Ecolabel South Africa was established to help consumers identify products that are made by companies that follow best practice in caring for people and the environment. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you gain a better understanding of ecolabelling and the work of Ecolabel South Africa in particular.
What do ecolabels do?
Manufacturers use ecolabels to provide structure to their green strategies and operations. The job of ecolabelling organisations on the other hand is to develop criteria that fulfil consumer and industry expectations of ‘green’ and to verify and certify the relevant products according to these criteria.
If a company successfully receives certification for a product, they will be licensed to display the ecolabel logo on their product. As a result, consumers will be offered a wide range of independently certified green products from which to choose. Over the long term, these efforts will work together to grow the green economy.
What does 'green' mean?
For us, ‘green’ includes both social and environmental considerations. While our aim is to certify products that are environmentally sound and present fewer health hazards to humans than most ‘regular’ products, we believe unequivocally that the health and safety of a company’s employees are also of paramount importance and that employees contribute significantly to the environmental attributes of a product. Our ecolabel criteria will therefore address both social and environmental issues.
What is Blue Star?
Products certified by Ecolabel South Africa will be licensed to display the Blue Star logo, with one blue star indicating the company is making impressive strides towards achieving best practice in the manufacturing of the specific product, and three stars showing that the product has been manufactured in line with the best social and environmental practices in South Africa. Each label will also display a code confirming the product’s unique licence number.
Why should I buy Blue Star-certified products??
When you purchase Blue Star-certified products, you will be showing your support for companies that are investing in South Africa’s future by working to the best social and environmental production practices in their sector.
Importantly, compared to most similar products, Blue Star-labelled products will have been independently certified as having:
- met specific quality criteria
- a lower environmental impact
- fewer health hazards to humans
Furthermore, the companies that manufacture Blue Star-certified products will have demonstrated high levels of social responsibility towards their employees and society at large.
What does ‘fewer health hazards’ mean?
The international product criteria on which Blue Star will be based specifically prohibit the addition of carcinogenic or other substances that are harmful to human health. A product will therefore not receive a licence to display the Blue Star logo if it is found to contain a substance that has been scientifically proven to be hazardous to people (although we obviously cannot prevent individual allergic reactions to ingredients in products).
Will I have to pay more for Blue Star-certified products?
We do not control the pricing of manufacturers’ products. However, we will be encouraging manufacturers to price their products competitively to encourage you to buy them. We are optimistic that one day Blue Star-certified products will be mainstream rather than niche, thus stimulating competition for ecolabelled products and eliminating potential pricing disparities.
When and where will I be able to buy Blue Star-certified products?
You will be able to buy Blue Star products from general retailers. We are currently working on a pilot project for all-purpose cleaners which we intend to complete in 2016. Once this phase is complete, we will be rolling out ecolabel criteria for other product groups. Feel free to bookmark our website so that you can keep in touch with developments. Alternatively, send us an email via the Contact page so that we can let you know when and where Blue Star-certified products will be available.