Austria celebrates national ecolabel success

Tenth anniversary celebrated with claim that some firms have increased turnover by 20%

Austria's environment ministry today held tenth birthday celebrations for the country's national product ecolabelling scheme, including a ceremonial presentation of four new awards bringing the total to 440. The latest awards include a pellet fuel heating system for which the key criterion is use of sustainable fuel, and resource and energy efficient building bricks.

In a statement, the ministry stated that voluntary environmental instruments were gaining importance in Austria and that companies in the paper, wood and paint sectors that actively used the national ecolabel as a marketing tool had increased their turnover by up to 20%.

Running alongside the EU ecolabel scheme, Austria's ecolabel is one of three regional systems in Europe, the other two being Germany's long-established Blue Angel, which has been awarded to over 4,000 products, and Scandinavia's Nordic Swan (ENDS Daily 29 November 1999), carried by some 3,000 products.

Environment minister Wilhelm Molterer said at today's ceremony that Austria's label was not only an objective and reliable decision-making aid for environmentally conscious consumers, but was also designed to help sell in the public sector. While in the EU as a whole, 11% of GDP was spent by the public sector, in Austria it was 15.9%, he noted.

Follow Up:
Austrian environment ministry, tel: +43 1 711 006703 and press release; EU "Flower" scheme; Blue Angel; Nordic Swan.

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