Interview with Kęstutis Sadauskas, Director Director for Circular Economy and Green Growth at the European Commission (DG ENV)
About the EU ecolabel: established in 1992 and recognised across Europe and worldwide, the EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction to production, distribution and disposal. The EU Ecolabel promotes the circular economy by encouraging producers to generate less waste and CO2 during the manufacturing process. The EU Ecolabel criteria also encourage companies to develop products that are durable, easy to repair and recycle. The EU Ecolabel criteria provide exigent guidelines for companies looking to lower their environmental impact and guarantee the efficiency of their environmental actions through third party controls. Furthermore, many companies turn to the EU Ecolabel criteria for guidance on eco-friendly best practices when developing their product lines. We asked Mr. Kęstutis Sadauskas, Director for Circular Economy and Green Growth at the European Commission (DG ENV) to share with HOTREC his views on this relevant initiative.
1. What do you think the main advantages of having an EU ecolabel would be for hospitality businesses?
The EU Ecolabel is a key instrument for hotels and campsites to engage in a sustainable recovery. It is a trustworthy label that allows eco-friendly and high-quality alternatives to conventional accommodation to be offered. Not only because quality and environment matter to tourists and business travellers but also because environmental excellence means cost savings, in terms of energy, water, waste. There are therefore economic benefits for companies as well as environmental benefits for consumers.
2. Could you explain to our readers what criteria companies must meet to receive the EU Ecolabel? As you know, over 90% of hospitality businesses in Europe are SMEs and micro-enterprises. Do you think it is feasible for these smaller companies as well to accomplish these criteria?
The majority of EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations are indeed small enterprises! This is thanks to the flexibility of the EU Ecolabel criteria that include both mandatory requirements and optional ones with a points system. They require an optimised environmental and waste management, a reduction of CO2 emissions, energy and water consumption, chemicals and pesticides, as well as waste generation (including food waste).
3. HOTREC fully supports both the EU Ecolabel and the Green Key Ecolabel – two robust and well-known labels that are very relevant for companies in our industry. Is the European Commission planning to cooperate with the Green Key Ecolabel in the future? If so, how do you envisage such cooperation?
Indeed, reliable ecolabels can complement each other’s efforts towards relevant market players for their better engagement in promoting green accommodation and in raising consumers and customers’ awareness. Strength in unity!