The Ecomark Certification Rules, 2023 (hereinafter Ecomark Rules), introduced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of the Government of India, stand as a comprehensive initiative. The purpose is twofold: to label and certify products or services meeting specific environmental criteria and quality standards. At the core of these rules lies a primary objective - to promote and achieve sustainability by encouraging consumers to choose eco-friendly products and motivating manufacturers to transition towards the production of Ecomark-certified goods.
Through the Eco Mark Scheme, India is paving the way for a more environmentally conscious future. In this endeavour, the year 2023 marks a significant turning point. The Eco Mark Scheme itself is seamlessly integrated with the Green Credit Rules, 2023.
Under the Green Credit Rules, 2023, the manufacturers securing the Ecomark for their products can actively participate in generating Green Credits. The Green Credit Program acknowledges the importance of eco-labelled products in promoting sustainable practices by aligning with the Ecomark Scheme. This cooperation motivates manufacturers to embrace environmentally friendly production techniques and achieve Ecomark certification, consequently increasing the market demand for these eco-conscious products.
Ecomark is a certification mark issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standards organization of India. It is awarded to products that adhere to a set of standards designed to minimize their impact on the ecosystem.
The Ecomark Rules is an eco-labelling system that identifies products with reduced adverse environmental impacts. By providing this label, it aims to promote sustainable consumption patterns, foster environmental consciousness, and prevent the dissemination of misleading information about a product's environmental attributes.
The core objectives of the Ecomark Rules involve raising consumer awareness about environmental issues, encouraging manufacturers to create Ecomark-certified products, and preventing misinformation regarding the use of the Ecomark label. Ultimately, these rules seek to promote environmentally friendly behaviour and consumption patterns.
The Ecomark Rules provide a clear set of definitions to ensure that key terms are understood and interpreted consistently. It outlines terms like Designated Ecomark Verifier, Audit, Ecomark Certificate, Conformity Assessment, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), and more. This clarity enables proper implementation and adherence to the rules.
Ecomark criteria will be specified by the Central Government, covering both broad environmental aspects and specific criteria at the product level. To receive the Ecomark, a product must demonstrate substantially reduced potential for pollution and environmental impact, recyclability, conservation of non-renewable resources, and other environmentally friendly features. Products must also meet the certification standards for quality and safety, as well as comply with Quality Control Orders.
The Central Government would administer the Ecomark Rules, and a Steering Committee would be established to govern and oversee its effective implementation. This committee would include representatives from relevant ministries, and other stakeholders. The committee would take on the responsibility of various functions, including approving the framework for the Ecomark Rules, recommending product categories for inclusion, and monitoring the rules' implementation.
The Ecomark Administrator, which is the Central Pollution Control Board, is responsible for implementing the Ecomark Rules. Their responsibilities include developing guidelines, identifying products for Ecomark certification, registering Designated Ecomark Verifiers, issuing and reviewing Ecomark certificates, amongst other functions.
Technical Committees will be constituted to develop and review specific Ecomark criteria for various product categories. These committees shall ensure that criteria are updated in response to market developments, technological advancements, and economic viability.
The Ecomark Portal, under the supervision of the Administrator, will serve as an online platform for entities to register, submit applications, and access information related to Ecomark certification. Producers, exporters, importers, Designated Ecomark Verifiers, and other stakeholders must register on this portal to conduct business.
The Administrator will establish an online knowledge and database platform to provide information about Ecomark-certified products, eco-labelling criteria, environmental impacts, best practices, and emerging areas in environmental sustainability.
These accredited entities will verify and evaluate products for Ecomark certification, ensuring compliance with eco-labelling criteria. They will play a crucial role in the certification process, including factory visits, audits, and recommending certification.
Market surveillance activities, distinct from those of Designated Ecomark Verifiers, will involve regular checks to confirm the compliance of Ecomark-certified products. The Administrator, or empanelled third-party agencies, would conduct verifications and address complaints.
State Pollution Control Boards/Committees will create awareness about the Ecomark Rules and undertake activities for implementation as authorized by the Administrator.
The Central Government may incentivize Ecomark through various environmental protection and conservation programs. Measures for the adoption of Ecomark will be considered under the guidance of the Steering Committee.
A committee, led by the Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board, would be constituted to recommend measures for effective implementation of the Ecomark Rules. This committee will also monitor, and address issues related to Ecomark implementation.
In conclusion, the Ecomark Certification Rules, 2023, establishes a framework for eco-labelling and certification, aimed at promoting environmentally friendly products and responsible manufacturing practices in India. These rules align with the broader global movement towards environmental conservation and sustainability, making a significant contribution to reducing the environmental footprint of products in the market.