Official Journal of the European Union

C 224/1

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on Eco-friendly production

(2008/C 224/01)

On 16 February 2007, the European Economic and Social Committee acting under Rule 29(2) of its Rules of Procedure, decided to draw up an opinion on

Eco-friendly production

The Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 6 May 2008. The rapporteur was Ms Darmanin.

At its 445th plenary session, held on 28 and 29 May 2008 (meeting of 29 May), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion unanimously.

1.   Conclusions and recommendations


The Committee is strongly in favour of initiatives aimed at developing a Community policy of sustainable production and consumption, fully mainstreamed into other Community policies, with a view to:

converting potential challenges into opportunities for EU industry to be competitive on the world market, by adopting environmentally friendly production methods based on ecological products and services, easily identifiable by consumers throughout the Community;

developing a ‘green market’ to ensure that these products and services respond to definite, common definitions and are genuinely available in all the Member States;

raising the European public's awareness of responsible and more ‘eco-intelligent’ consumption and of the need for behaviour patterns that are more respectful of the environment, by means of a strong commitment to provide information, training and education, starting with primary schools;

taking a more strategic approach so as to influence the decision-making process in business, in politics, among consumers and among the general public, and securing an organic Community framework, avoiding the market fragmentation caused by divergent and misleading advice and advertising messages regarding the environmental nature of these products and the related production and distribution systems;

ensuring consumer choice is protected and producers/distributors are committed to meeting environmental standards and ensuring products released onto the market conform with environmental sustainability requirements;

ensuring that responsibilities for sustainable consumption policy, in terms of decision-making and implementation, are shared among all the stakeholders and civil society organisations: producers, distributors, consumers, teachers, public authorities, environmental and consumer organisations, and both sides of industry.


The Committee recommends adopting definitions for the concepts of ‘eco-product/service’ and ‘eco-consumption’ within the framework of sustainable development and consumption, to be valid throughout the EU and accepted internationally, using clear environmental criteria and indicators and standards that leave room for innovation and improvement.


The Committee calls on European industry and distribution and services systems to make a clear commitment to comply with an integrated sectoral approach, involving a timetable of verifiable objectives: this should incorporate the three environmental, economic and social pillars of sustainability. Environmental requirements should be factored in from the product design phase with an eye to the whole lifecycle, continually raising the bar in terms of quality, innovation and customer satisfaction targets.


The Committee recommends that companies and public and private bodies step up joint use of available Community and national instruments so as to maximise research into clean technologies and products.


The Committee would stress the need to strengthen and accelerate technical standardisation for ecological products and production processes.


The Committee calls for certainty of criteria and uniformity in minimum requirements throughout the internal market with regard to labelling systems for eco-products. This is to secure fairness in green consumer choices, uniform controls throughout the EU and respect for the principle of free movement for genuinely green products. The European Eco Label (eco flower) should be further marketed and should be able to co-exist with national and sectorial labelling systems.


The Committee believes it is important to strengthen the ‘product dimension’ in environmental management systems, so as to promote dissemination to producers and distributors, and tailor it more effectively to the management systems of local authorities, making it better able to spark synergies with other sustainable development promotion instruments.


According to the Committee, the dissemination of EMAS (the eco-management and audit scheme) should be supported. This could be achieved by means of financial and fiscal measures, administrative streamlining, promotion and marketing initiatives, recognition of EMAS as a standard of excellence, also internationally, and the adoption of measures to assist small enterprises in gradually applying the scheme.


It is essential that the performance of a product should be assessed in its entirety, i.e. on the basis not only of environmental criteria but also of other important aspects such as: performance for both consumer and producer financially and regarding safety, functionality and health protection, the rational use of resources and materials, logistics, innovative characteristics, marketing, the product's capacity to broaden consumer choice, lifecycle and social aspects.


The EESC recommends promoting the development of green public procurement (GPP) by: defining the technical characteristics of ‘green’ products, starting with those with the best environmental impact; including the cost of the product or service's lifecycle in its specifications; making a dedicated database available on line; bringing EC directives on public procurement up to date by including references to standards, EMS systems, Ecolabels, and eco-design; and lastly, publishing national action plans for the adoption of green procurement.


The Committee would reiterate the importance of using Article 153 of the EC Treaty as a legal base, as it is the best suited when it comes to securing a high level of consumer protection including the safeguarding of their right to full, correct, appropriate, comprehensible, timely information.


The Committee would argue that for the purposes of self-regulation, one possible route might be to develop a code of conduct, as provided under Directive 2005/29/EC, so as to avoid the misuse of ecological claims in advertising and, at all events, to avoid misleading advertising. This ought to work in parallel with eco-taxes and regulation. The EESC would recommend that ecological statements should rely on a trustable and recognised label.


Alongside judicial proceedings, which ought to be accessible to all, the Committee is also in favour of naming extrajudicial monitoring and conflict resolution bodies for consumers, that are flexible, efficient, low-cost and credible, so as to ensure that environmental standards for products are met and that products released onto the market comply with the principles of environmental sustainability.


The Committee, given the legislative fragmentation marking both consumer information requirements and requirements for sustainable products, would argue that there is an urgent need to start work on a single, well-defined framework in the form of a ‘European charter for sustainable consumption and production in the internal market’.

2.   The current framework and prospects


The aim of the Community eco-label award scheme (1) is that of promoting products with a minor environmental impact and providing consumers with precise and scientifically sound information. This label does not apply to food and drink, pharmaceutical products, medical devices (2) or dangerous or toxic products or substances (3).


The design, production, distribution and consumption of environmentally friendly products is an integral part of Community's environment policy as defined in the objectives and priorities set out in the sixth environment action programme (4), to be achieved by 2010. This programme, on which the Committee gave its opinion on a number of occasions, describes in detail plans for measures contributing to the establishment of the sustainable development strategy.


Of the main Community initiatives on the subject, a key position is held by integrated product policy (IPP) (5), on which the Committee issued an opinion (6), which gives consideration to all products and services having an environmental impact.


For the integrated product policy to be effective, it is necessary to encourage producers to make more ecological products and consumers to buy such products. Instruments that could be used to that end might include:

encouraging use of fiscal measures to promote more eco-friendly products;

taking environmental aspects into account in decisions on public contracts (7);

promoting the application of ‘lifecycle thinking’;

integrating and promoting the application of voluntary instruments such as Ecolabel, EMAS, EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations), green public procurement, etc;

providing consumers with the necessary information for an ‘informed choice of products’, for purchase, use and disposal.


Another positive step forward was made with the introduction of a new regulatory framework on the eco-design requirements for energy-using products, governed by a 2005 framework directive (8).


With regard to implementation, under the framework directive, the first rules come into force in 2008. Measures concerning 20 groups of products are currently being studied (including lighting, computer systems and washing machines) and for 14 of them (including street and office lighting) measures should be established before the end of 2008; for others, such as domestic lighting systems, the target is 2009.


The sixth environmental action programme (9) sets out five priority avenues of strategic action: improving the implementation of existing legislation, integrating environmental concerns into other policies, working with the market, empowering people by helping them to change their behaviour favouring the demand of such people and taking account of the environment in decisions on regional land-use planning and management.


More generally speaking, the European sustainable development strategy, as revised by the European Council in 2006, defines ‘sustainable production and development’ as one of the key challenges, to be addressed by gearing economic and social development towards forms that are compatible with the eco-system. It also proposes a new action plan in this area.


The 2007 report on implementation (10) shows that sustainable consumption and production are difficult to measure in a reliable way on a broad basis. Although the number of sustainable products and services present on the market seems to be rising fast, estimated savings on the current energy bill are equivalent to approximately EUR 60 billion the year, whereas the number of products with an Eco-label remains fairly limited as does the number of EMAS registered companies. Only 14 Member States have adopted national Green Procurement plans and only 21 have completed the environmental technology action plan (ETAP) implementation road map (11).


On the other hand, in the sphere of technical standardisation, measures were launched some time ago to integrate environmental aspects into the new technical standards, creating an ‘environmental framework’ for CEN, within which its technical bodies can address environmental specifications. When the standard falls under the ‘New Approach’, this governs the presumption of conformity with basic requirements of the corresponding European directive. Further steps forward on this matter were then achieved with the adoption of the ISO 14001 environmental certification scheme.


On 10 October 2007, the European Environment Agency published its fourth report on ‘Europe's Environment’ (12), dedicating an entire chapter to ‘Sustainable consumption and production’.


Furthermore, the Commission's 2007 annual report on the state of progress of the Lisbon strategy for growth and employment put an emphasis on the importance of climate change, eco-innovations, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and energy markets.


Lastly, the Brussels European Council on 8 and 9 March 2007 gave special attention to the subjects of the environment and climate change. The Environment Council of February 2007, meanwhile, stressed the complementarity between the EU's sustainable development strategy and the Lisbon strategy for growth and employment, and the essential contribution that the latter makes towards the priority objective of the former, while also reiterating the need to mainstream environmental aspects into all policies. This general thrust was strongly underlined by the December 2007 European Council (13).


The main objectives of the Commission's 2008 work programme (14) clearly include that of placing the citizen at the centre of the European endeavour, starting with an evaluation of the social situation alongside a review of the internal market, with constant attention to the need for the European public to make the most of the single market.


The EESC has often called for Article 153 of the EC treaty to be used as a legal base (15), as it is designed to secure consumers a high level of protection and promote their right to full (16), correct, clear, appropriate, comprehensible and timely information.


When it comes to derived law, consumer rights to information are governed by Directive 2005/29/EC (17) on ‘unfair commercial practices’ that could damage consumers' economic interests. The annex to this directive lists a series of commercial practices that can be considered unfair without a case by case assessment, including for instance ‘displaying a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without having obtained the necessary authorisation’.


The Committee is however convinced that there is a degree of legislative fragmentation at Community level with regard to basic consumer information requirements, as well as the requirements for sustainable products, and considers it important to draft a ‘European charter for sustainable consumption and production in the internal market’.


Should the results of the implementation of this charter — and the self-regulatory codes provided for under Directive 2005/29/EC — prove insufficient, the Committee believes other options should be examined, such as for instance more complete harmonisation or the establishment of a specific Community system of an operational nature.

3.   General comments


The Committee would argue that it is essential to start with clear and definite definitions of concepts such as ‘sustainable product’, ‘sustainable design, production and distribution’, and ‘sustainable consumption’, so as to monitor throughout the EU and the European Economic Area compliance with any Community legislative, regulatory or voluntary frameworks referring to such definitions in the various national/regional spheres.


These definitions, commonly accepted at international level, are not static but are by their nature subject to continual improvement. In the Committee's view, however, they must be fleshed out with:

a package of environmental indicators  (18) to trace progress between various thresholds making it possible to assess the level of sustainability of production systems, products, and services and distribution systems;

Community technical environmental standards (possibly tying in with ISO standards) with full integration of environmental aspects in the European standardisation process, as stressed a number of times by the Committee (19), to be incorporated within products, production systems, distribution systems and services, in accordance with the conformity guidelines of related Community directives (20).


The Committee would argue that the definitions suggested above, bolstered by appropriate indicators and standards, are essential for an effective Community policy that can enable informed consumers to be sustainable in their choices and behaviour, where production processes take care of the environment.


As the Commission itself has underlined, ‘European industry is already well positioned to build on its strong position in the market for new products, services and processes, based on environmental technologies. In addition, European companies are more and more sensitive to environmental performance as part of their corporate social responsibility approaches’ (21).


The Committee agrees on the three areas of development set out in this respect: stimulating the development and commercialisation of low carbon and energy efficient technologies, products and services; creating a dynamic internal market; developing global markets low carbon and energy efficient technologies, products and services.


The Committee would reiterate its position already set out in a recent opinion ‘Top performances in the scientific and technical field, and their conversion into a competitive, economic force, are essential preconditions to safeguarding our future, for example with regard to energy and climate issues, preserving and improving our current global position, and developing rather than jeopardising the European social model’ (22).


According to the Committee, a more integrated approach is necessary, so as to overcome the difficulties and obstacles to joint, coordinated use of all possible financial instruments (23) at European, national, regional and local level and by individual operators, for the development of clean and efficient technologies and innovative applications able to generate processes, products and services with a high level of sustainability.


The Committee believes that an inter-DG Community initiative for coordination and technical assistance is necessary to optimise joint use of the Community, European and national instruments available so as to maximise efforts in the area of research and innovation both in companies and public and private bodies, for the purposes of environmental protection, in the sphere of the European Area for Research and Innovation.


As has been stated on many occasions by the Committee (24), the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, it is essential to cut the red tape that slows companies down (notably SMEs), so as to unlock the economic and social potential of businesses and direct it towards the sustainable modernisation of production and organisational context and structures.


The EU launched the eco-labelling system for products to boost environmentally sound production in 1997. It was then extended to services and has grown over the years. It also includes multicriteria public labels applied to groups of products/services (25).


The Committee would argue that this situation can sow confusion among producers and above all among European consumers, and that the answer is a streamlined system of minimum common criteria established at European level, setting up compulsory registration and verification for labels by an independent certifying body.


The labelling at a European level should not compete but co-exist with the national and sectorial labels which are sometimes more known to the consumer then the European labelling. Furthermore, there ought to be coordination on an international level with labels which have proven to be successful such as the Energy Star.


It is imperative that the labels are trusted and inspire confidence in the consumer. For this reason the standards setting of such labels and the monitoring of the market should be entrusted to the stakeholder (all of them) so as to be more credible.


It may be pertinent to start looking into labelling of products or services to identify their carbon print.


With regard to the EMAS voluntary system, which enables those wishing to show that they are improving their environmental performance to opt in on a Community eco management and eco audit system; thus demonstrating their willingness to respect environmental standards and their commitment to adopting an ecological management system, the Committee would argue that after adopting ISO standard 14001 it will be possible to strengthen the ‘product dimension’ of environmental management schemes to facilitate greater dissemination among producers and distributors and to adjust it to process management in local authorities and make it more open to synergies with instruments for the promotion of sustainable development.


According to the Committee, it would be worthwhile supporting the dissemination of EMAS by means of financial, fiscal, streamlining and administrative measures, publicity and marketing initiatives, and through recognition of EMAS as a ‘standard of excellence’ also at international level, with the possibility of helping SMEs to take a gradual approach, not least in the sphere of industrial clusters.


The Committee considers it absolutely essential to develop a ‘green market’ for products and services, by introducing a series of incentives and instruments designed on the supply side to encourage innovation, and on the demand side to provide consumers with appropriate information or incentives to buy more environmentally friendly products.


For the purposes of a competitive internal market, product performance should be assessed not only on the basis of environmental criteria but also on the basis of other important aspects such as: economic performance for the consumer and the producer, safety and functionality, its use of resources, logistics, marketing, its characteristics in terms of health and innovation, its capacity to broaden consumer choice, its lifecycle and disposal, and lastly, social concerns.


It is imperative that there is true commitment to the support to research and development and innovation within the sector of eco-production and eco services.


In the Committee's opinion, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI should play a key part in the development of the technical standardisation process when it comes to a product's environmental sustainability (26).


The Committee has already stressed that ‘promoting the use of environmental technical standards should not be subject to top-down decisions but should be effected through widespread acceptance of eco-compatible products in order to respond as effectively as possible to the needs and interests of citizens and consumers’ (27).


In the sphere of public contracts, it is important to flag up Directive 2004/18/EC on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts (28) and the Commission interpretative communication on the Community law applicable to public procurement and the possibilities for integrating environmental considerations into public procurement (29).


The Committee would argue that the public procurement sector, which accounts for approximately 16 % of Community GDP, is critical for promoting the dissemination of more ecological products and would call for measures to encourage contracting authorities to use existing possibilities in the area of green public procurement (GPP).


The 2006 final report on GPP in Europe (30) names the following among the main obstacles to its dissemination: the higher cost of green products, particularly in the absence of indicators regarding lifecycle costs; the lack of environmental knowledge, and the absence of an adequate easy-access electronic database; a lack of clarity in procurement criteria and specifications, with uncertain eco-product definitions and standards; a lack of support at managerial and political level; and a lack of information and training instruments.


The Committee therefore recommends: defining solid criteria for green products, specifying all relevant environmental specifications; including the cost of the product or service's entire lifecycle in specifications; launching a ‘European GPP knowledge Database’ (31); introducing the requirements of ISO standard 14004, environmental management systems — EMS, Ecolabel references and eco-design to EC directives on public contracts; disseminating national action plans for adopting green public procurement among the public; focusing on products with the greatest environmental impact.


The ‘fair trade’ concept is also widespread throughout Europe. Fair trade and ethical trade have been of great interest to the EESC for some time and were addressed in detail in opinion REX/196 (32). In the Committee's view, they are key to the success of sustainable consumption.


Education is a key element in sustainable consumption and the EESC insists that this education should begin in the classroom. Consumers should also have immediate access to information on the products and services chosen and their potential impact on the environment. It is also essential that this information be provided in a way that is interesting to the consumer and thus easy to absorb and understand.


The EESC believes that the Community's legislative corpus on sustainable production and consumption should be consolidated and simplified so as to make it more easily comprehensible and accessible for consumers and producers alike: ‘'Less but better lawmaking' must translate into consolidated, consistent regulatory texts in the field of the environment, providing legal certainty and transparency for adjusting to industrial change, and focusing on how best to protect resources and the environment and apply sustainable, competitive technological innovations in the global marketplace’ (33).


On the subject of ‘green’ products, it would be worthwhile stepping up Community measures aimed at outlawing misleading advertising and unfair commercial practices  (34): the terms ‘eco’ and ‘bio’ are often used as simple marketing tools to increase the sales of products and services that in reality are no different to others and offer no added value.


In this connection, the Committee believes that developing codes of conduct, as set out in Directive 2005/29/EC, could be a particularly significant element in self-regulation to prevent the use of unfair ecological claims in advertising, applying the following criteria:

Environmental advertising must not cause undue social alarm about ecological problems, or exploit unfamiliarity with this issue.

Advertising must not encourage behaviour that would undermine environmental protection, or portray such behaviour in a non-critical way.

Advertising cannot mislead the public about the environmental effects of the advertised product, either through misleading presentation of such effects or by concealing them.

The eco-friendly features of a product or service must not be unjustifiably extended to other products or services provided by the company in question.

When the environmental qualities of a product or service depend on specific conditions or methods of use or consumption, or on particular points in their lifecycle, the advertisement must make this explicit, or clearly urge consumers to seek this information.

The use of environmental claims or slogans in advertising must be based on verifiable technical and scientific criteria. If challenged, the advertiser must provide the necessary evidence from an independent body or expert to prove the accuracy of the advertisement.

References to ingredients added to or removed from the advertised products in order to alter their environmental effect must be clear and specific with regard to the nature and extent of such effects.

The use of signs or symbols relating to environmental effects may not be misleading or lead to confusion about their meaning. Neither may they falsely allude to eco-labels in official use in specific countries, geographic areas or economic sectors. Testimonials and witnesses may only be used to promote the ecological characteristics of the advertised product by means of specific and verifiable claims, in keeping with the fourth from last indent.


In the Committee's view flexible, efficient and low-cost non-judicial supervision and arbitration bodies for consumer affairs should be promoted, that can act credibly to guarantee that products comply with environmental standards, and that sustainable products on the market meet the environmental sustainability requirements governing consumer choice. These should not replace judicial proceedings which ought to be accessible to all.


The Committee places particular importance on a European charter for sustainable consumption and production to protect consumers' rights to consume ecological products. A charter of this kind should include the following elements:

sharing responsibility for sustainable consumption between all stakeholders and civil society organisations: producers, distributors, consumers, educators, public authorities, consumer and environmental organisations, and the social partners,

mainstreaming sustainable production and consumption policy into the other relevant Community policies, in consultation with consumer, environmental, manufacturing, trade and distribution organisations, along with other stakeholders,

a primary responsibility on the part of European industry and producers to maximise the availability of sustainable consumption throughout the lifecycle of a product ‘from the drawing-board to the grave’ and in the distribution and service sectors,

EU responsibility for providing a single, clear, consistent and understandable framework for all Community legislation in this area, highlighting consumers' rights and user-friendly, cost-frees means of upholding such rights in practice,

possible elements that could flesh out existing rights and would come under the powers of the Member States,

possible elements that could flesh out existing rights and could be achieved through self-regulation (35) by private stakeholders, consumers' representatives (36), environmental organisations (37) and representatives of business,

a responsibility on the part of the EU and Member State governments to promote dynamic, verifiable and uniformly applicable measures concerning eco-friendly design in every product sector, trustworthy eco-labels throughout the EU, widespread environmental management systems, drafting and enforcement of internationally-recognised, advanced technical environmental standards, specific and binding technical environmental requirements in public procurement procedures, misleading ‘green’ advertising, fair trade and international cooperation for sustainable consumption,

speeding up research and technological development, and the introduction of innovative applications in the area of sustainable production and consumption, in terms of both Community and Member State public expenditure and private expenditure, with a view to the aim of spending 3 % of GDP as defined for the ERA (38),

informing, educating and training all sustainable consumption stakeholders, and capacity-building actions for relevant administrations and organisations,

developing publicly available indicators, methodologies and databases to measure progress towards sustainable consumption at all levels,

promoting research into environmentally harmful consumer behaviour, in order to identify ways of making consumption models more sustainable.


The EESC proposes to organise a conference on the European charter for sustainable consumption and production given the importance of the subject, this with the involvement of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Brussels, 29 May 2008.

The President

of the European Economic and Social Committee


(1)  Regulation (EC) No 1980/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000, on a revised Community eco-label award scheme.

(2)  Directive 93/42/EEC.

(3)  Directive 67/548/EEC.

(4)  COM(2001) 31 final.

(5)  COM(2003) 302 final and the Green Paper COM(2001) 68 final.

(6)  OJ C 80 of 30.3.2004.

(7)  COM(2002) 412 final of 17.7.2002 and Directive 2004/18/EC of 31 March 2004.

(8)  Directive 2005/32/EEC (OJ L 191 of 22.7.2005). Decision 2000/729/EEC, Decision 2000/730/EC and Decision 2000/731/EC (OJ L 293 of 22.11.2000).

(9)  OJ L 242 of 10.9.2002.

(10)  Report on the Sustainable Development Strategy 2007.

(11)  Cf. footnote 18. In particular:

(12)  ISBN 978-92-9167-932-4- EEA, Copenhagen, 2007.

(13)  Brussels European Council, 14 December 2007.

(14)  COM(2007) 640 final.

(15)  OJ C 108 of 30.04.2004.

(16)  OJ C 175 of 27.07.2007; OJ C 44 of 16.2.2008.

(17)  Directive 2005/29/EC (OJ L 149 of 11.6.2005).

(18)  Such as the United Nations Indicator of Sustainable Development Framework and Methodologies (1996).

(19)  OJ C 48 of 21.2.2002, p. 112; OJ C 117 of 30.4.2004; OJ C 74 of 23.3.2005.

(20)  Since 2006, CENELEC has been developing an on-line database on the environmental aspects built into CENELEC standards.

Since the beginning of 2007, CEN has been working on a training programme on the incorporation of environmental standards within CEN standards.

(21)  COM(2007) 374 final of 4.7.2007.

(22)  OJ C 325 of 30.12.2006.

(23)  There are many European and international instruments that could be used here (FP7, CIP, LIFE, STRUCTURAL FUNDS, EIB, i2i, EUREKA, LEED-OECD, CEB-Council of Europe, etc.) but using them jointly would be problematic owing to divergent methods and procedures, numerous differing schedules and considerable difficulties relating to the ‘simultaneous engineering’ of various types of measure.

(24)  See Opinion of OJ C 120 of 16.5.2008, p. 66; rapporteur: Mr Pezzini.

(25)  Examples include the eco-flower (a European logo in the form of a flower, used throughout Europe, http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm); the Nordic Swan (used mainly in Scandinavia, http://www.svanen.nu/Eng/default.asp); the Blue Angel (specific to Germany, http://blauer-engel.de/englisch/navigation/body_blauer_engel.htm ); and the Fair Flower (native to the Netherlands, http://www.flowercampaign.org ). There are also public labels focusing on specific environmental aspects, such as: the Energy Star, and private labels, including the IFOAM organic labelling system (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm).

(26)  OJ C 74 of 23.3.2005.

(27)  Ibid.

(28)  OJ L 134, 30.4.2004.

(29)  COM(2001) 274 final; OJ C 333 of 28.11.2001.

(30)  Green Public Procurement in Europe 2006 — Conclusions and recommendations. Virage Milieu & Management bv, Korte Spaarne 31, 2011 AJ Haarlem, the Netherlands. http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/gpp.

(31)  Also with reference to the European Platform for Life-Cycle for the environmental performance of products, technologies and services.

(32)  Ethical trade and consumer assurance schemes; rapporteur: Mr Adams; OJ C 28 of 3.2.2006.

(33)  OJ C 120 of 16.5.2008, p. 66; Rapporteur: Mr Pezzini.

(34)  Directive 2005/29/EC (OJ L 149, 11.6.2005).

(35)  See points 22 and 23 of the Interinstitutional agreement on better law-making, OJ C 321 of 31.12.2003.

(36)  In point 3.5 of Opinion the EESC discusses the characteristics used in attempting to define a uniform concept of what ‘representative consumer association’ means (OJ C 185 of 8.8.2006).

(37)  The EESC supports the idea of promoting the engagement of civil society in sustainable development issues. Point 4.2.6 of Opinion OJ C 120 of 16.5.2008, p. 33.

(38)  ERA: European Research Area.