EU Ecolabel to cover worker safety in footwear

Europe
Published:  24 August, 2016

The European Commission has adopted a new set of ecological criteria under the existing EU Ecolabel scheme that concern sectors such as furniture and footwear.

Established to encourage manufacturers to produce goods and services that meet high environmental and performance standards, the EU Commission has announced that manufacturers of footwear, furniture and computers who wish to benefit from the EU Ecolabel will have to comply with strict requirements that focus on the environmental performance of the product, but also cover product safety and social aspects.

Improved Corporate Social Responsibility with regard to labour conditions will apply to the final footwear assembly site, following the provisions of recognised international labour standards as set by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multi-National Enterprises.

In the case of furniture, in addition to a mandate on producing products that are more durable and easier to repair, the new criteria require manufacturers to conduct a more comprehensive life cycle assessment, while paying special attention to the hazardous compounds and residues, which in some cases could contribute to indoor air pollution.

The criteria revision is valid for six years following its date of adoption.

"The EU Ecolabel promotes Europe's transition to a circular economy, supporting both sustainable production and consumption. Thanks to transparent ecological criteria, consumers can make conscious choices, without compromising on the quality of the products. Similarly, the Ecolabel rewards those manufacturers who choose to design products that are durable and repairable, promoting innovation and saving resources", said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment.