The current status and development of major ecolabeling programs’ practices for application review, product verification and follow-up surveillance have been thoroughly studied and reported in the project reports for the 2013-2015 period. During 2019, these programs’ implementation practices have been reviewed and found to have little if any change when compared with previous years. Basically, each program has adopted its own implementation practices based on the available manpower and financial resource, as well as the acceptance of respective local market and product manufacturers or retailers. Therefore, each program’s such decision is unique and decided based on its respective national circumstances and market conditions. For this reason, this year’s review has considered the major programs’ geographical and cultural aspects, and placed special focus on the analysis and comparison of Green Mark Program’s practices with those of neighboring programs in the East Asia region. Through this review, it is observed that Green Mark Program’s fee collection scheme is quite different from those of the neighboring ecolabeling programs, and this difference can have huge impacts to the credibility of product verification, and program’s sustainable management and successful promotion.
Regarding the development and revisions of Green Mark product criteria, following the conclusion of the 2018 project report to prioritize revisions in response to international trends, the criteria for monitors, computer systems, notebook computers, and desktop computers have been revised, promulgated and implemented after acquiring the consensus of major product manufacturers. In addition, 12 product criteria, including dual-stage water-saving toilets, original toner cartridges, displays, computer systems, notebook computers, desktop computers, ink cartridges, recycled toner cartridges, printers, image output devices, light motor vehicles, and motorcycles, have been reviewed and revised. For the criteria of tires for passenger cars, as there are still some issues with regard to the testing and calculation of PAHs, the revision process has been suspended temporarily.
While performing follow-up surveillance activities related to certified Green Mark products, the program’s emphasis has been on the risk management concept and random sampling. During 2019, a total of 209 products have been randomly sampled, and one product was found to be non-compliant and had its license revoked according to relevant administrative regulations. The reason for this non-conformance has been analyzed and included in the list for next year’s priority sampling. In addition, a total of 463products have been checked in various retail venues, and no product was found to be non-conforming or misused the Green Mark. In conjunction with feedback information from relevant organizations, 21 cases of non-conforming products or Green Mark misuses as reported by the consumers have also been processed.
Regarding the review of laboratory testing items, five cases have been approved by the project. The English translations for 64 product criteria were also provided following their development and/or revisions. On expanding the product categories, the project has conducted joint criteria development activities with the manufacturers of televisions, electric cookers and LED bulbs, and encouraged them to apply for Green Mark. For the work item on calculations of environmental benefits through program implementation, the project has completed the quantification and analysis of public sector and private sector’s green procurement activities and Green Mark usages, and followed EPA’s policy in promoting provision of environmental benefit calculations for green procurement activities, including benefits from saving electricity and water, and reducing use of virgin pulp.
During the 2019 GEN annual general meeting, EDF published two research reports, titled “Multinational Mutual Recognition and Certification” and “Implementation Results and Experience Sharing in Promoting Taiwan’s Green Mark Ecolabel and Green Consumption” respectively. Both reports have demonstrated Taiwan’s technological leadership in the ecolabeling area and are highly regarded by Mr. Farid Yaker, an UNEP official responsible for the green consumption area. Following the presentation, EDF also received a letter from GIZ, the German institution responsible for promoting international cooperation, indicating the intention of the Indonesian Public Procurement Agency to send delegates to Taiwan to study Taiwan’s experiences in promoting sustainable procurement.
In order to promote private sector’s future green consumption, Green Mark Program should refer to successful experiences of foreign ecolabeling 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. These seminars would be helpful in extending central government’s efforts in promoting local awareness of Green Mark and encouraging more applications from product manufacturers and retailers.
The overall implementation of the project has focused on collection of foreign ecolabeling related information, participation in international activities, development and revision of relevant standards and criteria, management of certified products, and green consumption information dissemination and promotional 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.