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T h e Nordic Swan 2015 – Performance indicators for ecolabelling

  • Åke Thidell
  • Charlotte Leire
  • Thomas Lindhqvist
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Publication/Series: TemaNord
Volume: 2015:529
Document type: Report
Publisher: Nordiska ministerrådet

Abstract english

The Nordic Swan is a voluntary environmental and consumer policy

instrument that was launched in the Nordic countries in 1989. Ever

since, the scheme has grown with increasing numbers of product groups

and licence holders. Similarly, the number of ecolabelled products in the

market place has also grown, resulting in a growing financial turnover.

The Nordic Swan has furthermore also been joined by additional parallel

ecolabelling schemes.

Just like other policy instruments, the Nordic Swan is subject to evaluations. As of yet, the scheme has been evaluated three times and questions

regarding quantitative information on performance and efficiency of the

Nordic scheme and comparability with other schemes have been recurrent issues in connection to these evaluations. Beside policy-makers and

people in charge of the scheme, market actors are also interested in the

question, to decide to what extent they should consider the ecolabel when

acting on the market. These market actors could be consumers who seek

for guidance, producers in need for trustworthy market communication

channels, consumer and environmental NGOs needing to know if they

should promote the ecolabel among their members, etc.

These and other reasons call for appropriate information systems

that bring forward the requested information in, for instance, suitable

systematically selected and standardised indicators. Such indicators

could be used for various purposes, for example documenting trends in

performance and efficiency of the scheme, making comparisons of different schemes, benchmarking studies for mutual learning and continual

improvements, to name a few.

We propose that the Nordic Swan scheme prioritises developing indicators to track changes in internal performance and efficiency. Pilot

studies could be developed on comparisons of differences between the

national competent bodies of the Nordic Swan, as well as the EU Ecolabel. Pushing joint development of indicator sets for comparisons as

collaborative projects with other schemes, for instance the EU Ecolabel,

is on one hand desirable but can also become time-consuming. We therefore suggest that such projects are given lower priority


  • Environmental Management


  • ISBN: 978-92-893-4070-0
Thomas Lindhqvist
E-mail: thomas [dot] lindhqvist [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10