Ecomark - An Overview
Ecomark is commonly known as the ECO mark or the Eco Label which states that the product complies with the requirements of the marks and the label. Eco means ecological friendly products. All products which meet the requirements of Ecomark would have the symbol for ecomark certification.
This mark was brought out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India in the year 1991. The concerned notification which was applicable to such products is the Gazetted Notification which was dated on 21 February 1991.
The scheme runs at a pan India level to carry out the ecological compliance requirements for products in India. This would be applicable to all forms of products which also include house products and commercial products which are introduced in the market.
The meaning of environmental friendly product would include any form of product which does not cause any form of natural harm to the environment. Such products, if they are used or not would still ensure that specific standards related to quality are maintained. Such scheme is considered a voluntary initiative from the government of India for interested industrialists and commercialists.
What are the main objectives of the Ecomark Scheme?
The following are the objectives of the ecomark scheme:
- Incentives for Manufacturers
Manufacturers having this form of scheme for their products would secure additional incentives from the BIS.
- Reduce the Environmental Impact
Having this certification would also reduce the overall impact of products which are produced in the industry. Such products would improve the amount of sustainability in the environment.
- Ensure consumers are responsible
Securing this form of mark on products would ensure that consumers are responsible in the society.
- Encourage Citizens to buy good products
Citizens would ensure to purchase consumable products which are eco-friendly.
- Improve the quality of the environment
Overall securing this form of mark would improve the quality of the environment.
What does the Ecomark Logo indicate?
Ecomark logo which is present on products which are manufactured across India would be complying with the standards related to ecological sustainability. Improving change across the society is the main requirements for this form of symbol.
Having this mark on products would ensure that sustainable development is spread across the society.
Regulatory Authority/Body for Ecomark /Eco mark
The main regulatory authority or body for securing Ecomark certification is the Bureau of Industrial Standards. The MoEF brought out this through a notification in 1991. In order to promote economic sustainable developments in the environment, this form of mark was brought out for household and consumer type of products.
The bureau of Indian standards (BIS) ensures that compliance is maintained by providing this form of mark.
Testing and Compliance Requirement for Ecomark
All manufacturers have to consider applying for the above label and mark in order to be compliant with the relevant standards related to ecological friendliness.
Hence the manufacturer would have to apply to the BIS. The BIS would only carry out the requirements related to testing and other activities.
Once this is complete, the product would have the ecomark label. When the ecomark label is issued by the BIS it would have some time for compliance regarding the above.
Criteria for Applying for Ecomark Label
The following criteria have to be considered for securing the ecomark label:
- Less Pollution
Products which are manufactured for securing the label must be emitting lesser pollutants when compared to other forms of products. This would be reducing the amount of Co2 emissions and other form of emissions.
- Products Promoting Sustainable Development
Products which are manufactured should be recyclable, renewable and energy conserving products, thus effectively promoting the principles of sustainable development across the environment.
Products which are manufactured must contribute less to damaging the natural environment.
- Reduction of Environmental Impact
Products manufactured and produced must have lesser impact when compared to other forms of products.
Benefits of Ecomark Label
The following benefits can be enjoyed by a manufacturer securing this form of label:
Certain standards related to compliance can be maintained by an industry having this form of BIS certification.
- Promoting Efficiency
Sustainable development and efficiency can be promoted at all levels securing this form of certification.
- Increasing Consumer Awareness
By affixing the label on products, consumers would be aware that the manufacturer is utilising standards to maintain ecofriendly environments. Through this awareness can also be spread to other consumers.
Things to remember before securing the above label for products
Before securing the ecomark label the manufacturer has to keep specific requirements in mind. These requirements are known as product specific requirements .The following are the requirements related to the label:
- When carrying out any form of process or activities in production, the type of raw materials utilised would be considered while producing the final product.
- Natural resources must be utilised by all manufacturers in order to comply with the above requirements.
- The potential impact of the resources on the environment would also be considered.
- When the product is produced, the amount of energy that is consumed while producing the product.
- Amount of natural waste emanating out of the product.
- Disposal aspects related to the product and other requirements in the product.
- Biodegradability of the product.
- Sustainability of the product during one life cycle.
Procedure for Ecomark Application
The following procedure has to be considered for making an application:
- Making an Application
First and foremost, the manufacturer wanting to secure this label for the products must make an application for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The application for this form of certification is an offline process. The industry or manufacturer has to make an application to the concerned authority. For each product a separate application has to be made for this form of label.
- Prescribed Form
The application has to be made in the prescribed form with the fee payment of Rs 500/-.
- Separate Parts
If there are separate parts for the application, then all the parts of the application must be divided and applied separately.
- Inspection of Premises
When the BIS receives the application, the verification of the premises would be conducted. During this verification process the inspection of the premises would be considered.
One of the main reason to carry out inspection is to check the different form of facilities and processes present in the industry. If there are proper methods utilised in the manufacturing process then the BIS would approve the same. This step is crucial to carry out the quality control on the products which are manufactured in the industry. Samples related to testing would also be provided to a separate laboratory. Such samples would usually be sent to a laboratory which is NABL accredited.
- Testing Criteria
The costs related to carrying out the testing has to be borne by the applicant. Apart from this, the BIS would send a notification or a draft regarding the compliances which have to be carried out by the applicant. This would be communicated by the BIS to the applicant. Apart from this the fees paid by the applicant would also be communicated by the BIS.
- License Granted
After this the license for ecomark would be granted. However the following criteria have to be satisfied by the applicant for securing the ecomark license:
• The applicant must have all the required testing facilities readily available.
• All the standards as required for testing must confirm with Indian standards.
• There must be an acceptance regarding the methods which are required for carrying out testing methods.
- After grant of License
Once the license is granted to the applicant, the manufacturer or the industry would want to go for applying the ecomark label. Such requirements have to comply with the requirements of the product as agreed by the BIS for ecomark.
- Post Inspections
At the discretion of the BIS, there can be surprise inspections carried out by the BIS to ensure that standards related to products, compliance of sampling and other testing requirements are carried out. During this surprise testing procedure, samples may be taken from the production line in order to check if compliance is maintained. If this is not carried out, the bureau may purchase products directly from the market to check if compliance has is carried out with the requirements related to eco mark.
What all are the responsibilities of the BIS?
Apart from providing the above label the BIS would also be responsible for carrying out the following:
- Providing licenses for manufacturers who are going to secure this form of ecomark label for their products.
- Carry out inspections in compliance with the requirements of the Ecograde.
- To ensure that standards are maintained.
- To carry out the renewal of licenses as required by the authority.
- Products which have the above label will also have the ISI label. The ISI label ensures that relevant standards with respect to the industry are maintained. The ISI label would not be present on leather products.
- Ensure that two kinds of testing is carried out to comply with the requirements of the ECO mark as well as the ISI mark.
Which products have the ECO mark?
Both consumer types of products as well as industrial products would have this label of design. Consumables such as oils which are manufactured in industry would also have this mark. The following products have to have this label:
- Soaps and Detergents;
- Wood Substitutes;
- Food Items (edible oils - including Vanaspati, Tea and Coffee);
- Propellants and Aerosols;
- Foods Preservatives and Additives;
- Electrical and Electronics Goods;
- Packing/Packaging Materials;
- Lubricating/Speciality Oils;
- Pesticides; and
The following documents are required:
- If the industry is a company then certificate of incorporation
- Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association
- Product Details
- Details and Information Obtained from the Lab
- NABL Accreditation
- Samples information
- Product Catalogue
- Separate Application for all types of products.
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