The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary system. There is no obligation to use it. In order to receive the EU Ecolabel for a product or service, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
- Manufacturers, importers, service providers and also dealers can apply for the EU Ecolabel from the relevant national body (Competent Body) responsible for awarding the label. The application must be submitted to the body in the member state in which the product is produced, first marketed or into which it is imported from a third country. If the product is produced in the same form in various different member states or imported into them from a third county, the applicant can decide in which of the member states they wish to submit their application. This body is RAL gGmbH in Germany.
- Corresponding verifications for the relevant criteria for the group of products and services must also be submitted with the application. RAL gGmbH will check the submitted documents for compliance with the respective criteria. If all of the requirements have been fulfilled, RAL gGmbH will conclude a contract on the use of the EU Ecolabel with the relevant label holder. The validity of the contract is based on the term of validity stated in the relevant Basic Award Criteria. The criteria are usually revised every three to five years to take account of the latest innovations.
Existing contracts on the use of the EU Ecolabel are cancelled with the publication of new criteria and applicants are given the opportunity to reapply for the EU Ecolabel based on these criteria.