A vast majority of respondents to a recent EU consultation believes that the EU and other public bodies could play a role in ecolabelling – but views on their required type of involvement are less clear.
This is one of the main findings from the European Commission's recent consultation on an EU ecolabel for fisheries and aquaculture products.
In particular, the consultation registered high levels of agreement with:
- the EU helping set up international standards (74 per cent);
- the EU setting minimum standards for ecolabels (72 per cent);
- national authorities checking claims (70 per cent);
- and there being control of certification bodies (70 per cent).
However, respondents were more divided about creating a special EU ecolabel for fishery and aquaculture products.
Ecolabel schemes have been used since the end of the 1990s (for fisheries) and the early 2000s (for aquaculture), driven in part by increasing public awareness of the need to ensure that marine resources are used sustainably.
The EU is by far the main market for certified products. The Commission is currently reviewing the role that public authorities could play in this field. The consultation was one step of this process.
Questions centred on how and why participants use or do not use ecolabelled products and on ecolabel benefits and costs. Participants were also asked what role – if any – the EU should play in relation to ecolabel schemes.
The consultation was open from May to July 2015. It attracted 443 responses from 24 EU Member States and 12 non-EU countries, as well as 8 position papers.
Respondents included NGOs, professional organisations involved in fisheries and aquaculture as well as certification schemes, and members of the public.
The largest number of participants were located in the Netherlands (23 per cent), followed by Spain,
Germany, France and the UK.
Nearly 80 per cent of participants had knowledge of fisheries and aquaculture ecolabels, nearly 11 per cent had no knowledge and almost 10 per cent did not respond to the question.
The full results of the consultation are available here.