15 Dec 2017
German Authorities Organise Annual “Blue Angel Campaign Day” to Help Consumers Make “Greener” Purchasing Decisions
On 25 October 2017, the German Federal Environment Ministry, the German Federal Environment Agency and two independent label-awarding agencies jointly organised an annual “Blue Angel campaign day”. So as to celebrate a growing product variety covered by the label, they organised different activities to raise awareness, especially with regard to plastics recycling and the avoidance of microplastic pollution.
On the day of the campaign, they organised a lottery, offered interactive advice for “greener” purchasing and set up information booths. Even retailers joined the campaign with promotional offers.
Hong Kong sellers familiar with the German market may already know that the product label “Blue Angel” aims to guarantee that a product or service meets high standards. The “Blue Angel” stands for the protection of environment and health, resources, water and the climate. The ecolabel aims to provide reliable guidance when it comes to making “green” purchasing decisions. Purchasing a “Blue Angel”-labelled product guarantees that a product has a lower environmental impact and greater health protection when compared with many similar products.
Currently, approximately 12,000 environmentally-friendly products and services from 1,500 companies and 120 categories have been labelled with the “Blue Angel”. The wide product range includes products for the household (e.g., household lamps, textiles and furniture), many kinds of electrical devices (e.g., televisions, hair driers and baby monitors), construction materials (e.g., flooring, varnishes and wallpapers), office equipment (e.g., computers, monitors, printers, multifunction devices and telephone systems), solar-powered products and solar collectors, garden tools and vehicles.
For Hong Kong traders who export to Germany, it may be well worth considering whether their products qualify for the label, as it is highly regarded and well known in Germany. With its upcoming 40th anniversary next year, the label’s renown will continue to increase.
The label is awarded by the independent Environmental Label Jury which consists of representatives of environmental and consumer associations, trade unions, the association of German cities and towns, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and two among the 16 federal states on a rotating basis. The “Blue Angel” is awarded to products distinguishing themselves by greater environmental friendliness than other products which serve the same purpose.
The evaluation of the product prior to the award always takes into account the entire life cycle. The analysis considers as many aspects of environmental and health protection as possible for the respective product.
The specific award criteria are established by the Federal Environment Agency in cooperation with experts for every individual product group. The criteria are being reviewed every three to five years with a view to being up-to-date.
Among the award criteria, energy consumption, material requirements and emissions are taken into consideration. The awarding of the “Blue Angel” label follows a multidimensional approach: producers who apply for the label should ideally ensure that their respective products are simultaneously energy efficient, durable, with low radiation, exhaust or noise emissions, and easily recyclable.
For example, the “Blue Angel” requires products such as laptops or vacuum cleaners to be designed in a way which allows them to be easily dismantled in order to better separate plastic from other components. Furthermore, the number of different types of plastics used is limited in order to guarantee unmixed source materials for recycling. Products made of plastic must contain at least 80% recycled plastic.
The Basic Award Criteria for each product group are available to read or download from the “Blue Angel” website. The use of the “Blue Angel” by the applying company is governed by a contract on the use of the environmental label which also regulates the type of use and the period of validity. The amount of the fee for use of the label is determined by the total yearly sales of all of the products or services awarded with the environmental label in accordance with the corresponding Basic Award Criteria, and ranges from 320 EUR to 10,500 EUR.