Ecolabel South Africa is an independent voluntary labelling scheme that will develop criteria to reflect social and environmental best practice in South Africa with the aim of verifying and certifying products in the relevant product groups. Companies will be licensed to display our Blue Star logo on certified products.
Why Ecolabel South Africa?
Ecolabel South Africa is an independent voluntary labelling scheme that will develop criteria to reflect social and environmental best practice in South Africa with the aim of verifying and certifying non-perishable products in the relevant product groups. There is also considerable pressure on South Africa's energy, water and other resources, which underscores the urgent need for structured resource management tools for business. Ecolabel South Africa will fulfil these requirements by making criteria and certification tools available and accessible to businesses of all sizes in the relevant sectors. Consumer awareness and demand for sustainable products that are not hazardous to human health are also key drivers of the ecolabel process.
The Ecolabel South Africa environmental criteria will be based on those of internationally recognised ecolabels. Therefore, by following our resource management tools, your company will reduce the manufacturing adaptation required to export products to international markets. The inclusion of social criteria will add further value to the certification obtained from Ecolabel South Africa by raising the profile of employees in the manufacturing process.
What are the benefits of Blue Star certification?
Your company will benefit from Blue Star certification through an improved company image, not least because you will be meeting consumer demand for independently certified and environmentally sound products. Indeed, Blue Star certification will bring with it instant credibility. Consumers have long been suspicious of companies' green claims as these are self-assessed. Obtaining Blue Star certification for your products will therefore enhance consumer trust.
From a trade perspective, Blue Star certification will facilitate the export of products to international markets. Our formulatory criteria will be founded on those of international ecolabels thus bringing locally manufactured products in line with international market requirements.
Blue Star certification will positively affect your bottom line. While your company may initially incur adaptation costs, you will save in the long term by following ecolabel manufacturing principles. Your ecolabel audit feedback will also highlight social and environmental areas in your business that could potentially be improved upon.
Reduced production costs tied in with greater consumer trust, which could translate into increased sales, provide a winning formula and ensure a competitive advantage in the market.
What are the criteria?
Specific criteria will be developed for each product group. Our common core criteria, which will form the basis of all the final criteria, were borne from the need to address key local imperatives as well as broader sustainability issues. They will therefore focus on:
- resource management through the product lifecycle
- product toxicity (environmental and human)
- air pollution
- social responsibility
- disaster contingency planning
The categories will be weighted with three-tiered certification being awarded via our Blue Star label.
How does Ecolabel South Africa determine best practice?
To ascertain manufacturing best practice for a specific product, we will conduct research to determine best practice both locally and abroad. The resultant proposal will then be made public and, through an open consultative process, feedback regarding the social and environmental best practice for the specific product group in South Africa will be obtained.
Following revisions based on this feedback, an independent body called the Technical Advisory Board will either approve the criteria or send them back to the Ecolabel South Africa technical team for further revision.
Which products can be certified?
Ecolabel South Africa will verify and certify non-perishable products in the FMCG sector. We invite suggestions and proposals from industry and the general public regarding the product groups they would like to see ecolabelled. Once we receive proposals, we will conduct the appropriate feasibility studies. Our Technical Advisory Board will then either approve or decline proposals.
For our pilot project, our Executive Board has decided to kickoff with an ecolabel for all-purpose cleaning products. The outcome of the pilot will be used as the basis for further product groups.
Who can apply?
Although the criteria are comprehensive, Ecolabel South Africa will be accessible to businesses of all sizes. Accordingly, any company whose product meets the definition of a product group will be able to apply for Blue Star certification.
Furthermore, all manufacturers operating in South Africa can apply for Blue Star certification in the relevant product group irrespective of their country of origin.
How can my company apply?
We have aimed to minimize the time, energy and resources required to apply for Blue Star certification. Companies seeking certification will therefore be able to register and enter the relevant information online relatively quickly and easily, with additional assessments arranged at their convenience. Product testing will be a separate activity undertaken by applicants via accredited laboratories, and the results will need to be submitted to Ecolabel South Africa as part of the application process.
How much does certification cost?
No final figures are currently available regarding the cost of certification; however, the certification fee will be based on a small percentage of turnover. This fee will cover the evaluation of online applications, relevant on-site audits and assessments, and certification. Product laboratory testing is a separate activity undertaken by each applicant and is not included in our fee. Licenses will be renewable annually at which time a licence fee will become payable. All transactions will be processed online via a secure payment system.