GEN Activities









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Jose Luis Tejera (Chair) Associacion Espanola de Normaloficacion y Certificacion Spain
John Polak TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc. Canada
Nevenka Preradovic State Directorate for Environment, Republic of Croatia Croatia
Seiji Taguchi Japan Environment Association Japan
Harald Neitzel Federal Environment Agency Germany
Hans Petter Graver
Tove Tronstad
Stiftelsen Miljomerking i Norge
Stiftelsen Miljomerking i Norge
Ragnar Unge SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
Ragnar Unge SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
Catharina Daggenfelt SIS Ecolabelling Sweden
Susanne Hagenfors Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Sweden
Ning Yu Environment and Development Foundation ROC(Taiwan)
Li-Ying Liai Environmental Protection Agency ROC(Taiwan)
Heather Bailey Environment 2000 Foundation Zimbabwe
Arthur Weissman Green Seal USA
Melissa Arseneault IANZ New Zealand
Ponvipa Lohsomboon Thailand Environment Institute Thailand
Clarissa Oracion (observer) Prime Project The Philippines
Tim Leah (observer)
Ian Hamilton (presenter)
Environment Canada
Hiroyuki Sato GEN General Affairs Office Japan
Evan Bozowsky GEN Secretariat Canada

NOTE: These meeting notes have been prepared to highlight the points raised and discussed, and decisions taken during the meeting. Because discussions didn't follow the agenda exactly (e.g. some inter-related points were discussed concurrently), the Secretariat has taken some liberty in organizing and summarizing discussion points under the specific agenda items. The notes parallel the order of discussion items established in the approved meeting agenda -- see Item #3 below.

0 Opening of the Meeting
Mr. Polak welcomed his colleagues to Ottawa and outlined the schedule of meeting and social activities to occur over the three day period to follow.

Mr. Tejera, the Chair, welcomed the other GEN members to the meeting and thanked TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc. for staging the preceding Conference. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the GEN membership was now up to 24 members [with the GEN memberships' approval of three provisional members at this meeting - see Item #7.1.1], and this meeting would be "crucial" with respect to the future direction of GEN.
1 Announcement of New Secretariat
The selection process was described, including the reception and review of two proposals (from SIS and TerraChoice) and the ultimate decision by the GEN Executive Committee (ExCOM) to award the Secretariat function to TerraChoice for the next three year period, effective September 1, 1999. SIS officials were recognized and thanked for their efforts and accomplishments as the preceding Secretariat, and TerraChoice officials were congratulated on their successful proposal. In response to a request for the TerraChoice proposal to be shared with the GEN membership, the Secretariat was directed to circulate the document to all GEN members.
space GEN Secretariat (GENSEC) to forward an electronic copy of the proposal to all GEN members.
2 Introductions
In a round-table fashion, all of the meeting participants introduced themselves and the organizations that they were representing. Mr. Leah of the Government of Canada joined the meeting later at which time he was introduced. Mr. Hamilton of TerraChoice joined the meeting later on the first day to provide a presentation of the Communications Strategy proposal - Agenda Item #6.2.

It was noted that only thirteen of the 24 GEN members were represented at this meeting. Some concern was expressed and discussed over this attendance level, with recognition that travel and accommodation costs may have been a deterrent to some.

3 Approval of Agenda (Revised 99/10/17)
Based on discussions held during the GEN ExCOM meeting on October 17th, the Agenda for this meeting had been slightly modified from the version that had been sent out in advance. The revised agenda document was circulated to the meeting participants and approved. Mr. Graver and Mr. Polak were selected to serve as the drafting committee.

4 Approval of Minutes from the 1998 Annual Meeting
The Minutes were approved with no revisions/corrections. However, attention was drawn to several items where actions and developments since last year's annual general meeting (AGM) have not been consistent with the points recorded in the 1998 AGM Minutes. [These deviations are discussed under relevant agenda items below.]

5 GEN Guide to Ecolabelling
Mr. Bozowsky, as the lead TerraChoice consultant on this GEN contractual work, presented the document and thanked members of a GEN Review and Editing Committee for their feedback and recommendations. Points raised and discussed, included:(i) each GEN member should receive ten copies; (ii) its existence and availability should be identified on the GEN Web site; (iii) a US$100 cost is too high for non-corporate entities; the price should be flexible and applied in a flexible manner; and (iv) sponsorship/advertising graphics on the back cover are unacceptable (discussion on this issue was expanded upon under Agenda Item #6.1c).
1. GENSEC to forward ten copies to each GEN member.
2. GEN-GAO to announce availability on Internet site and establish billing process.
3. Price to be US$100 for companies/US$25 for others.
4. GENSEC to use blank back cover on this document in future.
6 Strategic Issues and Work Plans
6.1 GEN Strategic Plan 2000 - 2004
space (a) Members' Questionnaire Results
A presentation was provided on analysis and findings relating to the thirteen questionnaire responses received. Key findings were: (i) while information and cooperation initiatives were rated quite high in terms of "expectations/ needs", corresponding "satisfaction levels" were identified as only moderate (with the highest satisfaction level being in the area of international recognition activities); (ii) seven strong suggestions were made for GEN activity areas to focus upon (see Attachment F of the Meeting Binder); and (iii) opinions on opening up GEN membership were diverse and "hampered" by varying understandings / interpretations of terminology used in the questionnaire including "life cycle breed", "single issue", "associate member", etc.

While broad conclusions were not / could not be drawn, it was decided that the findings and suggestions should be incorporated in the revision of the Strategic Plan (see below)

GENSEC to incorporate findings and suggestions into the revised Strategic Plan.

space (b) Presentation of Draft Strategic Plan
An overview presentation of the document was provided, and led to subsequent discussion. A recommendation was made that the Plan should include a financial component that addresses means to maintain and enhance financial sustainability. Another strong comment was that the strategic plan should differentiate between the role of the Network and the roles of its individual members.

It was proposed and generally supported that the main focus areas for GEN should be: (i) internal communications and cooperation among members; (ii) technical assistance to developing programs; and (iii) international representation. In this respect, it was noted that this Plan (and the Communications Strategy proposal) didn't give sufficient consideration to the first focus area.

The decision was made that this version of the Strategic Plan should be revised to reflect discussions of this document, as well as the discussions of: the members' questionnaire results, potential expansion of GEN membership and participation, and the Communications Strategy proposal. A revised version should be prepared for review and revision by the GEN ExCOM, and subsequently for consideration and acceptance by the GEN membership at the 2000 Annual General Meeting.

GENSEC to revise the draft document and forward by March 2000 to the GEN ExCOM for review/ revision. Once accepted by the GEN ExCOM, revised document to be forwarded to the GEN membership for consideration and approval at the next AGM.

space (c) Proposal to Expand the Network
Considerable discussion of this proposed strategy occurred throughout the meeting under this specific agenda item heading, as well as with respect to the Strategic Plan, the Communications Strategy proposal, Membership, Financial Matters, etc.

To stimulate and focus discussion, the Chair presented three slides -- "GEN in Future", "Budget and Funding Opportunities", and "Member Criteria" (Attachment A to these Meeting Notes).

GENSEC to forward a hard copy of the three slides along with the Meeting Notes.

With respect to "GEN in Future", a general opinion of the meeting participants was that the two current priority activity areas - cooperation and information exchange -- should remain very high priority areas. However, there was also general support for GEN to devise and further develop a promotional role - e.g. authoritative source of ecolabelling information, formal and active participant in international forums addressing issues relevant to ecolabelling, "builder" of alliances with pro-ecolabelling organizations (to advance ecolabelling awareness and support around the world and counter anti-ecolabelling factions), "educator" of external audiences (e.g. governmental, corporate, and multi-sectoral entities) on the purposes and merits of ecolabelling in the international marketplace, etc.. Along with this generally shared "vision" was recognition that to succeed and be effective, the GEN budget must be increased through membership fees and other means.

GENSEC to incorporate this general position (i.e. continued focus on internal cooperation and information exchange with consideration of a greater promotional role) into there-draft of the Plan.

In reviewing and commenting on the Strategic Plan and Communications Strategy proposal, GEN members should keep this position/"vision" in mind.

In terms of budget and funding opportunities, meeting participants considered the three proposed participation categories -- "membership", "sponsorship" and "donations".
The appropriateness and desirability of making compliance with the ISO 14024 guiding principles a membership condition was discussed. The discussion led to a general position that GEN should encourage, rather than require, members to comply. Key points made were that no formal process exists to assess such compliance (see agenda item #10.2) and a concern that the ISO guiding principles could change and become "inappropriate" at some future time. Additionally,Ms Hagenfors identified that her program would not want to be formally linked with the ISO voluntary standard for "political reasons".

GGENSEC to insert a statement in the "GEN Membership Application" package that identifies GEN encourages its members and potential members to comply with ISO 14024 guiding principles.

Another GEN membership criterion - "run by not-for-profit organizations without commercial interests" - was identified as providing difficulties for the Swedish SIS and Canadian Environmental Choice Program. In both cases, the eco labelling program delivery agencies are for-profit businesses. A proposal was formulated that the criterion statement should be revised to read - "owned by not-for-profit organizations without commercial interests".

In drafting revised GEN bylaws for approval by the GEN membership, this proposed revision - replace "run by" with "owned by" - should be included.

Considerable discussion focused on the expansion of membership to include various types of organizations that are currently not members. The first significant decision arrived at was that all the meeting participants supported consideration of membership expansion in principle. The next step was identification of various types of organizations that might be interested in GEN participation. Of the many types suggested and considered, three "categories" were proposed for potential full membership status, and the concept of "associate membership" was also explored.

GEN to open up its membership to:(i) organizations which certify single product or service categories, provided they fulfill all criteria in Article V, Section 2 a) of the GEN By-laws; and (ii) organizations which certify environmentally sustainable natural resource extraction, provided that they fulfill the criteria in Article V, Section 2a), 1 - 6 and 8 - 10.

Of the three categories considered for "regular/full" membership, two categories were very strongly (but not unanimously) supported by the meeting participants - certifiers of single product or service categories (e.g. energy labels, building management and operations labels, hotel sector labels, etc.), and certifiers of environmentally sustainable natural resource extraction (e.g. sustainable forestry practises label, etc.). Nevertheless, it was also decided that any applicable organizations would have to fulfill GEN membership conditions contained in the GEN by-laws. A decision was made that GEN members should identify organizations in these categories so the GEN could invite them to join the GEN.

GEN members to identify and notify GENSEC of candidate organizations. The Chair, on behalf of GEN, to formally invite candidates to join GEN.

Preliminary consideration of the third category of potential regular members - certifiers of organic or environmentally sustainable agriculture - led to a position that more information on these types of organizations was required, and further consideration (based on more information) should be given in the future. Consequently, it was decided that more information should be sought and accumulated by GEN for consideration at the next Annual General Meeting.

GENSEC to canvass the GEN membership for information on these types of organizations. A GEN working group to be set up to consider the issues and merits in inviting organizations in this category to join GEN.

On a procedural level, it was noted that the GEN by-laws will need to be revised in order to accept alternative membership categories and conditions. To address this, revisions to the by-laws are to be formulated and forwarded to the entire GEN membership for approval. In the interim, it was proposed that organizations which satisfy the conditions outlined for potential members (in the two accepted categories identified above) should be extended "affiliate status" which could be revised to "full membership" status when and if the GEN by-laws are appropriately revised and adopted. Affiliation status will entitle pertinent organizations to have access to all information and communications open to the GEN membership, and the right to attend GEN meetings and events.

GEN ExCOM / GENSEC to consult with Mr. Graver, Dr. Weissman, and legal counsel, on means and content of revisions to expand membership. Revised by-laws to be forwarded to membership for approval.

In the interim, eligible organizations to be extended "GEN affiliation status". The "affiliation fee" to be decided by the ExCOM.

In terms of potential "associates", numerous types of organizations (e.g. NGO's, multi-governmental bodies, corporate entities, national governments, etc.) were suggested as entities which might be interested in association with GEN. Concerns about potentially jeopardizing GEN credibility (organizational and of its individual members) were expressed with regards to some suggested candidate categories and specific entities. Ultimately, the discussion led to a decision that applications for formal "association" with GEN should be considered on a case-by-case basis by the membership. It was also noted that the GEN by-laws must be revised to acknowledge and accept such association status eligibility.

"Associate membership/affiliation" (i.e. participation without voting rights) to be extended to non-profit organizations that support the objectives of GEN, subject to a decision of a qualified majority of two-thirds of the GEN members attending an annual meeting. Revisions to the GEN by-laws, to recognize and accept "association", to be formulated for approval along with the expanded membership revisions.


The general position arrived at relating to "sponsorship" was that it should be accepted, but only on an event- / activity-specific basis. Direction was given for the GENSEC to elaborate upon guidelines and conditions for sponsorship of GEN events. Sponsorship of specific GEN materials was deemed inappropriate due to the possible impression of "collusion" and/or "undue influence" between potential sponsors and GEN.

GENSEC to prepare and circulate sponsorship guidelines.

TerraChoice to replace back cover of the "GEN Guide to Ecolabelling" (which displays two companies' corporate logos) with a blank cover on future copies of the document.

With respect to donations, there was general support for GEN and the membership to seek out donations to support GEN activities in a broad way. Efforts to obtain some "core funding" from international development banks (i.e. the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Development Bank, etc.), and/or from benevolent foundations were encouraged.

GEN members to contact funding agencies in their respective countries. Mr. Polak to continue liaison with the World Bank. Mr. Unge to contact the European Development Bank.Dr. Lohsomboon/GENSEC to prepare and present a funding request to the Asian Development Bank.

Some discussion arose over the possibility and merits of implementing formal GEN fund-raising activities, including the retention of a professional fund-raising agency to undertake this activity on behalf of GEN. Dr. Weissman offered to investigate the costs and possibility of such an initiative.

Dr. Weissman to explore the possibility, costs and merits of retaining a professional fund-raising agency.

Activity areas which were highlighted for potential increased funding (if such funding were to become available) were:(i) technical support to current members with respect toassistance in developing and implementing English versions of certification criteria documentation on their respective Internet web sites; and (ii) technical support to potential GEN memberorganizations to assist them in developing and implementing ecolabelling programs in their jurisdictions.

GENSEC to revise the Technical Assistance Program application package materials to identify the development of English internet web sites as an eligible activity for potential funding assistance.

The point stressed by several members and supported by the meeting participants was that through its funding and/or sponsorship, GEN must not be put in a position where it can be perceived as an instrument for any specific government, international entity, or any private enterprise(s).
6.2 Strategic Communications Plan Proposal
space Mr. Hamilton of TerraChoice presented an overview of this proposed communications plan. Mr. Polak stated that the document's purpose was to support the overall strategic direction outlined in the draft GEN Strategic Plan, but also to be far reaching, provocative, and very aggressive in order to provide communications options for GEN to contemplate and potentially pursue.

Various strong opinions were expressed in reaction to the document and presentation. Comments included: (i) this Plan should distinguish between initiatives which the Network should/could pursue and those which should/could be pursued by the individual members; (ii) GEN doesn't have the funds or labour resources to implement the Plan at this time; (iii) a communications strategy is essential as a complement to the GEN Strategic Plan and annual work plans; (iv) this Plan must involve greater attention to internal communications needs, approaches and activities; (v) communications with international organizations and membership recruitment initiatives should be given greater consideration; and (vi) some activity areas are more desirable to pursue, especially in the short-term, than others.

A general perception was that the members were interested in consideration of corporate communications, consultation with intergovernmental organizations, membership recruitment, annual meetings, and Web sites development and maintenance. Conversely, the meeting attendees seemed opposed to devoting GEN resources to significant efforts in the areas of media relations, public relations, public opinion research, and public procurement.

TerraChoice to revise the document. GENSEC to forward it to the membership for comment. Members to direct their comments to GENSEC by the end of January 2000. The re-worked Plan to be considered at the next AGM.

TerraChoice officials were requested to revise the draft proposal based on the comments provided, and forward a revised copy to the GENSEC for distribution to the GEN membership. Comments and reaction to the revised version are to subsequently be forwarded to the GENSEC.

Focussed discussions on internal communications needs and means highlighted that besides the GENews, annual meetings, and email communications, the GEN's Internet Web site and individual members' home pages also serve as important means of information exchange. It was broadly agreed that GEN efforts and resources should be applied in this regard to assist all members in establishing and maintaining such Internet Web sites. Increased budgeting for this activity was encouraged for both GEN and its members.

GENSEC to revise the Technical Assistance Program application package materials to identify the development of English internet web sites as an eligible activity for potential funding assistance.

Other internal communications initiatives that were suggested included: (i) compilation and circulation of a list of persons working on particular issues; and (ii) planning and staging of work shops on specific issues of mutual interest.

GEN members to provide suggestions to GENSEC. GENSEC to forward to Dr. Lohsomboon for consideration in planning the next GEN Annual General Meeting.

A request was made, and supported by the general membership, that the GENSEC should be directed to circulate all GEN documents to the general membership, including ExCOM meeting notes and the TerraChoice proposal to perform the GENSEC function. This position was accepted.

GENSEC to routinely forward ExCOM meeting notes and other documentation, to the general membership.

6.3 Report on and Approval of 1999 Revised Work Plan and Budget
space The revised work plan and budget were presented, with identification that the budget forecast of US$142,000 had been reduced due to the lower revenues level resulting from considerable fees owing and outstanding (i.e. US$66,500). Consequently, while no work items had been dropped, the budget expenditure forecast had been lowered to US$131,480. After some additional minor clarifications, the 1999 work plan and budget were approved.

Mr. Polak was requested, and agreed, to provide the GEN with a full accounting of 1999 GEN Conference expenses and revenues.

Mr. Polak to provide a final budget report relating to the 1999 GEN Conference.

6.4 Approval of 2000 Work Plan and Budget
space The proposed 2000 Work Plan and budget were presented. It was noted that revenues were projected to be considerably less than in previous years -- US$80,000 (versus US$140,000 in 1999). The proposed budget included an assumed carry-over from 1999 of US$16,000. [A copy of the approved 2000 budget is attached to these meeting notes as Attachment B. Note that an arithmetic error was made on the "meeting version" of this document -- the total expenditure forecast for approved work items is US$77,480 rather than US$78,480.]

Discussion focused primarily upon the revenue projection and the fact that other revenue sources might be secured and accessed (e.g. sponsorhsip, donations, expanded membership, etc.). As a result, a decision was reached that the proposed work plan and budget should be as is, but if additional revenues were to be realized during the year, a revised work plan and budget should be prepared by the ExCOM and forwarded to the GEN membership for approval.

GEN ExCOM to prepare and forward a revised 2000 Work Plan and Budget to the membership if revenue levels change significantly during 2000. GEN membership to approve the revised work plan/budget at such time.
7 Management Issues
7.1 Membership:
space 7.1.1 Approval of New Members - Hungary, India and the Czech Republic
The three provisional members were approved as full GEN members by all the members in attendance. It was noted that unfortunately none of these new members were able to attend this meeting.

GENSEC to send notification of full membership status to new members.

space 7.1.2 Current Status - existing and potential
GENSEC provided an overview presentation on the current status and a list of potential future members. Slovakia was identified as another potential future member. GEN-GAO identified that a letter had been received from Austrian officials expressing their decision to drop out of GEN.

Strong concern was expressed over the number of members with membership fees payments outstanding from previous years. Recognizing that a number of these members were experiencing general financial difficulties, it was determined that GENSEC should contact each of these members and inquire about their willingness and ability to pay delinquent fees. If necessary and justifiable, reduced fee levels could be retroactively offered to these members on a case-by-case basis to enable them to remain members. GEN ExCOM would assess the circumstances of these members and their proposals to remain GEN members.

GENSEC to prepare and forward a letter to members with fees owing, requesting identification of their interest and ability to remain GEN members. These members to be invited to request a retroactive, lower membership fee level. GEN ExCOM to consider the circumstances of these members and decide on appropriate actions to address the outstanding fees.

7.2 Technical Assistance:
space 7.2.1 Current Status - activities, participants and budget
A status report was presented that highlighted activity levels have been historically low, and reminded members that the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) has been expanded in its eligibility categories, criteria and applications. As well, third-party funding sources might be identified and secured in the next year that could target funding support to efforts in this regard (refer to agenda items #6.1b - "Sponsorship" and #11).

Discussion led to a general position that given the limited funding allocated at this time, assistance should be given first to members, and then to external parties which could become future GEN members. Further, the development and implementation of members' Internet web sites should be viewed as an appropriate and preferred application of technical assistance program support.

In determining recipients for technical assistance, current GEN members to be given priority, and web site work to be accepted as an appropriate activity for GEN [funding] support.

Mr. Graver requested that Ecolabelling Norway be added to the list of available technical experts.

Ecolabelling Norway to be added to the list of members willing to provide technical assistance.

space 7.2.2 Technical Assistance Project Report - Philippines
space Dr. Yu provided a report on the technical assistance project she performed in the Philippines. Ms Oracion, who was in attendance, provided supplementary comments, and thanked Dr. Yu and the GEN for the technical assistance received.

7.3 GEN General Affairs Office (GEN-GAO) Report
The GEN-GAO presented the latest issue of GENews, an updated "ecolabelled products" categories list, and a print-out of the GEN web site screens. Comments from the GEN membership included: (i) 25 rather than 50 copies of GENews should be forwarded to members on a routine basis; (ii) the GEN-GAO and GENSEC should survey members to determine why members don't have their product certification criteria electronically accessible on the Internet; and (iii) a members' "bulletin board" / "chat room" feature should be considered for the GEN Web site (if funding is available for this enhancement).

GEN-GAO to take items (i) and (iii) under advisement and give them further consideration. GEN-GAO to survey GEN members to determine if 25 copies of GENews are sufficient, and why certification criteria are not electronically accessible.

8 GEN Executive Committee Membership
The GENSEC assumed "the chair" of the meeting in order to direct and conduct the annual election of the GEN Chair and ExCOM membership. Mr. Neitzel identified that due to an upcoming career change, he would have to step down from the ExCOM, and would be replaced as the Blue Angel Program representative in the GEN. Mr. Neitzel was thanked for his contributions and efforts.

At the request for nominations, the current Chair and ExCOM membership (minus Mr. Neitzel), plus Mr. Unge of SIS, were proposed as the Chair and ExCOM for the next year. With no other nominations and full support from the members in attendance, this slate was acclaimed.

With the election complete, the continuing Chair notified the membership that he and Mr. Polak would be serving their third consecutive years as Chair and ExCOM member respectively. Further, he proposed that a Nominating Committee be struck to canvas the membership prior to next year's AGM for candidates for Chair and ExCOM membership. The Chair and Mr. Graver volunteered to form this Committee along with the GENSEC.

The Chair, Mr. Graver and GENSEC to form a Nominations Committee and to canvas the membership for Chair and ExCOM candidates. The Nominations Committee to direct the election at next year's AGM.
9 Financial Matters
9.1 Approval of 1998 Financial Audit
Mr. Taguchi presented the 1998 Financial Audit, which was accepted. Mr. Taguchi raised the issue of the requirement to write-off bad debt from previous years (e.g. unpaid membership fees). GEN-GAO was directed to draft a formal document that would identify bad debt and the decision to write it off.

GEN-GAO to prepare a letter for the Chair's signature which identifies bad debt and directs its write-off.

In response to inquiries about the low interest income realized on GEN funds on account in Japan, a proposal was made and accepted that the ExCOM should investigate the possibility of putting GEN savings in a US (or other national) bank account outside of Japan.

GEN-GAO to investigate the feasibility and merit of opening a GEN bank account outside of Japan, and report to EXCOM.

Lastly, concern was raised and noted regarding the high ratio of management costs to program services cost. As a "not-for-profit" entity registered in the United States, this situation could cause potential tax payment challenges due to the legal definitions and conditions related to such "not-for-profit" status in the United States of America. A decision was taken to attempt to determine the allocation of efforts made by the Chair, GENSEC and GEN-GAO in the areas of "management" and "program services".

The Chair, GENSEC and GEN-GAO to provide a breakdown report of their efforts on a routine basis.

9.2 Approval of Auditors for 1999
Showa Ota & Co., the financial auditors for 1998, were proposed and approved as auditors for 1999.

Showa Ota & Co. to be the 1999 financial auditors for GEN. Mr. Taguchi to notify the auditing firm.

9.3 1998 Financial Report and 1999 Financial Status Report
The GEN-GAO presented these summary pages. The GEN-GAO also provided a supplemental document - "1998 Financial Support for GEN" - that identified actual full costs incurred by the previous GENSEC and GEN-GAO delivery organizations in conducting GEN business. In response to the identification of an income shortfall by SIS relating to its previous performance of the GENSEC function, Mr. Neitzel andMr. Tejera committed to pursuing the matter with relevant EU officials.

Mr. Neitzel and Mr. Tejera to pursue efforts to release monies from the EU to SIS for activities relating to the past performance of the GENSEC function.

9.4 2000 Membership Fees
A proposal to keep the membership fees at the same level was approved. Another proposal was made and accepted that when a member applies for and receives a reduced membership fee, this reduction should apply for a three-year period, unless extraordinary conditions exist.

The membership fee level to remain US$5,000 for the year 2000.

Fee level reductions to generally be approved by ExCOM for a three-year period.
10 Enhanced Cooperation
10.1 System of Enhanced Cooperation
Mr. Polak presented his re-worked paper as a "GEN discussion paper" rather than a "GEN position paper". Suggestions were offered that Section 4.1 - "Cooperation and Interchange of Information" - should be expanded upon, and the overall thrust of the paper should be more proactive and "offensive". Mr. Polak expressed appreciation for these comments and invited members to forward further comments.

Members to forward comments toMr. Polak.

Mr. Neitzel re-iterated the notion of pursuing the following four activities: (i) general cooperation and interchange of information; (ii) mutual confidence on the basis of GEN Code of Good Practice (taking into account, among other things, relevant aspects of ISO 14024 and ISO 9001); (iii) mutual recognition of testing and verification; and (iv) analysis of environmental criteria leading to mutual recognition. These steps were endorsed by the GEN membership in attendance.

Lastly, it was suggested and agreed that this document should be cited on the GEN web site, and made available to interested parties.

This document to be cited on the GEN Web site and forwarded to interested parties upon request.

10.2 ISO 14024 / GEN Code of Good Practice
Dr. Yu provided a presentation on her organization's strategy and efforts to secure ISO 14024, and other ISO recognition for the ecolabelling program, other business lines, and general operations.

Several members identified that their national standards bodies were likely to adopt ISO 14024 as national standards. The Chair identified that the European Commission was contemplating adopting ISO 14024 as a European standard. Ms Daggenfelt identified that her program had been challenged by industry in Sweden to prove that it is in compliance with the voluntary standard.

A proposal was made and accepted by the membership that each program will conduct a self-assessment of compliance with the ISO 14024 guiding principles, and will identify where and why there are any deviations. [Subsequent to this meeting, Dr. Yu was requested to prepare a "self-assessment template".] These assessments are to be forwarded to GENSEC for compilation and cumulative presentation at the next AGM.

[Dr. Yu to prepare a "self-assessment" template.] Each GEN member to conduct a self-assessment of compliance and forward findings and results to the GENSEC. GENSEC to compile the results and present them at the next AGM.

In response to an inquiry, the Chair informed the membership that accreditation of GEN, in order to act as an ISO 14024 auditing body, hadn't been pursued. He identified that GEN would require an auditor on staff, accreditation of that auditor to relevant ISO requirements, and would be subject to various other laborious requirements.

[In this regard, a post-meeting proposal was made to the Chair by ExCOM members for him to prepare a discussion paper on alternative means for GEN members to have their programs' compliance with ISO 14024 determined and confirmed (e.g. self-assessment, peer review, etc.). The Chair agreed, and will prepare this paper for presentation at the next AGM.]

[The Chair to prepare and present a paper on options to determine and confirm compliance with ISO 14024.]

10.3 Common Criteria Development
Mr. Taguchi provided a presentation on efforts to date to collaborate with other GEN members in the preparation of certification criteria for photocopying equipment. He outlined the process being followed as having three potential stages:

Stage I: (i) determining common product categories; (ii) attempting to formulate common criteria (which may be supplemented by program-specific criteria); and (iii) attempting to implement common testing and verification methods for all criteria.

Stage II: expanding the number of programs involved in the process

Stage III: arriving at "GEN common criteria".

Mr. Neitzel cautioned that experience to date had demonstrated some process difficulties including differing opinions on certain criteria, significant time and funding requirements, and difficulties in arranging and staging meetings.

Most GEN members expressed support and encouragement for the process underway, and continuing efforts in this regard. Dr. Yu identified that common criteria for computer key boards and mouses were being developed jointly by the Canadian and ROC/Taiwan ecolabelling schemes, and that wooden toys may be the next product category considered under this bilateral arrangement.

Besides being invited to join the effort underway to develop common criteria for photocopiers, GEN members were encouraged to propose and initiate common criteria development exercises for other product categories.

GEN members are invited to join the common criteria development exercise for photocopiers by contactingMr. Taguchi. GEN members are to propose other product categories for such criteria development to the GENSEC for notification of all GEN members.

[Subsequent to the meeting, Mr. Unge raised the hypothetical concept of a "GEN common criteria set" for a product category and corresponding single compliance verification/certification process. Theoretically, by submitting a single application, undergoing a single certification process for its product, and paying a single license/certification fee, a company could be authorized to apply any or all the GEN members' ecolabels on the applicable product. The ExCOM requested that Mr. Unge further consider and elaborate on this concept and its merits through the preparation of a discussion paper for presentation at the next AGM.]

[Mr. Unge to prepare a discussion paper on the challenges, issues and merits of GEN striving to prepare a "common criteria set" for a product category. Mr. Unge to present this paper at the next AGM.]

10.4 International Use of National and Regional Ecolabels
space Mr. Neitzel raised this item for consideration. Concerns were raised over potential misuse and/or misunderstanding of an ecolabel in a "foreign" market. While this item received some discussion, no GEN decisions/positions were taken.

10.5 GEN Representation at International Meetings
The Chair presented a proposed guidance document for GEN representation in international meetings.

A position raised in response to the presentation was that the GEN should be proactive and strategic in its decisions to participate in and/or contribute to international fora. The suggestion was made and generally supported that the GENSEC should compile a list of upcoming events, and the ExCOM should determine in which and how GEN should participate. A further suggestion was that GEN should prepare and distribute a "GEN Annual Report" to appropriate international entities.

GENSEC to prepare an international representation plan for approval by the ExCOM and adoption by GEN.

GEN-GAO and GENSEC to collaborate on the preparation of a "GEN Annual Report" for distribution.

A decision was made to revise the guidance document based on the position and suggestions forwarded.

The Chair / GENSEC to revise and re-issue the guidance document on international representation of GEN.

The Chair also provided a presentation on the European Strategic Advisory Board on the Environment (SABE), and his involvement as the SABE Chair and GEN representative.
11 Report on World Bank / (Asian Development Bank) Green Procurement Meeting
Mr. Polak reported that GEN, the Consumers Choice Council, and the World Bank had co-hosted a meeting in late September which considered the "greening" of World Bank procurement strategies, processes and practices. A key result of that meeting was a commitment by the World Bank to "green" procurement activities (both internal and those under the influence of the World Bank) through the formulation of a relevant process. Mr. Polak was requested and encouraged to pursue liaison with the World Bank and keep the GEN membership aware of further developments.

Mr. Polak to continue to liaise with the World Bank and represent GEN interests when and as appropriate.

A senior Asian Development Bank (ADB) official identified that the ADB would be receptive to receiving a request from GEN for funding support targeted to the Technical Assistance Program. Dr. Lohsomboon and the GENSEC were tasked to follow-up on this item.

Dr. Lohsomboon and the GENSEC to collaborate on the preparation and forwarding of a funding request proposal to the ADB.

12 Environmental Impact Evaluation of Swedish Good Environmental Choice Program
Ms Hagenfors provided an informative presentation on an evaluation study that had been conducted on the market, product composition, and environmental impacts which ecolabelling had had in Sweden over the past decade with respect to cleaning products for homeowners (i.e. laundry detergent, dish-washing detergent, household cleaners, soaps and shampoos).
13 Date and Place of Next Annual Meeting
A proposal from Dr. Lohsomboon, on behalf of the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), was accepted by the GEN membership to stage the next Annual General Meeting in Thailand in November 2000. Dr. Lohsomboon committed to clarifying the exact dates and initiating planning and preparation for the meeting.

Dr. Lohsomboon to determine and notify the GEN membership of specific dates and other particulars.

14 Any Other Business
[Two items - the establishment of a Nominating Committee in preparation for the Chair and Executive Committee elections next year, and a note of thanks from Ms Oracion for the technical support provided by GEN - were actually raised under this agenda item.]
15 Adjournment
The Chair thanked TerraChoice once again for staging the GEN Conference and the GEN meetings. He also commented upon the success of these GEN activities. With no other business to address, the meeting was adjourned.