The EU Ecolabelling Scheme was set up in 1992, under Council Regulation No. 880/92, to establish a recognisable environmental label across all countries in the European Union. In September 2000 the scheme was relaunched by Regulation No 1980/2000 which extended its scope to cover services and enable retailers to apply for the Ecolabel.
The Flower scheme is part of a broader strategy aimed at promoting sustainable production and consumption. This aim can be achieved in the context of a "framework for an integrated life-cycle oriented product policy", as indicated in the new Environmental Action Programme "Environment 2010: Our Future Our Choice". In the Green Paper on Integrated Product Policy – IPP (COM(2001) 68 final) eco-labeling is mentioned as a practical tool for the realisation of product oriented environmental policy.
The European eco-label award scheme enables European consumers to easily identify officially approved green products across the European Union, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. It allows manufacturers to show and communicate to their customers that their products respect the environment. The new Regulation widened the scope of the Scheme to services and retailers, which makes the scheme even more attractive. As a result of this, new areas of consumption are being targeted.
The advantage of the EU Flower compared to other national labels is that it promotes transparency and simplicity, since the same criteria apply for the same product, regardless of the Member State in which it is produced or sold. The European approach avoids having to make an application in every country and thus avoids time-consuming and costly procedures.
Products that meet strict ecological and performance criteria are awarded with the Flower logo. This logo can be displayed as a marketing tool to show consumers that the respective product has a superior environmental performance compared to other products on the European market. At the core of the Eco-label scheme are the different product groups for which ecological criteria have been developed.