Published On: 29-Nov-2017
The world’s strongest environmental labels are combining their vision for a greener future.
Putting words into action was the theme of the annual conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) in Stockholm, Sweden, in October this year.
Sponsored by GEN members Nordic Ecolabelling, TCO Development, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, delegates travelled from around the world to participate, with representatives from Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Israel, China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine, among others.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Dagfinn Høybråten, the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, opened the conference, explaining how independent ecolabels help the region meet its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. He brought home the importance of the work of those in attendance, explaining, “I am a grandfather… on behalf of my granddaughter, I thank you.”
Mr. Per Bolund, Swedish Minister of Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, Deputy Minister of Finance, closed the event with an announcement of Nordic Ecolabelling’s award to seven financial management firms for meeting the requirements of newly launched criteria for ethical investment funds.
Other speakers included academics, GEN members, and three GEN Board members – Mr. Björn-Erik Lönn, GEN Chair; Mr. Chin-Yuan Chen representing Environmental Development Foundation from Chinese Taipei; and Ms. Eva Eiderström, representing the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
GEN announced plans for the first World Ecolabel Day, scheduled for October 2018. Its purpose is to engage consumers and raise awareness about Type 1* (the strongest) ecolabels around the world. The GEN Internationally Coordinated Ecolabelling System (GENICES) peer review process provides assurance that members are operating reputable Type 1 Ecolabelling programmes in accordance with ISO 14024, and enhances trust between members and stakeholders around the world.
Delegates also heard from distinguished speakers on topics ranging from GEN’s engagement and support of capacity development activities around the world, through to new lifecycle assessment approaches that could inform the future development of standards.
GEN voted to add to its board of directors Ms Yulia Gracheva, PhD, the Director and head of the Russian ecolabelling programme Vitality Leaf. She joins Mr Guy Ladvocat, Systems and Certification Manager of ABNT Brazil; Dr Hans-Hermann Eggers, head of Eco-design, Ecolabelling and Green Public Procurement at the German Federal Environment Agency which runs the Blue Angel ecolabel; Mr Björn-Erik Lönn, Senior Advisor of International Affairs for Nordic Ecolabelling, which runs the Nordic Swan ecolabel; Ms Xiaodan Zhang, General Manager of the China Environmental United Certification Centre (CEC), and Chief Expert of the Environmental Development Centre of MEP; Ms Linda Ho, CEO of Hong Kong Green Council; and Mr Chin-Yuan Chen, Project Manager of the Green Mark ecolabelling programme run by the Environmental Development Foundation from Chinese Taipei.
Mr Osamu Uno from GEN member EcoMark, run by the Japan Environment Association (JEA), was confirmed as Treasurer again for 2018. Björn-Erik Lönn offered special thanks to retiring board member Eva Eiderström for her many years of service, UL Environment for its service as Secretariat, and Spotlight Creative Media for its communications support. Chipperfield Design was appointed to provide Secretariat Services in the 2018 – 2020 term.
As Anita Winsnes from Nordic Ecolabelling noted in her presentation, ecolabels help consumers make better choices, all of which “help save the world a little bit every day.” GEN leadership and its members are ready to help consumers do that work.
Dated 28 November 2017
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FOOTNOTE: GEN was founded in 1994 and is registered in the United States. The annual member meetings and board meetings are held around the world in the 60 countries covered by the members´ ecolabelling schemes. The 2017 AGM was co-hosted by the three ecolabels active in Sweden and the conference was sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
* Type 1 ecolabelling programs adhere to the principles of the international standard, ISO 14024:1999 Environmental labels and declarations — Type 1 environmental labelling — Principles and procedures.