One of the project’s tasks involves the continuing collection of information regarding the implementation of domestic and foreign ecolabeling programs. After last year’s information gathering exercise, it was observed that many ecolabeling programs have slowed down in introducing new product criteria, and instead focused more on revising and integrating existing product criteria and standards. For this year’ Green Mark Program implementation, in addition to revising and integrating existing product criteria, the introduction of new product criteria has focused on introducing a new product related to consumers’ demand which is the Portland cement. Nine existing product criteria have also been revised, including clothes washers, ink cartridges, dual flush toilets, plastic intravenous fluid containers, industrial and commercial cleaning products, original toner cartridges, household cleaning products, restaurants, and fire extinguishers. In addition, a total of 54 product criteria have been updated to incorporate new requirements related to the international GHS standard (10 product criteria), and lead content of plastic parts (44 product criteria).
While performing follow-up surveillance activities related to certified Green Mark products, the project’s emphasis has been on the risk management concept and random sampling. During the year, a total of 339 products have been randomly sampled, while inspections have been conducted for 353 products at their retail sites. If non-compliances are observed during the surveillance activities, the most severe penalties are usually the termination of license holder’s right to use ecolabels on non-conforming products. All products inspected onsite were found to be in conformance, while 13 randomly sampled products and 49 consumer-reported products were found to be non-compliant, and penalized according to processes stipulated in relevant administrative regulations.
With regard to promotion of Green Mark Program, it is widely known that over three-quarters of GEN members' ecolabeling schemes have been recognized by their respective government’s public procurement program, and that these programs have been endeavoring to disseminate ecolabelled product information through digital means and mobile devices, as well as continue to demand suppliers’ provisions of green products meeting ecolabeling requirements through the pressure of large-scale purchasers, in order to enhance the awareness of ecolabels among all stakeholders.
Regarding participation in the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) activities, Environment and Development Foundation (EDF) (implementation organization of the Green Mark Program) representatives attended the 2018 GEN Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Berlin Germany. As EDF has been continuously working on the evaluation of ecolabeled products’ environmental benefits in recent years, it has been invited by Germany’s Oeko-Institute to participate in the institute’s research on the environmental benefits of implementing Type I ecolabelling programs. Mr. Chin-Yuan Chen, Vice President of EDF, was also asked to present the results of EDF’s research on the environmental benefits achieved through implementing the Green Mark Program, and successfully demonstrated Taiwan’s technological leadership in this area. During the AGM’s election for the board of directors, Mr. Chen also won the second-highest votes, and got elected to serve another two-year term as the Director of GEN’s Board, and will be able to maintain Green Mark Program’s image of technical excellence.
In order to promote private sector’s future green consumption, Green Mark Program should refer to successful experiences of foreign ecolabelling programs, and create incentives for the industries’ willingness for cooperation through offering rewards of good corporate images or real economic incentives or subsidies. The Program should also continue to revise the existing product criteria and develop new product criteria which incorporate stakeholders’ comments, so as to avoid the issues that existing product criteria not meeting the actual needs of the market.
For promotion of greater applications for Green Mark product status, representatives from local environmental protection bureaus and potential Green Mark applicants should be invited to information seminars on Green Mark application process, so that both local environmental officials and potential applicants may know how to initiate the pre-application consultation and conduct actual application process, and understand the issues which may come up during the application and proper process to resolve these issues.
Through organizing and attending these information seminars, central government officials will be able to encourage local officials in promoting the applications of Green Mark status. Moreover, several product categories selected for their great market potentials, including Portland cement, air cleaners, energy-saving light bulbs and LED light bulbs, can also be promoted during these seminars through introducing the contents of respective product criteria.
As the four major core requirements of Green Mark product criteria have been revised continuously this year, it is observed that in order to continue implementing the Green Mark application scheme, promoting awareness of product criteria, and managing surveillance activities of ecolabeled products, simply revising the guidelines on implementation of Green Mark Program is not enough to ensure effective program implementation and information dissemination. It is recommended that information seminars be held to dissemination essential requirements of relevance to potential Green Mark applicants, management of application process and certified Green Mark products be further enhanced, and the management practices for conducting ecolabled product’s proper environmental claims and continuing conformance to relevant requirements be actively promoted.
The overall implementation of the project has focused on collection of foreign ecolabelling related information, participation in international activities, development and revision of relevant standards and criteria, management of certified products, and green consumption information dissemination and promotion activities. The purposes of conducting these activities are to maintain the integrity and conformity of Green Mark, so as to continuously improve the trust of the public institutions and private consumers to the Green Mark ecolabel.