New criteria for awarding the EU Ecolabel to cosmetic products

November 8, 2021 – On October 22, 2021, the European Commission adopted Decision (EU) 2021/1870, establishing the EU Ecolabel criteria for cosmetics and animal care products that will remain valid until December 31, 2027. Hence, Decision 2014/893/EU is repealed.

What is the EU Ecolabel?

The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary labeling scheme, established in 1992, and assigned to products with a low environmental impact through their life cycle to promote the values of a circular economy. Among them: durability and recyclability.

It applies to several categories of products and services, from textiles to tourist accommodations – including, of course, cosmetics. For each group, the European Commission identifies the assignment criteria by a Commission Decision.

At the national level, Member States must appoint the independent bodies responsible for reviewing the applications and awarding of the EU Ecolabel. Until September 2021, 83.593 products have obtained the EU Ecolabel: consumers have a wide choice of environmental-friendly goods.

What is new?

The main novelty introduced by the Commission Decision (EU) 2021/1870 is the extension of its scope: the EU Ecolabel can be awarded to all cosmetics defined as such in the Regulation (EC) 1223/2009, and to animal care products, namely the cosmetics for animal use.

Conversely, according to the old Decision, the EU Ecolabel could have been assigned only to rinse-off cosmetic products with the main purpose of cleaning skin and hair or protecting and lubricating them before shaving.

Moreover, the European Commission has updated the assignment criteria and related assessment and verification requirements – They are in Annexes I and II to the Decision.

The evaluation criteria are:

  • Toxicity to aquatic organisms: Critical Dilution Volume (CDV) of rinse-off products;
  • Biodegradability;
  • Aquatic toxicity;
  • Excluded and restricted substances;
  • Packaging;
  • Sustainable sourcing of palm oil, palm kernel oil and their derivatives;
  • Fitness for use;
  • Information on the EU Ecolabel.

Transition period

The applications presented before the adoption of the Commission Decision (EU) 2021/1870 must be reviewed according to the previous Decision 2014/893/EU. Additionally, the submissions filed within 2 months from October 22, 2021, can be evaluated either following the new or the old criteria.

Lastly, the EU Ecolabels already assigned remain valid for 12 months – until October 22, 2022.




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