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The Russian ecolabel - The Vitality Leaf

  • Published on January 23, 2019
The Vitality Leaf ecolabel is the first and only internationally recognized system of voluntary environmental certification in Russia to date. The ecolabel is based on a multicriteria analysis that considers the entire life cycle of the product (Life Cycle Assessment- LCA) which sets thresholds values, limits and performances that are monitored and certified by the Vitality Leaf experts (Type I as per ISO 14024).
The Vitality Leaf was originally founded by the Ecological Union that is currently one of the leading NGOs in Russia. With 194 products covering all the basic categories, 20 companies and 1 service (certified office) the ecolabel has obtained recognition and credibility on the national market. The Program is member of the Global Ecolabelling Network since 2007, and since 2011 is accredited at the Global Ecolabelling Network Internationally Coordinated Ecolabelling System (GENICES), and complies with international ISO 14024 standard. Director of Ecological Union has served as the GEN Board member from 2017. The objectives of the Vitality Leaf ecolabelling program address three target audiences: 1. Consumers. The objective of the Vitality Leaf is to raise consumer environmental awareness on the modern society lifestyle impact on the environment. We want to increase the number of people who make their everyday consumer decisions by choosing environmentally preferable products and services to take a further step towards a more sustainable society. 2. Business. Ecological certification of companies and promotion of environmentally preferable products on b2b and b2c markets. Every product has an impact on the environment in every phase of its lifecycle (from the cradle to the grave). The impact is caused by using the raw materials and natural resources, the manufacturing process, packaging, transportation, disposal and recycling. The compliance with ecolabelling criteria is being verified every year as long as the license remains valid. Eventually, these comprehensive measures lead not only to reduction of the environmental impact, increasing the number of quality and environmentally preferable products, but also can increase efficiency of production processes and cutting down production costs. 3. Government. Initiatives have been created to promote ecoproducts in green governmental procurement, taling into account the international experience, to broaden the market for ecolabelled products. Ecolabelling procedures (ecocertification) is the core activity of the Ecological Union. In parallel with this, there are other activities that aim to promote ecocertification: Marketing and Promotion of ecolabelled products and ecolabel itself. Ecological Union organizes a variety of events for companies interested in “greening” their businesses. These events are a good tool to promote discussions, raise awareness and provide information on sustainable production. Ecological Union has wide contacts with mass media, that provides around 500 publications about ecolabelling per year and covers a large audience. Education and raising awareness in the field of sustainable consumption is one of the key components of a sustainable society. Therefore, is important to reach collaboration with universities, schools, activists providing education on environmental issues. Ecological Union delivers lectures, seminars, disseminates informational materials. Networking with such international partners as the Global Ecolabelling Network and The Consumer Information Programme (CI-SCP) of the UNEP helps to obtain new experience from the partners around the world and share own experience. Developing and publishing of information materials and tools for business and consumers. For example: For consumers: Guidelines for choosing environmentally friendly products: For retailers, producers, professionals: Green Guide — Methodical guide to greening the range and proper positioning of ecoproducts: For the wide audience: Ecolabel Guide Mobile App: The ecolabels play an important role in strengthening the demand towards products and services of lower environmental impact. The ecolabel provides consumers with a clear and transparent product information and can be used as a marketing tool by the environmentally responcible companies. Evidence show that Russian customers are keen towards environmentally preferable products, as they are willing to pay up to 30% for such products. As the 78% of environmentally consious customers pay attention to presence of an ecolabel; health and environment stay among the main arguments while choosing eco-friendly products (Ecological Union survey "Why and how do customers choose ecoproducts?", 2018. Ecolabel is also an effective environmental instrument due to its marketing benefits and providing new opportunities for both at local and foreign markets.

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