Every country's ecolabelling program has developed its own unique and suitable fee-charging criteria and mechanism based on its respective national circumstances and market conditions. After analyzing the fee-charging and collection schemes adopted by ecolabelling programs of various countries, and taking into consideration Taiwan’s unique domestic circumstances, it is decided that a fixed annual fee system may be the best approach for the future annual fee collection scheme. However, at present, the Green Mark Program is operating at a steady state, and that most Green Mark license users are forced to consider potential transformation of business models or changes in operating directions due to the shifts in consumer lifestyles during this pandemic period. If the additional annual fee is imposed on the Green Mark users now, it will only increase the costs for obtaining the Green Mark ecolabel. It is therefore recommended that the current Green Mark fee scheme be maintained until the pandemic is over, or the issue of annual fee collection be discussed and considered when there is a need for privatization of the Green Mark Program in the future.
After detailed study and analysis, it is observed that there are two cases that promotion of green textbooks may be successful. The first case is that government agency in charge of academic/educational affairs may promulgate specifications for appropriate textbooks which contain the requirements for green or environmental-friendly considerations of textbooks; while the second case is that government agency in charge of academic affairs may stipulate the types of textbooks that public schools may adopt. The first case may be implemented through the use of mandatory regulations or directives, which can have comprehensive coverage and be quickly implemented. For the second case, public schools will be able to develop their own textbook selection criteria which contain green considerations and preferentially select textbooks which are environmentally friendly. Since the second case can be implemented in a voluntarily manner, it is more in line with the spirit of the Green Mark ecolabel.
Regarding the cooperation and joint implementation with the MIT Smile Label Program, the internal discussion of this subject within the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has been complemented, and documentation of Green Mark Program implementation has also been submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). If the submitted documentation is approved by the certification review committee of the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of MOEA, future Green Mark applicants can submit applications for both Green Mark and MIT Smile Label at the same time, and be able to obtain user certificates for both labels after their applications are approved.
For the new development and revisions of Green Mark product criteria, the following 6 criteria have been revised (or abolished): inks for digital duplicators (abolished), biodegradable plastics, dehumidifiers, products made from agricultural resources, motorcycles and electric motorcycles. For the revision of product criteria for the inks category, as there is no immediate needs for the EPA and license users, the revision project for this category has been temporary suspended, so as not to create extra burdens for license users and hinder the implementation of the Program.
For other work items this project, two laboratory test items have been reviewed and approved; and 10 English translations for revised product criteria have been provided in line with the progress of criteria revisions. On the inventory of environmental benefits for Green Mark implementation, the statistical data for green purchasing by government agencies and private organizations, as well as the usage data of Green Mark ecolabel have been quantified and analyzed. The gathered data were then used to calculate the environmental benefits associated with the implementation of EPA’s green purchasing policy and initiatives. The calculated benefits include the quantities related to the savings of electricity, water and virgin pulps, etc.
For the sampling and inspection part of this project, following the completion of the sampling and inspection plan, 276 product sampling and tests have been conducted over the year. The results of these tests were summarized and analyzed, and multiple products were placed in the prioritized list for sampling and testing next year. In addition, a total of 515 product inspections have been completed in the retail venues over the past year, and no non-conforming or fraudulent products were found during these inspections. However, using information provided by individual consumers and consumer protection organizations, 5 cases (involving 4 products) of fraudulent or non-conforming usages of Green Mark ecolabel were uncovered and processed.
Regarding participation in international ecolabelling activities, the traditional attendances of overseas conferences of the past years have been transformed during the pandemic into participations in three online virtual meetings this year. Moreover, a report on the environmental benefits associated with the implementation of Green Mark’s product categories on cleaning products and office equipment was presented during the virtual annual general meeting (AGM) of GEN. During this year’s GEN AGM, EDF also successfully completed the peer review process of GENICES and maintained its certification status among fellow GEN members. On behalf of EDF, Mr. Chin-Yuan Chen was also reelected during the AGM to serve as the director of the GEN Board for another 2 years.
For the future promotion of private sector’s green consumption, it is recommended that successful implementation experiences in other countries be considered, including through creation of environmental friendly corporate image or provision of tangible economic incentives, as well as maintaining private sector’s cooperation through information feedbacks. In addition, the Green Mark Program should continue with the existing product criteria revision efforts and consider inputs from all interested parties during new criteria development process, in order to reduce outdated product criteria not meeting the needs of changing market conditions. On the promotion of existing product criteria, representatives from local environmental protection bureaus and relevant consultancies should be invited to the information sessions held for the consultancies, so that these officials and consultants will know the common issues and process associated with Green Mark applications, and be able to better advise the applicants on resolving these issues when submitting applications. Through the central advisory and consultation mechanism established by the EPA to inform local environmental agencies and consultancies of Green Mark application process and common issues during application, the local government officials and associated consultants will be better informed and more proficient in advising Green Mark applicants to resolve these issues.
Overall, in order to maintain and continually increase institutions and consumers’ trust for the Green Mark Program, the program implantation organization should continue to conduct existing activities, including collecting useful information on implementation of foreign ecolabeling programs, participating in international ecolabeling activities, developing and revising product criteria, certifying new products and conducting follow-up surveillance activities on certified Green Mark products, and conducting promotion activities for Green Mark products. Throughout these activities, great efforts should be made to maintain the integrity of the Green Mark ecolabel and comply with all relevant requirements.