30 Years of Swan History

Anniversary Report for the Nordic Ecolabel

image of 30 Years of Swan History

This is an account of the Swan label’s first thirty years, written in chronological order with short chapters each illustrating various aspects of the scheme. There are few areas of public life in which there have been so many vague pronouncements as for environmental protection. Perhaps that’s because it’s so easy to agree on the goals, but sohard to find the right solutions and practise what you preach. Here at the Nordic Swan, we’ve done things properly from dayone by setting concrete, measurable environmental performance requirements and turning the environment into a competitive advantage. There have been many conflicts and disagreements, but no one can deny that ecolabelling has led to significant environmental improvements. The Nordic region with its 30 million people is the world’s twelfthlargest economy, and this makes a difference when businesses plan product changes and marketing campaigns. The label is a success far beyond the borders of the Nordic region.

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1996 The Danish Parliament votes in favour of the Nordic Swan

Denmark was a loyal member of the European Union and pushed hard for the European Flower Ecolabel, and for that reason had not been involved in establishing the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. For more than five years, Denmark had focused its efforts on the EU Flower, but felt that criteria development was at a very slow pace and that finished criteria were diluted due to the influence of the industry. It was of course a problem that criteria development, and not least approval of new products, went much slower with the EU Flower. Nor did it help that there had been hardly any marketing of the EU’s ecolabel, while the various countries that looked after the Nordic Swan Ecolabel had already carried out many campaigns.

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