The purpose of ecolabelling is to increase the amount of unbiased information on the environmental impact of products and to steer the production and consumption of goods in a more sustainable direction. Ecolabels can give a competitive edge to a company wishing to promote the environmentally friendly nature of their products. Companies can also benefit from certified products when making their own purchases.

There are several labels describing the environmental impact or energy efficiency of products. An energy label is compulsory in devices using energy. Organic labels on food show that the products conform to EU regulations on organic agricultural production.

Some official ecolabels, such as the Nordic Swan or the EU Ecolabel, are indicators of the products’ environmental impact on a wider scale, throughout their life cycles. The Nordic Swan and the EU Ecolabel are among the ten best known ecolabels and certificates in the world.

In addition to official ecolabels, there are several other labels out there, including the Fair Trade certificate, Demeter certificate and the EKOenergy label, which can be applied to all European electricity contracts.

Nordic Swan ecolabel

Pohjoismainen ympäristömerkkiThe Nordic Swan labelling scheme was founded in 1989 and it is the official ecolabel in the Nordic countries. The label is only awarded to the most eco-friendly products and services. The Nordic Swan considers the environmental impact of products at all stages of their life cycles. These environmental impacts include climate warming, water eutrophication and the chemicalisation of the environment.

Manufacturers, importers or service providers can apply for the Nordic Swan label for products and services included in the list of products with ecolabelling requirements approved by the Nordic Ecolabelling Board. The Board has approved requirements for nearly 70 different product groups. The ecolabelling criteria are updated approximately once every three years.

EU Ecolabel, Flower logo Euroopan ympäristömerkki

The EU Ecolabel is a common European ecolabelling scheme, set up in 1992. There are around 30 product groups included in the labelling scheme.

The EU Ecolabel functions on similar principles to the Nordic Swan scheme. The label is awarded to products and services with the smallest environmental impact in their range, and the products must meet the environmental requirements throughout their life cycle.

“Luomu” - controlled organic produce label Luomu - valvottua tuotantoa -merkki

The “Luomu” sun sign denotes controlled organic production. All labelled products conform to organic criteria of EU regulations and are supervised by Finnish authorities. The products are manufactured, packaged and labelled in Finland. The certificate is granted by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira.

EU organic label

EU:n luomumerkkiThe EU organic label is a guarantee of the origin and quality of the products for the consumers. Foods may only be marked as "organic" if at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic.

Placing the logo – the “Euroleaf” – is mandatory on all pre-packaged organic foods manufactured in the EU. The logo may also be placed on other organic products and products exported outside the EU, but its use is voluntary.

EU Energy Label Energiamerkki

The EU Energy Label describes the energy consumption and efficiency of the device. The aim of the label is to steer consumers towards devices that use less energy. Refrigerating appliances, washing machines, tumble dryers, combined washer dryers, dishwashers, ovens, light bulbs, air conditioners and air-source heat pumps must be equipped with an EU Energy Label.

More information

Ministerial Adviser Taina Nikula, The Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)50 305 6945,

Published 2013-08-27 at 13:48, updated 2013-08-27 at 13:48