Guidance

Apply for an EU Ecolabel

Find out if your product or service is eligible for an EU Ecolabel, how much a licence costs and how to apply for one.

The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary label you can use to show that your product or service meets a specific Europe-wide environmental standard.

To use the label, you must be one of the following:

  • a manufacturer
  • an importer
  • a service provider
  • a wholesaler
  • a trader or retailer marketing products under your own brand name

Check if your product or service is eligible

Check if your product or service is on the list of products and services that are eligible for the European EU Ecolabel scheme.

You can apply for a licence to use the EU Ecolabel if your product or service is distributed, consumed or used in the European Economic Area (EEA).

To find the environmental criteria, you need to visit the EU Ecolabel website, and go to the category which fits your product or service.

Check which country to apply to

If your product is made in the EU, you can apply to the body that manages the scheme for an EU Ecolabel in either:

  • the country where your product is made
  • the country where your headquarters are

In the UK, UK Ecolabel Delivery manages the scheme on behalf of Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).

If your product is made outside the EU, you can apply to a body that manages the scheme in any EEA country where it’s sold.

Find out who manages the EU Ecolabel scheme in the EEA countries.

Get advice from UK Ecolabel Delivery

Before you start an application, you should contact UK Ecolabel Delivery to get advice about the process.

Email:  helpdesk@eu-ecolabel.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1296 323 621

You can also get more information on the UK Ecolabel scheme, like information on applying and current licence holders.

Test your products

You may need to carry out tests of your products to show how they meet the criteria.

It’ll say in the criteria for your product category if you need to do any tests (and whether they need to be independently assessed).

Some tests you may be able to do yourself, but others will require an independent assessor or another laboratory to do them.

If your tests need to be independently assessed, you’ll need to arrange for a test laboratory to do this.

You’ll need to pay the assessor or laboratory for any tests you do.

Find out the application fee you must pay

You must pay when you apply - the amount you have to pay depends on the size of your company.

UK Ecolabel Delivery will tell you when and how much you have to pay, and how to pay.

Check the size of your company

Your company is considered a micro organisation if you employ fewer than 10 people and your annual turnover is up to £1.4 million.

Your company is considered a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) if you employ fewer than 250 people and your annual turnover is up to £36 million.

Your company is considered a large company if you employ more than 250 people and your annual turnover is more than £36 million.

Use the table to find out which application fee you need to pay.

Size of organisation Fee
Micro organisation £500
Small or medium enterprise, and also any size of company in a developing country £750
Large organisations £1,250

Fees for licensing more than one product

You need to pay an application fee for each product you apply to license, if they’re in different product or service categories or are different formulations. For example, a toilet cleaner and a window cleaner count as 2 applications even though they’re both in the same product category.

Discounts

You qualify for one of the following discounts to your application fee if you’re registered on either of these schemes:

  • 30% for the eco-management and audit scheme
  • 15% for the ISO 14001

If you qualify for both then you’ll get the 30% discount.

You must make sure your environmental policy and objectives includes a commitment for your EU Ecolabelled products to continue to comply with the EU Ecolabel criteria to get any discount.

Get an application pack

You need to create an account with the European Commission Authentication Service’s online application tool, Ecat - check the user manual for advice on how to do this.

You need to download the application pack for your product - this is listed under the specific product category.

You can also contact UK Ecolabel Delivery to get an application pack.

Send your application

You’re ready to apply when:

  • you’ve completed an application form and signed it
  • you have all test reports, relevant documents and supplier declarations
  • you have a copy of the packaging and label you want to use

Send these to UK Ecolabel by email Helpdesk@eu-ecolabel.uk or send 2 copies by post to:

UK Ecolabel Delivery
c/o Oakdene Hollins
Ardenham Court
Oxford Road
Aylesbury
HP19 8HT
UK

Assessment and inspections

UK Ecolabel Delivery will check whether your application meets the criteria for the type of product or service you’re applying for.

It’ll contact you with any queries it has.

UK Ecolabel Delivery will take a minimum of 4 weeks to assess your application, but the total amount of time depends on:

  • the number of queries it has
  • whether or not it needs to carry out an inspection

Inspections

UK Ecolabel Delivery may want to inspect your premises or any premises related to your product or service - it’ll contact you if it needs to do this.

UK Ecolabel Delivery will always inspect your premises if the product or service you’re applying for is in the following categories:

  • tourist accommodation
  • campsite services
  • copying and graphic paper

It may also inspect your premises if:

  • your product is made outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • it has queries about your application and it needs to inspect your site to answer them
  • it wants to check your site to make sure you’re complying with product group criteria
  • it’s investigating a complaint

Inspectors will usually tell you if they’re visiting to investigate a complaint, though they may not tell you the details of the complaint.

Inspection fees

You must pay for any inspections unless they’re done to assess tourist accommodation or camp sites.

Inspections usually cost about £1,700 plus VAT (they’ll cost more if the inspected site is outside the UK), the exact amount will vary depending on where the site is, and the inspectors’ travel costs etc.

You need to pay for the inspection before it takes place - UK Ecolabel Delivery will send you a quotation.

Decisions

UK Ecolabel Delivery will make a decision about whether to approve your application and make a recommendation to Defra, who makes the final approval decision.

If Defra approves your application, UK Ecolabel Delivery will give you a numbered licence and a contract.

Your licensed product or service will be included on the EU’s list of EU Ecolabel products

Annual licence fees

You’ll need to pay an annual licence fee. The amount you have to pay depends on the size of your organisation - check this in the table:

Size of organisation Fee
Micro organisation £250
Small or medium enterprise, and also any size of company in a developing country £500
Large organisations £1,000

You need to pay your annual licence fee in advance at the start of each calendar year. If you’re a new licence holder during the year you’ll pay on a pro-rata basis.

If the product group criteria are coming up for renewal, you’ll only have to pay up to the date when the criteria are due to change. You’ll then need to apply as a new applicant when the new criteria are agreed.

Expiry

Your licence will only expire if:

  • you don’t pay your annual licence fee
  • you change your product or service and it no longer meets the criteria for the product or service category - you must tell UK Ecolabel Delivery immediately if this happens
  • the criteria for the product or service change - you’ll be given notice if this is happening

Suspension or withdrawal

UK Ecolabel Delivery can suspend or withdraw your licence if you breach the terms of your contract, for example by changing your product’s ingredients without telling UK Ecolabel Delivery first.

Changing your product or service

If you plan to change your product or service in any way, you must contact UK Ecolabel Delivery and tell them both:

  • the products or services that you plan to change
  • what the change will be

UK Ecolabel Delivery will tell you whether you need to:

  • reapply or not
  • pay another application fee or a partial application fee (50% of the full application fee)

Ending your licence

To cancel your EU Ecolabel licence, send a registered letter to UK Ecolabel Delivery. You need to give them at least 3 months’ notice.