Printing companies and printed matter 041
The product group includes printing companies and printed matter such as magazines, newspapers, advertising matter brochures, books, envelopes, banners, and packaging.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel focuses on reducing the total environmental and climate impact of the printing company and of the printed matter and promoting a good work environment. E.g. through requirements for printing materials, chemicals, and energy consumption. Requirements that ensure suitability for recycling also helps to reduce consumption of resources and waste volumes, thereby promoting circular economy.
Only Nordic Swan Ecolabelled printing companies can produce Nordic Swan Ecolabelled printed matter.
The requirements for both the printing company and printed matter include:
- Use of sustainable manufactured paper.
- Use of printing materials such as textile, plastic and aluminium/composite board material which meets strict requirements for chemicals used in surface treatment and content of PVC.
- Use of 100% Ecolabelled or inspected printing material and ban on the use of PVC in Nordic Swan Ecolabelled printed matter.
- Limits for energy consumption.
- Environmental and health properties of chemicals used in production of printed matter as well as at external book binders. Among other things, there are strict requirements to substances that are carcinogenic, toxic to reproduction and can damage genetic material, and bans on halogenated organic and fluorinated substances.
- Limits for use of chemicals containing VOC.
- Documentation that inks, tones, adhesives, and varnishes do not create problems in connection with deinking and recycling of printed matter.
The printing criteria consist of three documents; the criteria document below as well as the "Basic Module" and the "Chemical module". Please download these here:
Fees valid from 1 January 2019
Application fee including one on-site inspection within the Nordic region 30 000 SEK excl. VAT Renewal fee 15 000 SEK excl. VAT
Annual licence fee
The basic fee is 14 SEK per tonne bought paper used for production of printed matter to the Nordic market. Quantities exceeding 2 000 tonnes paper per year cost 5 SEK per tonne. This refers to the entire production to the Nordic countries and not only the printed matter that are carrying the Nordic Ecolabel.
Companies with multiple printing houses in the same country may sum the paper consumption from all plants in order to avoid being charged more than one maximum fee. However, the fee per licence can never be smaller than the minimum fee (20 000 SEK).
Minimum fee 20 000 SEK annually excl. VAT Maximum fee 150 000 SEK excl. VAT Fee for extension/alteration of existing licence
The fee is based on how long it takes to handle the matter:
Less than 4 hours: 3 750 SEK excl. VAT
Between 4 and 8 hours: 7 500 SEK excl. VAT
More than 8 hours: 15 000 SEK excl. VAT
Extra fee for additional on-site inspection within the Nordic countries*) 5 000 SEK excl. VAT per visit On-site inspection outside the Nordic region, but within Europe*)
15 000 SEK excl. VAT per visit
*) There is an extra fee of 1 000 EUR per day if the inspection takes more than one day
On-site inspections outside Europe) 25 000 SEK excl. VAT per visit
Information on the latest version of the criteria for printing companies and printed matter
6.0 ⇛ 6.1: Adjustment of requirements
Appedices 1 and 2 have been adjusted with regard to the classification of production chemicals and prohibited substances. The new version is called 6.1.
6.0: New generation of criteria
Nordic Ecolabelling Board decided to adopt a new generation of criteria for Nordic Swan Ecolabelled printing companies and printed matter on the 17 of march 2021. The criteria are valid until 31 December 2026.
5.15 ⇛ 5.16: Prolongation of the validity of the criteria
The validity of the criteria has been extended by 8 months. The new version, 5.16, is valid even though Febryary 28, 2023.
5.14 ⇛ 5.15: Prolongation of the validity of the criteria
The validity of the criteria has been extended by 18 months. The new version, 5.15, is valid even though June 30, 2022.
5.13 ⇛ 5.14: Adjustment of requirements
An exception for plasticizers in latex ink from the requirement for additives of poly- or perfluorinated alkylate compounds in generation 5 has been decided, but not in future generation 6. The new version is called 5.14 and is valid until March 31, 2021.
5.12 ⇛ 5.13: Prolongation of the validity of the criteria and adjustment of requirements
The criteria were extended by 21 months and a number of adjustments were made. These include:
- alternative limit value of the printing company's economic turnover and on packaging pressure in different pressure categories in requirement O1
- exemption for dry paint colors in requirement O5 on chemicals
- exceptions from the minimum points and the energy limit value in requirement O9 for printing with UV colors in sheet offset and printing with wet tones during digital printing
The new version is called 5.13 and is valid until March 31, 2021.
5.11 ⇛ 5.12: Prolongation of the validity of the criteria
The validity of the criteria has been extended by 18 months. The new version, 5.12, is valid even though June 30, 2019.
5.10 ⇛ 5.11: Adjustment of requirements
Icelandic printers heated by geothermal energy do not need to include this in the energy calculations in requirements O9 and P9.
The procedures for managing and maintaining the licence have been updated with respect to the annual report (M6).
The new version, 5.11, is valid even though December 31, 2017
5.9 ⇛ 5.10: Adjustment of requirements
Chemicals for film and printing form production are excluded from the requirement for classification with H373 and / or H411. The new version, 5.10, is valid even though December 31, 2017
5.8 ⇛ 5.9: Adjustment of requirements
Adjustments have been introduced in the requirement for paper (P1) and in the requirement for chemicals (O5). In the requirement of paper. P1, the total paper points achieved can be weighted by a factor of 1.5. In the requirement for chemicals, O5, the exception for cobalt complex paints in foils for foil printing has been made permanent. The new version, 5.9, is valid even though December 31, 2017
5.7 ⇛ 5.8: Adjustment of requirements
It has been decided that packaging offset should be included as part of the sheet offset. A formula for calculating minimum points for the purchase price has also been introduced. The packaging offset must not exceed 50% by weight of the printing house's total sheet production. The new version, 5.8, is valid until December 31, 2017.
5.6 ⇛ 5.7: Adjustment of requirements
A change in the requirement for chemicals O5 has been carried out - until December 31, 2015, cobalt complex paints in foils for foil printing and UV ink in the inkjet machines are exempted. The new version, 5.7, is valid until December 31, 2017.
5.5 ⇛ 5.6: Adjustment of requirements
A change in the requirement for chemicals O5 has been implemented. This means that cobalt compounds used as siccatives in overpressure varnish are exempted from the requirement. At the same time, requirements M8 on marketing was removed. The new version, 5.6, is valid until December 31, 2017.
5.4 ⇛ 5.5: Adjustment of requirements
- O1: The calculation method for certain printing methods has been clarified and the possibility that the Nordic Ecolabel marks a printing company where turnover on products other than paper products exceeds 25% has also been adjusted.
- Paper requirements, P8: The score for paper selection can be weighted by a factor of 1.75 to 31 December 2015.
- O5: The lower limit for product chemicals has been reduced from 99% to 95%. Inks, tones and inks have been made into a category.
- VOC P8: The calculation method has been clarified.
The new version, 5.5, is valid until December 31, 2017.
5.3 ⇛ 5.4: Adjustment of requirements
- O5: An adjustment of the requirement for chemicals has been made. Ink (for large format and UV ink) is exempted from the requirement with certain conditions. The ink that is exempt may not be included in Nordic Ecolabelled printed matter.
- R43 & R52 / 53: Chemicals for film and printing form production were also excluded from the classification requirement.
The new version 5.4 is valid until December 31, 2017.
5.2 ⇛ 5.3: Adjustment of requirements
Nordic Ecolabelled / checked paper / paper envelopes approved according to the old criteria (printing paper version 3, envelope version 4) can be used as long as these criteria are valid. EU Ecolabel-labeled paper (as raw material for Nordic Ecolabelled printed matter) can be used with the same validity period as Nordic Ecolabelled / controlled paper, version 3.
In order to use the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in your marketing, you must have a valid Nordic Swan Ecolabel licence. Please log in to The Nordic Ecolabelling Portal to apply for a licence. You are free to use the Nordic Swan Ecolabel in all of your marketing from the date of approval until your licence expires.
Go to The Nordic Ecolabelling Portal and start your application process! If this is the first time you apply, please contact email@example.com to receive login information for the Portal.
Start by going through the requirements and fees that apply to your specific product group. These can be found above.
In some cases, you must use our separate application form. For example, the form must be used in cases where the producer and licensee are two separate companies, or if you wish to cancel a licence. Please contact your advisor in these cases, or if you are unsure what applies to you. The form to be used in these special cases can be downloaded here.
For more details on the application process, please head to our application guide: "Application step by step".
Good luck with your application!