WHEN: 1991. Launched by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India (GOI).
WHY: Environmental protection is possible only when all the arms of the state are joined by the people as well as industry. In today’s age of rapid industrialization, urbanization, mechanization and increasing demands, the pressures on resources and the environment is increasing. Ecomark Scheme was launched by GOI to promote greater citizen participation and encourage industry to follow environmental-friendly technology and processes and produce environment-friendly products.
WHAT: ‘Ecomark’ is an identification that would be given to environment-friendly products. This mark/symbol will help consumers identify such products and purchase them, thereby encouraging this trend.
An ecofriendly-product would be one which is produced, used and/or disposed in a manner that reduces its environmental impact than would be the case otherwise. The certification process involves a ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach i.e. it takes into account the process from raw-material extraction, to manufacturing and disposal. To qualify for this certification a product has to satisfy the specified criteria and quality requirements.
OBJECTIVES: 1. To encourage industry to adopt eco-friendly technology and produce eco-friendly products, by providing incentives and rewarding best practices.
2. To increase citizen awareness about these products and their participation in environment protection.
3. Through this effort improve quality of environment.
LOGO: The earthern pot symbolizes a product made of a renewable resource, the which does not generate any waste, and consumes little energy. It represents both strength and fragility, indicative of the ecosystem.
The product which carries this logo is one which is least damaging to environment. [i]
1. MoEF: Steering Committee in the ministry responsible for implementing scheme, promoting consumer awareness, evolving a future-strategy
2. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB): identify specific products periodically to be classified as ecofriendly. CPCB is also a member of the Global Ecolabelling Network.
3. Bureau of Indian Standards: assess and certify products.
SUCCESS: In a report submitted to MoEF in 2006[ii] it was argued that EcoMark is not very successful. It has not caught the attention of either the buyer or industry. Only 20 licences have been granted to 15 companies across four product categories — paper, wood substitutes, finished leather and electrical/electronic goods. Demand for EcoMark products hasn’t risen. Criticism of Ecomark range from the fact that it involves both criteria of environment-friendliness and quality; it is not a graded scheme like the energy ‘star’ ratings; lack of political will.[iii]
[ii] Mehta, P.S. 2006, “The Indian Experience with Eco-Mark: Lessons Learnt & Steps Forward”. CUTS International.