Country: Austria

Austrian Consumer Organization


Product Category List:
Home Page: http://www.bmu.gv.at/bmu/bmu/fachinfo/wum/UWZhome.htm



The Austrian Eco-Label was created on the initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment. This label provides the general public with information on the environmental impact of consumer goods that arises from their production, usage and attracts the attention of consumers to alternative environmentally-friendly products.


-The Austrian Eco-Label addresses itself primarily to consumers but also to manufacturers.

-The Eco-Label provide consumers with guidance in order to choose products least hazardous to the environment.

-The Eco-Label is intended to offer consumers a means of orientation at the point of sale. The Eco-Label draws the consumers attention to environmentally-friendly or friendlier products among those wares that are on offer. In this conntext enviromentally-friendly means more environmentally-friendly as compared to the very harmful effects inflicted other products fulfilling the same function". The aim id so to influence the demand for goods that preference is given to products least hazardous to environment.

-The Eco-Label should also motivate producers and traders to develop and offer less environmentally-polluting products.

-In this way, a dynamic process could be triggered in the market which influences the supply-structure in the direction of more enviromentally-friendly goods (competition effect).

-The Eco-Label contributes to more transparency in the evaluation of the environmental impact of products.

-Products carrying the Eco-Label have to meet a series of environmental and quality criteria, the fulfilment of which is determined by an expert jury. In this way the Eco-Label guarantees a high environmental standard without having to fear a loss of quality or safety.

-The Eco-label is only confered on those products which are intended for end use.

Procedure to select product categories:

The Eco-Label Advisory Board decides the product groups on which criteria are to be determined. The decision is based on suggestions by the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Federal Environmental Agency or by companies which are interested in awarding the Austrian Eco-Label.

Procedure to develop criteria and standards:

The products or services for which criteria are set are subjected to an all-embracing and unified evaluation. Here are recorded not only the envi-ronmental effects of the use of the product or service but also the pro-duction process, disposal as well as safety quality and fitness for use (cradle-to-grave approach").

The basis for evaluating the environmental compatibility of products is thus to be found in:

- consumption of raw material and energy

- toxicity of contents

- emissions (e.g. exhaust gases, sewage, noise)

- disposal/recycling (waste, suitabilty for recycling)

- packaging

- distribution and transportation (as required)

- quality and safety

- longevity, ease of repair

The result of the product evaluation is the elaboration of product-specific Eco-Label criteria.

Under the chairmanship of the Austrian Consumer Association an expert group is newly formed for each new product group. These expert groups are similarly composed of specialists from the domains of the environ-ment, manufacturing and consumer protection. The task of these expert groups is to discuss proposals regarding criteria as elaborated jointly by the Federal Environmental Agency, the Federal Ministry for the Environ-ment and the Consumer Association, and where possible, to come to a unanimous decision in passing a draft set of environmental criteria.

If the draft is passed by the expert group it is submitted to the Advisory Board, which may decide, modify or reject the proposed criteria. Follo-wing a positive verdict of an expert examination by the Federal Environ-mental Agency the final criteria are authorised and published by the Mi-nister for the Environment. The specified criteria will be valid for a maxi-mum period of three years, at the end of this period, or if environmental technological innovations are expected to appear on the market in the near future the criteria are to be renewed. A premature elapse or altera-tion of criteria is possible if valid reasons can be presented, for example, a fundamental change in the state of science and technology or a change in the law which would render the fulfilment of criteria illegal.

License or certification process:

The Austrian Eco-Label is awarded by the Republic of Austria as represented by the Federal Ministry for the Environment. The label may be used for a period of one year and may be extended later on.

Applications for the awarding of the Eco-Label are submitted to the Austrian Associaton for the Promotion of Quality, Gonzagagasse 1/4,

A-1010 Vienna, or the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

An applicant can be any natural or legal person who is resident in the country, who produces products in Austria or imports them to Austria or who offers a service in Austria. The requirement of native residence is considered to be fulfilld if the applicant resides in an EC Member State or any EFTA country.

Applications for the awarding of the Eco-Label may only be submitted subsequent to the publication of the award criteria for the relevant product group or service.

In the event of applications being submitted for products for which no criteria yet exists, the procedure described above in section developing of criteria standards is to be followed.

The following documents must accompany an application:

- Name and address of applicant and one of the manufacturer

- Copy of authorisation to trade and installation permits

- Characterisation and description of product/service for which the Eco-Label is being sought

- Intended manner to place the Eco-Label on the product, on the packaging or the manner of characterising the service

- Accrediting documents which confirm that the product/service complies with the legal ordinances (e.g. concerning safety, health and labelling) as well as technical norms and standards

- The applicant must be able to demonstrate and confirm that the production conforms to the environmental protection regulations and other legal requirements in the country of origin

- Experts reports or certifications which confirm that the product/service fulfils the requirements of the award criteria. The certificate must be issued by a qualified test centre. Criteria may lay down requirements relating to the qualification and equipment of the test centre (e.g. fulfilling demands of good laboratory practice, GLP).

All documents, certificates and reports are to be sent to the Austrian Assocation for the Promotion of Quality.

The formal examination of all documents is carried out by the Austrian Association for the Promotion of Quality; the conceptual examination is undertaken by the Austrian Consumer Association. As required, the documents and/or certificates are returned to the applicant or qualified inspector for correction or revision.

Costs and Fees:

Applicants have to pay an application fee when applying for the label. If an application is approved and the label is awarded, there is also an annual fee for the use of the label, payable to the Austrian Association for the Promotion of Quality. The annual utilisation depends upon the specific turnover of the certified product group. The charges amount to:

Annual turnover (in ATS million) Annual Fee(ATS)
< 2,0 2.000,-
2,0 - 10,0 8.000,-
10,0 - 30,0 16.000,-
30,0 - 50,0 20.000,-
>50,0 25.000,-

Extension of authorised use of the Eco-Label:

The use of the Eco-Label is permitted for one year. To extend the label utilisation contract for a further year, it has to be proved, by an expert report or certificate that the product/service still fulfils the requirements of the award criteria.