After the introduction of Germany’s Blue Angel as the first environmental label world-wide in 1978 other European and non-European countries followed this example and introduced their own national and supra-regional environmental labels. The common goal of these labels is to inform consumers about environmentally friendly products thereby giving global support to a product-related environmental protection.
In 1994, some countries united to form the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) - a non-profit interest group composed of eco-label organisations throughout the world. GEN fosters information exchange about national eco-label activities around the world. International co-ordination is to promote a progressive development of eco-label programmes in the individual states, especially in those countries, which still wish to introduce an eco-labelling system. Currently, the 26 GEN member organisations include organisations from Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Canada, Korea, Croatia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Hungary, Spain, Sweden (SIS), Sweden (SSNC), Sweden (TCO), Zimbabwe, Thailand, Czech Republic, United States of America.
Based on a decision taken at the 2000 Annual General Meeting (AGM), participation in GEN initiatives and activities has been expanded to include "associates". These associates are to be not-for-profit organisations that formally support ecolabelling principles and goals, though they are not ecolabelling practitioners.
The main aims of the GEN are to:
serve its members, other ecolabelling programs, other stakeholders, and the public by improving, promoting and developing the ecolabelling of products, the credibility of ecolabelling programs world-wide, and the availability of information regarding ecolabelling standards from around the world;
foster co-operation, information exchange and harmonisation among its members, associates, and other ecolabelling programs with regard to ecolabelling;
facilitate access to information regarding ecolabelling standards from around the world;
participate in certain international organisations in order to promote ecolabelling generally; and
encourage the demand for, and supply of, more environmentally responsible goods and services.
For more detailed information on GEN’s activities as well as on national and international activities, please go to GEN’s Web site: www.gen.gr.jp.