The 'Ecolabel' sign is a voluntary reward system that is available in Turkey and countries around the world, which promotes environmentally friendly products and provides consumers with valid and accurate scientific information about the products.
Background: Ecolabel comes to Turkey
The international Ecolabel voluntary reward system was introduced in Turkey on 19 October 2018 with the enactment of the "Ecolabel Regulation" (“Regulation”).
The Regulation is the primary legislation enforcing the Ecolabel system in Turkey and is implemented and monitored by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation ("Ministry") and the General Directorate of Environmental Impact Assessment, Permits and Inspections.
Any product or service produced and distributed in Turkey and imported into or exported from Turkey must meet the standards of the Turkish system in order to be allowed to carry an Ecolabel.
The Regulation not only sets out the criteria for assessing products and services. It also emphasises that measures and incentives should be taken to increase demand for eco-labeled products and services, and states that eco-labeled products and services should be given preference in public procurement, as part of the overall effort to raise awareness of the designation.
What it takes to hold an Ecolabel
The criteria used to award an Ecolabel are different for each product and service group. These criteria aim at maximising environmental performance by considering the entire life cycle of a particular service or product.
When setting the criteria for a group, officials must assess whether a particular product or service does the following:
- Reduces energy consumption that affects climate change and biodiversity, and promotes renewable energy;
- Generates waste and pollution that affects the environment, including the dispersal of emissions and pollutants;
- Modifies substances harmful to health and the environment and creates safer substances and production methods where technically feasible;
- Minimises the environmental impact of products and services by extending their life and designs products so that they can be reused;
- Balances environmental benefits and harm while ensuring that specific health and safety standards are achieved at each stage of the life cycle of a product or service;
- Meets the standards of TS EN ISO 14024 Type I Environmental Impacts, Principles and Methods and those of other eco-labeled products;
- Considers associated use and reduces animal testing as much as possible.
To obtain an Ecolabel, a company must apply to the Ministry. All applications must contain the necessary information and documentation. Generally, the following groups can apply for an Ecolabel: producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, service providers, wholesalers and retailers, persons and institutions.
Upon application, the Ministry forms a commission that prepares a technical assessment report on whether the applicant's service or product meets Ecolabel criteria. The report of this commission is then submitted to the Ministry, which makes a final decision on the matter, but may conduct an investigation or obtain additional research if it deems it necessary.
According to the Regulation, the Ministry may reject an application in the following cases:
- If the product contains substances classified as toxic, dangerous to the environment, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction under the Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulation (Official Gazette, 11 December 2013).
- If the product contains chemicals as defined in Article 47 of the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Official Journal, 23 June 2017).
- If the product is one of the following: veterinary and medical products, devices and tools as defined in the Medical Devices Ordinance (Official Gazette, 7 June 2011) and the Veterinary Products Ordinance (Official Gazette, 24 December 2011).
- If the product is feed or a food product.
Conclusion of an agreement and use of the Ecolabel
Upon conclusion of an agreement between the Ministry and an eligible applicant, that applicant will be awarded an Ecolabel. In addition to the criteria that are clearly defined for each product or service group, the Ministry may impose additional obligations through an agreement.
The owner of the Ecolabel must use the sign in accordance with the Regulation and the terms of the agreement. If an owner violates the agreement, the Ministry may unilaterally terminate it and revoke permission to use the Ecolabel designation. In addition, the owner of an Ecolabel may unilaterally terminate the agreement and renounce the right to use the Ecolabel by giving three months' notice.
The owner of an Ecolabel must not produce or be associated with any advertisement, statement, sign or logo, which is factually incorrect, misleading or damages the integrity of the Ecolabel scheme.
In addition, the Ministry may conduct investigations into the use of an Ecolabel at any time.