Progress on UK's eco-labelling body

The first Chairman of the UK's official eco-labelling body is to be Dr Elizabeth Nelson, a market and social research specialist. The Government has also decided that the organisation will take the form of a non-departmental public body at arms' length from Ministerial control.

These latest steps towards the launch of the UK's end of the EC's eco-labelling scheme this autumn were announced on 5 March by junior Environment Minister Tony Baldry.

Each Member State is required by the EC legislation on the eco-labelling scheme (ENDS Report 203, pp 18-19) to set up a competent body to administer the award of eco-labels and other aspects of the scheme. The UK's body is expected to be operational by August, albeit in an advisory capacity. Primary legislation will be needed to place it on a proper footing, and it is likely that the Bill to establish the new Environment Agency will be the vehicle for this.

The body's Chairman, Dr Nelson, is also Chairman of Addison Consultancy and its subsidiary, Taylor Nelson. The latter is a market research business specialising in the consumer, pharmaceutical, financial, agricultural and social change fields. Dr Nelson is to resign from both posts.

As part of its contribution to the launch of the EC scheme, the UK has taken the lead in formulating draft eco-labelling criteria for five product groups (ENDS Report 205, p 21 ). PA Technology, which carried out a pilot study on criteria for washing machines (ENDS Report 200, pp 25-6), has landed the contract for both this product group and for dishwashers. Contracts to prepare criteria for light bulbs, hairsprays and soil improvers have been put out to tender.

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