26 June 2013

Blue Angel eco-label celebrates 35 years

This year the Blue Angel, the German-wide label that identifies environmentally friendly products, celebrates its 35th anniversary. The label helped the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) to establish requirements and test methods to classify and quantify the environmental and health impacts of a range of products.

The label sends a strong signal to manufacturers of the market benefits of developing ecologically beneficial products. It is also a clear sign to consumers and procurers, allowing them to more easily purchase sustainable goods. Throughout its history, the label has pushed for stricter manufacturing requirements, and has intervened when the law was unable to. For example, although asbestos was suspected to be harmful to humans as early as the beginning of the 20th century, due to political lobbying it continued to be used up to the 1980s.

To counteract the lack of political action, the Blue Angel established an “asbestos-free label”, allowing consumers to ensure products were devoid of the harmful agent. Similarly, the label was instrumental in pushing for the ban of harmful CFCs in aerosol sprays in Germany, and helped to usher in low-emission heaters in the country.

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