One of the project’s tasks involves the collection of information regarding the implementation of domestic and foreign ecolabeling programs. After analyzing the gathered information, it is observed that many ecolabeling programs are starting to slow down in introducing new product criteria, and instead focusing more on revising and integrating existing product criteria and standards. In performing follow-up surveillance activities, many programs are also found to emphasize more on the risk management concept and random sampling. If non-compliances are observed during the surveillance activities, the most severe penalties are usually the termination of license holder’s right to use ecolabel on non-conforming products. While promoting green consumption, several countries have mandated the preferential purchasing of eco-labeled products by government agencies, and leading multinational companies are also imposing green requirements on their suppliers to produce green products. These public and private initiatives can all serve to increase consumers’ awareness of ecolabeling.
With regard to the development of Green Mark product criteria, 8 new categories of product criteria have been developed by this year’s project, including: bio-plastics, digital duplicator masters, household dishwashers, education and entertainment venues, low-voltage system buses, air filters, LED displays, and chargers; 10 existing product criteria have been revised including: office automation paper, products made from recycled wood, digital duplicators, wires and cables, printing inks, Portland blast furnace cement, skin cleansers, fluorescent lamps, hotels, and mercury-free batteries; and six criteria were repealed, including: cloth diaper, chillers for air conditioning systems, textiles, Induction Cooker and clothing made from recycled PET, subscriber telephones, and digital cameras. In addition, one informational seminar has been offered to applicants for Type II environmental protection products and Green Mark service categories. This seminar served to provide assistance to manufacturers and service sector applicants in applying for relevant green product certifications, while also receive views expressed by participants which can be used as inputs during the future review of the green purchasing promotion program.
This year, three representatives from EDF attended the 2016 GEN Annual General Meeting, with Mr. Chin-Yuan Chen served as a member of the GEN Board, which allows EDF to continue to represent the Green Mark Program in GEN and exert due influence. During the GEN meeting, Mr. Chen also presented the results on the evaluation of product environment performance of Green Mark products. Through the presented results, EDF continues to show its leadership to the GEN working group on environmental performance evaluation, and to demonstrate the advanced leading state of Green Mark program in this field.
Regarding the project’s future work, besides paying attention to the development and status of domestic and foreign ecolabeling programs, responding to views and comments expressed by Green Mark licensees and applicants, and organizing relevant informational seminars, it is recommended that future work of the Green Mark Program should include continue developing product criteria for new product categories though on a smaller scale, reviewing existing product criteria, and considering integrating criteria for similar product categories. The reference test methods listed in the specification standards are often misinterpreted as designated methods, the actual implementation is based on certified laboratories and methods as the basis for the test report, the use of the method does not necessarily refer to the standard reference test method. Suggested in the standard specification does not refer to the detection method, the method is to return to laboratory accreditation results identified. Or the relevant environmental protection standard specifications of the standard reference material for the detection method, independent as a reference document to be timely rolling correction. As there are currently two certification organizations for the Green Mark Program, it is recommended that the Green Mark requirement interpretation meeting be held periodically between the two organizations to ensure the consistency in interpretation of the requirements of the Green Mark product criteria. Information seminars should also be held for new or recently revised product criteria in order to encourage manufacturers and merchants to continue to apply for Green Mark certifications, and to seek comments and recommendations from government agencies regarding new product categories for future criteria development activities.
With regard to recommendations for this project’s medium to long term work, it is recommended that EPA-Taiwan commission some impartial and independent consultancies to offer consulting services related to Green Mark application process, and strengthen the requirement that Green Mark users are also responsible for conducting consumer education and awareness activities. If resources are available, it is recommended that international ecolabeling workshops or seminars should be held in order to offer training to personnel of newly founded ecolabeling programs, and maintain the capacity for international cooperation and information exchange. To improve the public interest and awareness of Green Mark, these promotional activities are recommended to be managed by professional public relations firms, and incentives should be provided during these activities to increase consumers’ interests in purchasing Green Mark products.