The Nordic Swan Ecolabel on packaging for liquid foods


Now you can certify cartons, bottles and cans for beverages with the Nordic region's best-known ecolabel. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel shows that the packaging is made of sustainable raw materials, can be recycled and does not contain problem chemistry.

The Nordic market for beverage packaging is huge. The market research company Grand View Research estimated it to be as much as $ 1,708 million in 2018. Because the scope is so large, it can have a great effect if the packaging is produced in a more environmentally friendly manner. For beverages such as beer and soft drinks, packaging can account for as much as 40 percent of the climate impact.

The plastic bottles and aluminium cans we use today consist of 20 and 40 percent recycled material on average, respectively. These are figures from Norway, but there is no reason to believe that the other Nordic markets are completely different. If the proportion of recycled material in the packaging increases to 80 percent, greenhouse gas emissions would have been cut by 120 000 tonnes of CO2 annually in Norway. This is equivalent to removing 85 000 cars from the roads (“LCA of beverage container production, collection and treatment systems”, report from Østlandsforskning for Infinitum, 2016).

What kind of packaging can be labelled?

It is the primary packaging used for pre-made beverages and liquid foods such as milk, juice, wine, soups and yogurt that can be certified. The content of the packaging is not included in the certification.


Nordic consumers are ready for packaging with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel

The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is well known to consumers in the Nordic countries. With 89 percent knowledge, it is the Nordic region's most well-known ecolabel in a population where many are environmentally conscious (IPSOS 2017).

74 percent in the Nordic countries say they are concerned about what they can do to protect the environment and believe they have a responsibility to choose environmentally friendly products. 76 percent have confidence that products labelled with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel are good environmental choices. There are also good indications that consumers will respond positively to ecolabelled packaging: In a Danish survey more than half the consumers said that it would be good or very good to be able to buy beverages in packaging with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel (YouGov, 405 CAWI-interviews with Danes over the age of 18, who are responsible for household shopping and who know the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, conducted between april 3rd-5th in 2017).

Environmental tools for manufacturers and consumers

The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is the Nordic region's official ecolabel, and was created to provide consumers with credible environmental information and the manufacturers with a recipe for how they can make their products with the least possible environmental impact.

- We now offer manufacturers the opportunity to have the packaging approved by the official ecolabel in the Nordic countries. We hope they go for it. The prize is both reduced environmental impact and a good tool for communicating that their packaging is a good environmental choice, says Ragnar Unge, CEO of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in Sweden.


Delivers on the UN's sustainability goals

The world faces major environmental challenges, and the UN's sustainability goals point out that responsible production and consumption are crucial to solving them. Circular economy is a key concept in this context: using resources over and over in new circuits, instead of extracting new resources from nature. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel's requirements for packaging for liquid foods support these goals. For example, the packaging must be designed for recycling, and the chemicals used in lacquers, adhesives or inks must not obstruct material recycling.

Avoid problem chemistry – and be at the forefront of regulatory requirements

Both the authorities and many consumers are concerned with the use of chemicals and health. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel has, throughout its 30-year history, set very strict requirements for the chemicals a swanlabelled product can contain. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel's requirements are stricter than current regulatory requirements, and exclude substances also on suspicion, based on a precautionary principle.



Logo and guidelines

To avoid misunderstandings that the content is certified, a separate logo has been developed, along with guidelines for how this can be used on the Nordic Swan Ecolabelled packaging. It is not allowed to place the logo on the front of the packaging, among other things. The logo is available in several variants: horizontally, vertically, and both with and without explanatory text, and is available in English and all the Nordic languages.

Packaging for liquid foods with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel:

• Consists of at least 90 percent renewable raw materials of sustainable origin or minimum 80 percent          recycled raw materials

• Meets stringent chemical requirements

• Can be material recycled