Ecolabel South Africa was established to help consumers identify products that are made by companies that follow best practice in caring for people and the environment. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you gain a better understanding of ecolabelling and the work of Ecolabel South Africa in particular.
What do ecolabels do?
Companies use ecolabels to provide structure to their sustainability strategies and operations. The job of ecolabelling organisations on the other hand is to develop criteria that fulfil consumer and industry expectations of sustainability and to verify and certify businesses, products and services according to these criteria through a voluntary process.
Once a company receives certification, it is licensed to display the ecolabelling organisation's logo on its product packaging and/or in its marketing material. As a result, consumers are offered a wide range of independently certified sustainable businesses, products and services from which to choose. Over time, these efforts work together to build a sustainable economy.
What is sustainability?
According to the Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1992, sustainability is 'Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. In practical terms, this translates into consideration of the impacts and implications of human activities on people, the environment and the economy over the long term.
Why should I buy products and services certified by Ecolabel South Africa?
When you purchase products and services certified by Ecolabel South Africa, you will be showing your support for companies that are proactively working sustainably and are thus investing in South Africa’s future by following sound social and environmental practices.
Importantly, compared to most similar products, products certified by Ecolabel South Africa will have been independently assessed as:
- having met specific quality criteria
- having a lower environmental impact
- having fewer health hazards to humans
Services that have been certified by Ecolabel South Africa will similarly have superior social and environmental attributes.
Furthermore, all companies carrying our category labels will have demonstrated high levels of social responsibility towards their employees and society at large.
What do you mean by ‘fewer health hazards’?
The international product criteria on which Ecolabel South Africa's criteria will be based specifically prohibit the addition of carcinogenic or other substances that are harmful to human health. A product will therefore not receive a licence to display the Sustainable Products label if it is found to contain a substance that has been scientifically proven to be hazardous to people (although we obviously cannot prevent allergic reactions to ingredients in certain products).
Will I have to pay more for products and services certified by Ecolabel South Africa?
We do not control the pricing of certified companies’ products and services. However, we will be encouraging them to price their products and services competitively to encourage you to buy them. We are optimistic that one day products and services certified by Ecolabel South Africa will be mainstream rather than niche, thus stimulating competition for ecolabelled products and services and eliminating potential pricing disparities.
When and where will I be able to buy products certified by Ecolabel South Africa?
You will be able to buy certified products and services from any company offering them. We are currently working on a pilot project for the Sustainable Business category. Once this phase is complete, we will be rolling out ecolabel criteria for selected product groups in the Sustainable Products category. Feel free to bookmark our website so that you can keep in touch with developments. Alternatively, send us an email via the Contact page so that we can let you know when products and services certified by Ecolabel South Africa will be available.