GEN Activities

1998 GEN Annual Meeting Minutes




GEN members
John Polak TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc Canada
Nevenka Preradovi'c State Directorate for the protection of Environment Croatia
Simon Goss European Commission, DGXI, E4 European Community
Andreas Troge Federal Environment Agency Germany
Harald Neitzel Federal Environment Agency Germany
Shigeyuki Hashizume Japan Environment Association Japan
Seiji Taguchi Japan Environment Association Japan
Hiroyuki Sato Japan Environment Association Japan (GEN GAO)
Tove Tronstad Norweigian Foundation for Environment Labelling Norway
Marianne B Eskeland Norweigian Foundation for Environment Labelling Norway
Anton Elejabeitia Associación Española de Normalización y Certificación Spain
José Tejera Associación Española de Normalización y Certificación Spain (Chair)
Ragnar Unge SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
Sven Thiberg SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
Kerstin Sahlén SIS Ecolabelling Sweden (SEC)
Eva Eiderström Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Sweden
Ning Yu Environment and Development Foundation Taiwan
Pongvipa Lohsomboon Thailand Environment Institute Thailand
Michael Jones UK Ecolabelling Board UK
Arthur Weissman Green Seal USA
Heather Bailey Environment 2000 Foundation Zimbabwe
Ana Isabel Zúñiga SanzanaNational Commission for the Environment Chile
Stefan Larenas Consumers International, Regional Office for Latin America Chile
Ana Quiros ECO Global KPMG Consulting Costa Rica
Roman Vyhnanek Czechia Environment Center Czechia
Jesper Gruvmark DK-teknik, MiljømSrkessekretariatet Denmark
Zsuzsanna Fiegler Hungarian Ecolabelling Organisation Hungary
Ajay Aggarwal Central Pollution Control board, Ministry of Environment and Forests India
Sabar Ginting Environmental Impact Management Indonesia
Annella McFarlane The Bureau of Standards Jamaica
Clarissa M. Oracion Bureau of Product Standards PRIME Project - Environmental Management System Philippines
Alexander Kaffka Russian Academy of Science Russia
Chad Dobson CCC, Consumer's Choice Council USA


6 Associate Membership of GEN
6.1 Communications Strategy
The members assented to the ExCom proposal to develop a communication strategy. The strategy proposal will be presented at the next annual meeting. The importance of measuring the results of the efforts was stressed.

6.2 Web Site - Home Page
GAO informed the members about the problems with the GEN homepage, which was suddenly shut down by UBC. GAO will reconstruct the home page and asked the members to provide GAO with updated information. Members with their own home page will continue to use this for publishing their criteria documents as the updating process is easier.

The cost of the URL-site seemed to be high and the members were asked to find out of there is a cheaper site to be found for the home page. GAO office insisted in the possibility to contract the Japanese company to assure the maintenance due to the reason of the rapid communication by geographic location and the language.

6.3 Representation in ISO
GEN has participated in the ISO working group 207/SC3 during the development of the standards 14021 and 14024. These working groups are expected to disband soon. There remains the work with ecolabelling type III, but it has been decided that this type of ecolabelling will not be stated in a standard but in the Technical Report.

AFNOR has invited GEN to participate in a new working group for Design for Environment. GEN will be represented by AENOR, which is going toparticipate.

6.4 International Representation Plan
Because of lack of information, it has not been possible for GEN to get an overview to make it possible to plan the work yet. The members were encouraged to send information to SEC about important international conferences to make it possible for GEN to plan and organise participation.

6.5 Consumer's Choice Council
Mr Chad Dobson, CCC, informed the membership about CCC and the importance of this organisation, of which GEN is a member.

The possibility to inform the governmental representatives, which have connections in Geneva with the trade people, about the ecolabelling and the way the work is performed was emphasised.

7 Mutual Recognition:
7.1 System of Mutual Recognition
The document on Mutual Recognition, was presented by Mr Polak. The status of this paper was thoroughly discussed. The expression "Mutual Recognition" was defined according to the ISO standard 14024, article 5.17. The document should be regarded as a discussion paper and the members were invited to give their comments to Mr Polak. Mr Polak will develop the draft further and a final version will be presented at the next annual meeting.

7.2 Use of ISO 14021 and 14024 and Code of Good Practice
The GEN members agreed on adopting the ISO standards 1021 and 14024 as the GEN code of good practice.

7.3 Action Plan
Attention was paid to the difficulties with bilateral agreements with already approved criteria. JEA, Japan, invited other countries to collaborate. The discussion terminated in a proposal that five of the member organisations should collaborate in the development of criteria for computers. Computer criteria already exist in six different schemes.

A follow-up proposal of this project will be to give a report of the result at the workshop in connection with the annual meeting in October in Ottawa, Canada next year.

7.4 Report of Ongoing Pilot Projects
There are three agreements in practice, the first one was the one between EDF, Taiwan, and TerraChoice, Canada and this project has been followed by the ones between TerraChoice-Green Seal, US and EDF-Green Seal.

8 ExCom Election
The Executive Committee was elected and will have the following members:

9 Work program and Financial:
9.1 Approval of 1997 financial audit
Mr Hashizume, JEA, presented the report. The meeting accepted the report. It should be noted that the European Commission had contributed to parts of the cost for the Secretariat in Sweden. There was a request for more information about specific activities in the activity report as well as a connection between this report and the financial report. The meeting decided that next year the two reports should be connected.

9.2 1998 Financial Report
Mr Hashizume, JEA, presented the actual income and expenditure versus the approved 1998 budget. The members were critical about the great carry-over. The carry-over was estimated at 70000 US $.

9.3 Approval of 1999 work program
The 1999 work program was discussed. The need for a 5 year strategic plan was obvious. It was decided that the Chair should do this plan. The proposal shall be presented at the next annual meeting.

The need of teaching material was discussed and Mr Polak would send the teaching material used by TerraChoice to SNF, Sweden, SIS Ecolabelling, Sweden, FEA, Germany, AENOR, Spain, Environment 2000, Zimbabwe and EDF Taiwan for comments and proposals.

Finally, the Swedish chair, Mr Sven Thiberg, proposed that the role of the secretariat should be reconsidered and that GEN needed to have a stronger support for its work. Mr Thiberg proposed that Sweden together with the other Nordic countries will propose the alternatives in a report, that should be discussed by the ExCom. The conclusion was that the Chair would contact Mr Thiberg to get his views on the Secretariat role.

9.4 Approval of 1999 budget
The Chair and Mr Sato explained the budget for 1999 and with minor amendments and reallocations it was accepted as follows:

0 Opening of the Meeting
Mr Andreas Troge, President of the Federal Environmental Agency opened the meeting. Mr Troge emphasized the importance of ecolabelling and of co-operation.

1 Introduction
The participants presented themselves and the organisation they represented.

2 Approval of Agenda
The agenda was approved. Heather Bailey and Michael Jones were appointed as the drafting committee.

3 Approval of Minutes from the last Annual Meeting
No objections were raised concerning the minutes from the Sao Paulo-meeting.

4 Membership:
4.1 Status of membership
There is expressed an interest to become GEN members in the future from the ecolabelling organisations in Philippines, Costa Rica, China and Hungary.

The possibility to make it possible for single-issue schemes to become members or associated members of GEN was brought up. Some of the members considered this very important. Other members wanted a clear definition of a single-issue program, as these programs are very different from the type-I programs, which are the only members today.

The proposal concerning the single-issue programs was that the Executive Committee would elaborate a proposal how to open the GEN membership to this kind of schemes. This proposal will be discussed at the next annual meeting. Single-issues schemes should be invited to the next annual meeting and that a workshop with single-issue organisations should be included in this annual meeting.

4.2 Approval of New Members
Three organisations have applied for GEN membership and the ExCom has taken provisional approval decision:
  • The European Union, DGXI, E4, contact person: Claude Rouam/Simon Goss
  • Thailand Environment Institute, Thailand, contact person: Pongvipa Lohsomboon
  • Environment 2000 Foundation, Zimbabwe, contact person: Heather Bailey

The full membership approved the new members. With these new members, GEN has 21 members.

5 Technical Assistance:
5.1 Current Status and report of past year's activities
Mr Polak had elaborated a proposal for an expanded technical assistance. Currently this program is open to GEN members. It was proposed that the technical assistance program should be available also to potential members as well, and the assistance offered more flexible. The summary of the presentation is attached to the minutes.

During the past year there have not been any applications for the technical assistance program. To give more information about the program and its possibilities, there will be more marketing during the coming year by GENews.

5.2 Plans for 1999
The meeting discussed the need for teaching material in combination with the technical assistance program. As some of the members already have elaborated teaching material, these members were requested to send their teaching material to the secretariat before the 1st of February 1999. At the next meeting, the ExCom will evaluate the possibility of compiling the material or making it possible to use in connection with the technical assistance program.

The GEN members accepted the proposal for an expanded technical assistance program. Mr Polak will elaborate a proposal for the necessary GEN policy and procedures regarding the expanded Technical Assistance Program for consideration at the next annual meeting of GEN.
Membership fee 78.000
Carry-over 70.000
Total 148.000
Technical assistance 25.000
Seminars 35.000
Teaching material 10.000
Home page 2.500
Communication 15.000
Brouchure 1.000
Tel/fax/postage 1.000
Chair 9.000
Benefit for chair (22%) 1.980
Secretariat support 30.000
Annual Audit/legal 6.000
Others 6.000
Tota 142.480

The membership accepts the financial report for 1999 and the budget is approved.


10 Other Business
There was no other business
11 Presentation of the German ecolabel
Mr. Harald Neitzel presented the Blue Angel ecolabel; including statistics of the current situation and future projects.

12 Resolutions
The members accepted the following resolutions Resolutions Res 1/98
That the following ecolabel organisations Environment 2000 Foundation (Zimbabwe), Thailand Environment Institute (Thaliland) and European Commission (DG XI) be approved as members of GEN;

that GEN reevaluates categories and conditions of membership with consideration of types of eco-labelling programmes which are not ISO Type I Eco-labelling Programmes;

that GEN accepts the proposal for an expanded GEN Technical Assistance Programe;

that the definition for Mutual Recognition is taken as per paragraph 5.17 of ISO14024;

that the document "System for Mutual Recognition" be regarded as a discussion paper to the membership of GEN, with comments invited from members to John Polak;

that ISO 14024 in conjunction with ISO 14020 be endorsed by GEN as a code of Practice for Type I Eco-labelling Programmes;

that the membership accepts the audited financial report for 1997;

that for the future, the financial report and activity report shall be merged, in order that the costs for each activity shall be evident;

that the Executive Committe be authorized to appoint the auditor of the financial report for 1998 after consultation of the full members;

that membership fees remain as agreed in Resolution 4/97.

13 Date of next meeting
Next meeting will be held in Canada (Otawa) next october 1999.

Mr. Tejera closed the meeting and expressd in his name and in the GEN members name his deeply gratitude to Harald Neitzel for the hospitality and efficiency shown during the meetings.