The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is the first national certification scheme in Europe to be recognised by the European Commission. The recognition verifies that the scheme holds the standard and quality on a par with international eco-labelling schemes (EMAS and ISO 14001).
After a lengthy assessment, the decision to recognise the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation pursuant to Article 45 of Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 was adopted by the European Commission on 6 December 2017. During the process the Commission has shown great interest in the effective and digital solutions offered by the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation to make it easier for enterprises to take environmental responsibility.
What does this recognition mean for Norwegian enterprises internationally?
The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is a national environmental management scheme, which means that Norwegian enterprises may not certify any international subsidiaries they may have. When public contracting authorities in other European countries conduct tender competitions that set requirements for EMAS or other environmental management systems, Norwegian enterprises can submit Eco-Lighthouse Foundation certification as documentation. It is recommended that a copy of the certificate (which can be generated in English) and the recognition document be submitted with bids. International enterprises with subsidiaries or branches in Norway may also seek Eco-Lighthouse Foundation certification.
- The recognition document is available in all EU official languages here.
- The recognition document in Norwegian is available here.
The importance of recognition in connection with purchases and procurements
Section 16-7 (2) of the Regulation for public procurements states that the contracting authority may request submission of certificates issued by independent bodies as documentary evidence that the supplier complies with certain environmental management systems or standards. The contracting authority shall in such cases refer to EMAS, “other recognised environmental management systems in Regulation (EC) no. 1221/2009 article 45” or other environmental management systems based on relevant European or international standards from accredited bodies.
The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is deemed a recognised environmental management system in Regulation (EC) no. 1221/2009 article 45, and the contracting authority may therefore require suppliers participating in the competition to hold certification under the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation scheme. Similarly, the contracting authority shall accept suppliers certified under the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation scheme as participants in the competition.
It follows from section 16-7 (2) of the Regulation that “the Contracting Authority shall accept equivalent certificates issued by bodies in other EEA Member States”. This means that, for example, if a requirement for Eco-Lighthouse Foundation certification is set, a supplier with EMAS may submit it as documentary evidence that the requirement is met. It may also be documented by certificates from other environmental management systems that are recognised pursuant to Regulation (EC) no. 1221/2009 article 45 in other countries.
- Do you need a copy of your Eco-Lighthouse Foundation certificate in English? Contact us by e-mail.
- A brief description of the recognition in connection with purchases and procurements can be downloaded here (PDF-document). This document should be submitted with bids.
The story behind the application
The application for recognition of the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation was initiated as a result of the EU’s procurement directive, Directive 2014/24/EU. The directive was implemented by the Regulation for public procurements, which entered into force on 1 January 2017. Section 16-7 (2) of the Regulation is based on Article 62 of Directive 014/24/EU.
The application for recognition was addressed to the European Commission by the Norwegian Environment Agency on behalf of Norway. The application was processed by the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment, assessed by the EMAS Committee and then approved and adopted for implementation by the European Commission.
Want to know more?
- Read our analysis: Eco-Lighthouse vs ISO 14001
- Read this student paper about the process: Scaling fortress Europe: How did the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation achieve EU recognition?
What is the recognition based on?
It is important to note that the assessment was conducted based on a comparison of similarities between the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation scheme and EMAS and on how the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation scheme could correspond to EMAS if desired. This follows from the intention in Article 45 of Regulation (EC) no. 1221/2009. The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation scheme was compared with EMAS and found satisfactory. Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/2286 was adopted by the European Commission on 6 December 2017 and applies to all Member States.