National Cleaner Production Center (NCPC), Sri Lanka, jointly with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), recently organised the CEO Forum on 'Ecolabelling as a sustainable solution for food safety and quality'

A global practice, Ecolabelling is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification and labelling among many industry sectors. The ‘CEO Forum on Ecolabelling’ introduced businesses to new ways of manufacturing and processing products and services that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

This event is part of the European Union (EU) funded BESPA-FOOD project, implemented by UNIDO in collaboration with FAO. The CEO Forum gathered business leaders from the tea, dairy and coconut food sectors, ministries’ representatives, government institutions’ heads, and INGOs. The Chief Guest of the CEO Forum was Ministry of Environment Secretary Dr Anil Jasinghe, and he has done the Keynote speech on ‘Importance of ecolabelling in green public procurement (GPP) in Sri Lanka.

Other Guest speakers included UNIDO International Senior Technical Specialist Dr Jairo Villamil-Diaz, NCPC CEO Samantha Kumarasena, Japan Environment Association Deputy Manager (Promotion Section) Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and Hayleys Plantations PLC Managing Director Dr Roshan Rajadurei. “Ecolabelling is an opportunity for food producers to ensure and demonstrate quality in products and services as it increases access to safer, high-quality food markets in Sri Lanka and abroad. UNIDO is supporting NCPC Sri Lanka on this endeavour in the framework of our BESPA-FOOD project,” said UNIDO International Senior Technical Specialist Dr Jairo -Diaz. Increasingly becoming popular with businesses worldwide, ecolabels address companies’ environmental concerns, providing them with an edge in international markets.
Companies are compelled to adopt sustainable solutions due to ever-growing consumer demand. Ecolabelled products benefit the environmentally conscious consumer as they want more information about the products they use. As defined by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Ecolabelling provides indications on a product by a third party about the impact goods and services can have on the environment. This creates awareness of the environment, on sustainable consumption and allows consumers to identify greener products, giving value to products and services.

The ‘Eco Label-Sri Lanka’ program of NCPC Sri Lanka is the first national green product certification scheme and the most successful and influential Type-1 ecolabelling program in Sri Lanka with international acceptance through the full membership of Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). Independent third-party assessments are made for all Ecolabelled products and services, giving confidence to consumers, suppliers and even procurement teams.

All NCPC Sri Lanka Ecolabel standards provide a sustainability criterion related to the environment, human health, social issues and fitness for purpose. The NCPC Ecolabelling program is implemented under the International Standards on ISO 14024:2018 on Environment Labels and Declarations – Type I environmental labelling.

“We have developed rigorous voluntary standards with sector experts and stakeholders, which are then independently and critically reviewed and approved by the Governing Council,” NCPC CEO Samantha Kumarasena said.

NCPC is certifying 3 product categories based on standards developed, ranging from the agri-food sector (tea, dairy) to construction chemicals and products of paint, steel, cement, etc. At the CEO Forum companies, Nippon Paint Lanka Ltd., Megakem Lanka Ltd., Union Chemicals Lanka PLC, Samson Rajarata Tiles under Construction Chemicals and Products Category and Dairy and Tea product categories, Richlife Dairies Ltd., Horana Plantations PLC, and Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC were awarded the Ecolabel certification.

With the support provided by the UN Environment Consumer Information Programme, the technical inputs from Eco Mark, Japan, and a certified GEN ecolabel membership, NCPC, Sri Lanka Ecolabel is widely respected and recognised locally and internationally. NCPC, is a member of The Global Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP Net) and was founded by UNIDO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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