What Is the Blue Angel and Why Is It So Strong?

Ecolabels Explained

The Blue Angel is a German ecolabel awarded to a company that offers or produces its products or services in a particularly environmentally friendly way.

It has been awarded since 1978 and symbolises the high standards of a product or service in connection with the protection of the environment and health.

The criteria

The criteria for the Blue Angel are set by the Federal Environment Office. Based on these criteria, a jury decides whether or not a product is awarded the Blue Angel. The criteria for awarding the Blue Angel are dynamic, i.e. they are constantly adapted and updated to the current environmental situation. In summary, this means that even after receiving the eco-label, a company can “lose” it again because it no longer meets the criteria.

The main focus of the award criteria is on the extent to which climate, soil, water, air and resources are polluted during the production of a product or the execution of a service. The impact should of course be as low as possible and raw materials should be used as sparingly as possible. Comparisons are made between products within a product area.

In the meantime, the product areas are wide ranging. For example, paints, electrical appliances, paper and print products, building products, detergents and cleaning agents and many more can be awarded the Blue Angel, provided that the required criteria are met.

The goals and strengths of the Blue Angel

The aim is to encourage companies to become aware of environmental problems and to ensure that both the production and the disposal of their product are as environmentally friendly as possible.

Sustainability plays an important role here: all the resources that are taken from our environment should also be returned to it in order to be able to maintain the environment’s regenerative capacity. Sustainable, future-oriented thinking and, above all, action are the focus here.

Companies are not required to have their products awarded with the eco-label, this label is voluntary and must be applied for by the companies themselves for their product. It should serve as an incentive for them to be able to label and market their products with such a relevant seal.

The Blue Angel is also intended to make it easier for consumers to decide if they would like to opt for the more environmentally friendly version of a product or service. In this case, it often helps to look at the outer packaging of a product – here you will find the logo (if any) in a strong shade of blue.

The institutions behind the eco-label

The Federal Environment Office sets the criteria for awarding the Blue Angel, and also appoints the members of the jury, which consists of 15 members. The jury decides on the inclusion of new product groups, discusses and decides on the criteria, which are developed by experts from the Federal Environment Office. After a company has applied for the award of the eco-label for its product, compliance with the requirements is checked by RAL gGmbH (Germany). It also concludes user contracts for the Blue Angel with the respective company.

What does this mean for us as a printing company?

We have made it our mission to produce our products as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. For us as a future-oriented company, it is a matter of course not only to educate our employees about our environmental management through internal training and to keep them up to date, but also to communicate our understanding to our customers. For this reason, we always attach great importance to not only being able to offer our customers their products in an exceptionally high quality, but also to familiarise them with the subject of sustainability by offering sustainable recycled paper in a targeted manner and offering them the opportunity to have their products awarded other environmental labels as well, provided that the criteria specified for this are met.

In order for a printing company to receive the eco-label UZ195 edition 2021, not only the paper is tested according to the criteria – all substances, as well as chemicals used during the process, must meet clearly defined criteria. Exceptions are not possible. The testing already starts in the pre-press stage and goes beyond the printing process to the finishing stage – even cleaning supplies or auxiliaries have to meet the requirements.

Like many other printing companies, we are also struggling with the effects of the pandemic. Due to the decline in orders resulting from the pandemic, it is currently difficult for many printing companies to always achieve the previously set targets. However, we are looking to the future with confidence and will continue to focus on making our contribution further on, and continue to work intensively on the issues of “environment”, “health” and “sustainability”.


Jana Fölsch