January 18, 2019 by Olivia Tran
The UK’s plan for ecolabelling after Brexit was briefly discussed in the Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018. In summary, the UK will consider options for developing a domestic ecolabel, but it will also be critical in assessing the extent to which an ecolabel leads to environmentally-responsible decisions among consumers.
Among the options the UK is considering for a domestic ecolabel are:
- Multi-factor programmes (similar to the EU Ecolabel, which accounts for more than one area of environmental impact);
- Single-factor ratings (e.g. energy efficiency grades); and
- Mandatory environmental information labelling on products (e.g. packaging recyclability pictograms).
However, the Resources and Waste strategy acknowledges the low uptake and consumer popularity of the EU Ecolabel in the UK. Coupled with the increasing availability of private sector ecolabels, such as the AISE Charter for Sustainable Cleaning for cleaning products and EWG Verified™ for cosmetics, the UK may not feel the need to develop a statutory-backed ecolabel and instead rely on third-party ecolabels and industry initiatives.
Alongside discussions on the development of a domestic ecolabel, the UK will assess the adequacy of environmental information provided to consumers, evaluate the extent to which environmental information factors into purchasing habits and consider ways to encourage purchases of environmentally-responsible products.
In the meantime, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will not be participating in the EU Ecolabel scheme after 29th March 2019 and no transition period applies. Products awarded the EU Ecolabel from the UK Competent Body will need to remove the flower logo on items placed on the UK or EU-27 market or transfer their Ecolabel licence to an EU-27 Competent Body. As of late October 2018, the UK Competent Body had not processed nor received any licence transfer requests. With the increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, a transfer process may be expected to be operational in the coming weeks.
Products awarded the EU Ecolabel from an EU-27 Competent Body will be allowed to be sold on the UK market. If your company would like to pursue the EU Ecolabel for products to be placed on the EU-27 or UK market, wca can help prepare applications for submission to the Irish Competent Body. Please contact us if you would like further information