GEN Activities

Since 1994 GEN has arranged four annual meetings, Stockholm, Sweden (941128), Skyros, Greece (95 0705), Sao Paulo, Brazil (96064:11 PM12) and in Tokyo, Japan (970922).

The Executive Committee has during 1997 had three meetings, Kyoto, Japan (970418), Tokyo, Japan (970921) and in Madrid, Spain (971215).

GEN activities
Technical assistance program
During the annual meeting in 1996, a pilot project for technical assistance for developing countries was decided. This program helps new programs to learn practical knowledge from established programs. Norway together with Taiwan did this project. The positive result was reported to the annual meeting in 1997, which decided to expand the technical assistance program for the year 1998. This technical assistance program will also enable low budgeted and developing programs to participate in workshops arranged by GEN.

Position paper on ecolabelling and work on mutual recognition
The GEN Secretariat has prepared a draft position paper on ecolabelling and mutual recognition. A working group was appointed at the annual meeting, which proposed the options for mutual recognition, which was approved by the annual meeting 1997, and also reported a new position to the Executive Committee in December. These options were:

Activity report of the GEN for 1997
space 1 First step
space Co-operation and interchange of information including policy objectives
2 Second step
space Mutual confidence in organisations established by the following requirements:
  • follow ISO 14 024
  • implementation of ISO 9001
  • follow rules of GEN
  • to have codes of good practice
3 Third step
space Mutual recognition of testing arrangements
Mutual recognition of assessment procedures
4 Fourth step
space Analysis of ecological criteria
space - If criteria are the same
  • Mutual recognition - If criteria are different
  • Initiate study of equivalence in terms of
- (i) environmental impact
- (ii) programme credibility

GEN has two secretariat and the responsibility for the administration of GEN is shared between General Affair office, GAO, in Japan and SIS in Sweden. GAO is responsible for the treasure, the GEN newsletter and for updating the Home Page. SIS is responsible for administration of the meetings, information, keeping contact with members and prospective members

The work program for 1998
The full membership decided at the annual meeting 1997 that the work program and corresponding estimated cost for the projects for 1998 should be the following:

In order to get further with mutual recognition, the same working group prepared an action program on mutual recognition. The Executive Committee at its December meeting decided the following action plan,

a) January 1998, Approval of action plan by all members
b) December 1997-February 1998, Development of Guidelines for the generic process for mutual recognition (to include the four steps agreed in Tokyo), Mr Polak and Mr Weissman. These guidelines will be circulated for comments.
c) February 1998-May 1998, Initiation of bilateral agreements
d) End of May 1998, Reports to the SEC of the results
e) June 1998, Examinations and analysis of the action plan
f) October 1998, Report on the annual meeting

This action plan was sent to the members in the beginning of 1998.

ISO work
GEN has followed ISO work with the standards for ecolabelling, ISO 14020, 14021, 14024 and 14025, by active work in the ISO/TC 207, SC3 and SC5 and the different working groups close. GEN has been represented during all the ISO meetings. These GEN representatives have reported the developments to the members at the annual meetings and have also had an influence on the final work. The work in the SC5 continues and GEN is represented in the working groups.

GEN is actively updating its Home Page on the website. Besides information of the GEN organisation, criteria documents from member organisations can be found on the web.

Work shop
Following the 1997 annual meeting, a two-day workshop was arranged by GEN. This workshop focused on information for developing programs. The main issues were "Product Category Selection and Criteria Development", "Assessment and Licensing", "Program Management", "Marketing, Promotion, and Green Procurement" and finally "International Issues". Several GEN members and non-members participated in the workshop.

Participation at UN's event

GEN was represented at the Sustainable Development in Action Exhibition, held during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in June 1997. The GEN secretariat was informing about the GEN activities on the exhibition floor.


In 1997 GEN published two issues of the GENews, in which GEN informs about the organisation, the GEN activities and its members. The two GENews have focused on experiences concerning the selection of product groups for criteria development and the criteria development itself. The members have also presented their programs thoroughly in these papers.

Technical assistance program Continuity of the programs
Ensure that the programs are strong
Continue to expand the technical systems program 10 000 $ expand to 15 000 $
Specific seminars for detergents or/and paper 10 000 $
Work on mutual recognition 10 000 $
Financing participation in the ISO work 10 000_15 000 $

At the beginning of 1997, GEN had fourteen members. During 1997, GEN got another four members. These new members were Environmental Choice New Zealand, New Zealand, Korea Environmental Labelling Association, Federal Environmental Agency, Germany and The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden. The Executive Committee decided at its December meeting to recommend the Annual Meeting in October 1998 to accept another three members, which had applied for membership. These prospective members were two developing country programs, Thailand Environment Institute, Thailand, Environment 2000 Foundation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, and the third one the multinational program of the European Commission, Directorate General XI, E4. Altogether GEN will have twenty-one members after the annual meeting in 1998.

GEN Members (October 1998):

Austrian Consumer Organisation Austria
Associaocao Brasileira de Normas Tecnicas Brazil
TerraChoice Canada
State Directive for Environment Croatia
ASAOS, Supreme Council for Awarding the Ecolabel Greece
Federal Environmental Agency Germany
Ministry of the Environment Israel
Japan Environment Association Japan
Korea Environmental Labelling Association Korea
Attache De Gouvrement, Ministrere De L'Environment Luxembourg
Norweigan Foundation for Ecolabelling Norway
EDF, Environment and Development Foundation R.O.C., Taiwan
AENOR-Medio Ambiente Spain
SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
UK Ecolabelling Board Great Britain
Green Seal USA
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, The Green Good Buy Sweden
Environmental Choice New Zealand New Zealand
Thailand Environment Institute Thailand
Environment 2000 Foundation of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
European Commission, Directorate General XI, E4 European Community