By Vikrant Rana and Rupin Chopra
ECO Mark Scheme was introduced by the Indian Government for labeling of environment friendly products. The scheme is being administered by the Bureau of Indian Standards (hereinafter referred to as ‘BIS’) and falls under the ambit of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The purpose of Eco Mark scheme is to identify the products that can positively impact the ecosystem.
Products Covered Under the Scheme
Soaps and Detergents, Paints, Paper, Plastics, Cosmetics, Textiles, Batteries, Wood Substitutes, Propellants and Aerosols, Food Items (edible oils – including Vanaspati, Tea and Coffee), Electrical and Electronics Goods, Packing/Packaging Materials, Lubricating/ Specialty Oils, Drugs, Foods Preservatives and Additives, Pesticides, Leather.
Eco Mark Scheme: Functions
The ECO Mark Scheme is applicable nationwide and grants certification for products that adhere to a specific environmental criteria combined with the quality thresholds set in the relevant Indian Standards for the product.
The BIS is responsible for the following functions under this scheme:
- Assessing the product for ECO Mark, certification of the product for award of ECO Mark.
- Renewing, suspending and canceling of the license.
- Except for leather, all the products that are eligible to be certified with the ECO shall also carry ISI Mark for safety, quality and performance of all products.
- Products are licensed to carry ECO Mark for only a prescribed period of time and will subject to reassessment after such period.
- The BIS has to conduct inspections and take samples for analyzing any material or substance which bears the ECO Mark to ensure effective implementation of the scheme.
- The BIS Act, determine the terms that govern the operation of the ECO Mark including fees and other elements.
- For the smooth operation of the scheme, BIS includes additional requirements for ECO Mark in the relevant Indian Standards.
Under the Eco mark scheme, the manufacturers apply for testing and certification of products which fall under the notified categories in terms of their compliance with published environmental criteria in the prescribed form. The terms and conditions governing operations of licenses including fees shall be as per the BIS Act, 2016 and the regulations framed there under. Testing and certification shall be carried out by the BIS. For product categories which have the Indian Standards mark, the BIS will ordinarily complete the task of certification within a period of three months. Products certified as eligible for the ECO Mark shall be licensed to carry the ECO Mark for a prescribed time period. The product shall be reassessed after the prescribed period and the license fee shall have to be paid again for the mark.
‘ECO Mark’ is the buzzword for the environment conscious consumer of today. However, lack of information and ineffective regulation has resulted in ‘green washing’ – corporations making misleading claims about the environmental benefits of their products or organization. Vague and misleading claims leave the consumer confused and distrustful of such labels. Ecolabeling schemes – which are voluntary, market based schemes—have been implemented in some countries, with varied degrees of success.
The official website of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) can be accessed here