing of these benefits is therefore particularly important but many consumers are sceptical of unjustified claims. Green Labels offer a way of proving that these claims are justified. Designers may not usually be involved in the marketing of a product, but by considering the requirements of the desired marketing claims and green labels for which they hope to apply, designers can ensure that that the product is designed with maximum green marketing potential.

It should be noted however that not all green labels have been successful in communicating information to the customers, and that a number of new green labels are currently in development.

The main non-food Green Labels for UK products are outlined below. Detailed information is available from the relevant bodies.

European Eco Label

European Eco-Label

The official award for non-food products sold within the EU, it indicates that efforts have been made to minimise the products impact on the environment. Products must meet all criteria set out by EU. UK awarding body is DEFRA.

EU Energy Label

European Energy Label

It is a legal requirement within the EU that many electrical products indicate their efficiency at point of sale in a form similar to that shown here. The label rates products efficiency from A-G (A being the most efficient) and also displays some more detailed performance data. The label applies to:

Refridgerators, Freezers and Fridge-Freezers, Washing Machines, Electric Tumble Dryers, Lamps, Electric Ovens, Air Conditioners

More information available from DEFRA

Energy Efficiency Recommended Logo

Energy Efficiency Recommended Logo

Awarded by the Energy Saving Trust to indicate that a product is one of the most efficient of its kind on the market. It can be applied not only to energy comsuming products, but also to energy saving products such as building insulation and draught proofing products.

Energy Star

Energy Star

The Energy Star symbol indicates that the stand-by energy consumption of the product is below an agreed level. Voluntary label applicable in Europe and USA.

Mobius Loop

Mobius Loop

Widely used symbol to indicate that a product can be recycled or that it is produced from recycled materials. Where a product is recyclable, the loop is accompanied by an indication of the material type. For polymers this is usually done with the use of a Polymer Identification Code. For products made of recycled material, the loop is usually accompanied by a percentage. Materials and percentages can be displayed either inside or adjacent to the loop.


Forest Stewardship Council Mark

The FSC mark assures the consumer that the wood contained in a product originates from forests that meet high environmental, economic and social conditions. All applicable forests are indepenedently inspected and the FSC mark is widely accepted as being the only reliable assurance that wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests.

VOC Label

VOC Labels

Indicate the percentage of Volatile Organic Compounds in products such as paints and adhesives. The labels clearly indicate the content as being HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW or MINIMAL.

More information is available from the British Coatings Federation