E-commerce logistics 111
To offer Nordic consumers a more sustainable and credible delivery option for their online purchases, the Nordic Swan Ecolabel has developed criteria for e-commerce logistics. This includes a focus on climate impact, energy efficiency and working conditions.
The requirements cover both line-haul and last mile, i.e. both the long-distance transports from the terminal/depot and deliveries to parcel agents, parcel boxes or home delivery. The system boundary is from the e-retailer's warehouse and to the consumer.
Companies that can be license holders are transport companies transporting e-commerce goods, for example:
- Freight forwarders
- Post and morning newspaper distributors
- Tech companies
The requirements include:
- Limits for energy use in the transport network.
- Strict requirements for climate performance.
- A certain level of electric, hydrogen and biogas vehicles in the existing vehicle fleet - and increase of the proportion by new purchases.
- Incrementally increased use of renewable energy in the entire transport network.
- Ban on palm oil or its by-products (PFAD).
- Working conditions in line with national labour law standards.
- Volume-based pricing between retailer and transporter.
- More time to optimize the logistics system by limiting same-day deliveries.
The FAQ further down on this page gives more detailed information.
- Start your application process by reading the criteria document and find out if your product can obtain the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
- Read your Application Guide.
- Request login credentials.
- Now you are ready to enter the Nordic Ecolabelling Portal.
Should you wish to transfer your licence, please use this form.
Fees valid from 1 January 2023
Application for a new licence
3 114 EUR, but at least 1 557 EUR per product/brand.
Application for licence renewal when the requirements have been tightened
1 557 EUR, but at least 779 EUR per product/brand.
The licence fee for the Nordic Ecolabelled product is based on their turnover in each Nordic country and brand.
The fee is 0,15% of the products' turnover in the Nordic countires up to EUR 30 million.
The fee is 0,03% of the products' turnover in the Nordic countries from 30 million EUR to 125 million EUR.
The fee is 0,01% of the products' turnover in the Nordic countries that exceeds 125 million EUR.
Minimum fee 2 076 EUR per year.
Fee for extension/change of licence
Fixed fee according to how long the work takes.
Up to 4 hours 389 EUR 4–8 hours 778 EUR 8 or more hours 1 557 EUR
Extension with new product/brand
1 557 EUR
Fee for control visit
One inspection visit within the Nordic countries is included when applying for a new or renewed licence.
Additional fee for extra control visits within the Nordic countries 519 EUR per visit. Additional fee for extra control outside the Nordic countries but whithin Europe 1 557 EUR per visit. Control visist outside Europe 2 595 EUR per visit. Additional charge for visits lasting longer than one day 1 038 EUR per day. Fee outside the Nordic countries
The fee is 0,15% of the products' turnover up to 30 million EUR.
The fee is 0,03% of the products' turnover from 30 million EUR to 125 million EUR.
The fee is 0,01% of the products' turnover that exceeds 125 million EUR.
1.0 ⇛ 1.1 Adjustment of criteria
Several adjustments have been made:
- Requirement O3 and O4: the least hired subcontractors, which in total amount to a maximum of 20% of the cost of all purchased transports may be exempted from the requirement O4, and from point c, d and e in requirement O3.
- Requirement O9: a limit was introduced which means that 95% (instead of 100%) of the biodiesel volume must be documented free of feedstocks with a high iLUC risk
- Requirement O10: The requirement for follow-up of subcontractors was harmonized with requirement O13
- Requirement O15: the license holder's requirements on subcontractors only apply to points 3, 4 and 5 (not points 1 and 2).
The new version is called 1.1 and valid until 31 march 2027.
1.0: New product group
Nordic Ecolabelling adopted version 1.0 of the criteria for 111 E-commerce logistics on 7 March 2023.
The criteria is valid until 31 March 2027.
In the background document below you will find reasoning and facts behind the specific requirements in the criteria document.
Here you can also read the comments, requirement for requirement, from the public hearing.
If the documents are in a Nordic language, you can get help in understanding the sections you need by contacting the product specialist in your chosen country below.
F&A about E-commerce logistics
Online shopping has grown strongly in the last decade. When we choose delivery option, we as private individuals have become transport selectors. The climate issue is an extremely important issue, as are energy efficiency, fuel and the electrification of vehicles. Another important sustainability issue is employment conditions and working conditions for the drivers who carry out the transports. In addition, there are unclear and unverified environmental claims for e-commerce deliveries in the checkout.
These are the most important reasons why Nordic Ecolabelling has developed criteria for a completely new area, e-commerce logistics. The goal is to guide online shopping consumers in the Nordics to a credible and more sustainable delivery option through the Nordics' official environmental label, the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
The consumer shopping online must be able to choose a Nordic Swan Ecolabel delivery option in the shipping selector/checkout. Nordic Swan Ecolabel e-commerce transport covers the transport of the e-sold package from the e-retailer's last warehouse all the way to the consumer, i.e., both the long-distance transports (line haul) and the last mile transports. The parcel can be delivered to a parcel agent, parcel box or be a home delivery. See illustration below.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is a Type 1 environmental label, which means life-cycle-based requirements with a comprehensive approach to both climate, energy efficiency and social conditions for drivers. A total of 20 requirements are placed on the network of e-commerce transports in mainly the following two areas:
- Climate and efficiency requirements with a focus on:
- High proportion of electrified transport or transport carried out with renewable fuels.
- Energy efficiency in the transport network.
- Climate impact that must be improved during the validity period of the criteria.
- That renewable fuels must not be produced from unsustainable raw materials.
- Long-term sustainable vehicle fleet.
- Social requirements for:
- Employment conditions in line with collective agreements or conditions on a level with this.
- Preventive road safety work.
The requirements are checked by Nordic Ecolabelling, which works independently of industry and financial interests. The requirements are successively tightened and are always tougher than existing rules and laws.
In that the Nordic Swan Ecolabel delivery service has shown that it meets the requirements of:
- Reduced climate impact, which must also be improved over time and that fossil-free home deliveries are stimulated.
- Only applies to Norway, Sweden and Denmark: Gradually increasing levels of renewable fuel. At the same time, the renewable fuels must not contain palm oil or PFAD.
- Reduced energy use in the transport network.
- A good level of the existing vehicle fleet and the long-term sustainable vehicles such as electric, hydrogen and biogas vehicles are chosen for new purchases.
- Applies only to Finland: Tougher requirements for vehicle fleets and requirements for High-Capacity Transport.
- Promotes employment contracts in line with collective agreements or similar.
- More time to optimize the logistics system by limiting same-day deliveries.
- Financial incentives to streamline the volume of packaging through agreements on so-called "freight carrying weight" between e-retailers and carriers.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel demands safe and good working conditions by offering drivers a collective agreement. Or that salary, holidays, working hours and insurance including contractual pension are at least at the level of collective agreements. The criteria also contain requirements for preventive road safety work. In addition, there are extensive requirements for preventive work against crime in working life within the completely unregulated van sector in Norway.
- Local and regional home deliveries which are only last mile transports from, for example, deliveries from grocery stores or restaurants.
- The incoming transports to the e-tailer's warehouse (in-bound transportation) because the licensee has no control over these.
- Door-to-door services or dedicated courier deliveries.
- Private trips to pick up the e-commerce product from an agent or in a parcel box.
The ecolabel will be clearly visible in the check-out as follows:
"Nordic Swan Ecolabel delivery" together with the ecolabel/logo.
The ecolabel with associated text must be positioned so that it is clearly understood that it is the delivery option that is ecolabelled and not the entire transport / logistics company, nor the e-commerce company or the product itself.
The consumer will receive more information in e-mails or text messages that the transport company sends after the purchase has been completed.
The transport and logistics companies that offer transport services (freight or delivery) aimed at consumers in the checkouts of e-commerce companies can apply to become licensees. If they meet the requirements in the criteria document, they can offer Nordic Swan Ecolabel e-commerce delivery to the e-commerce companies and, by extension, to the end consumer.
No. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel covers the entire national network of e-commerce transportation of one operator. An actor does not have to cover the entire country to become a licensee, it is enough to have a coverage rate of at least 50% of that country's inhabitants, but an actor's network / system cannot be divided into smaller pieces that are ecolabelled.
Another important principle is that a licensee must be responsible for both long-distance (line-haul transport) and delivery to the customer (last mile transport).
Yes, there is a connection between Fair Transport Sweden, which is the freight industry's sustainability certification, and Good Environmental Choice, which exists in Sweden and covers local freight transport. To make it easier and create less administration for the transport and logistics company, there is a harmonization between the certification systems.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to make effective demands on returns when the labelling covers your transport network. The number of returns is mainly influenced by our buying behaviours. Also the e-commerce companies can do a lot to reduce unnecessary returns, such as charging for return transport, having clear size specifications and shutting down the few consumers who systematically abuse the right to return. Many e-commerce companies in the Nordics work actively in this area.
E-commerce differs from retail because goods are often transported directly from the warehouse to the end consumer and not via a store. This means that the consumer not only receives the packaging around the product itself, but also the transport packaging (secondary packaging), which in turn increases resource use and waste quantities. Effective packaging of an e-sold item is an important prerequisite for an overall good level of filling in the cars. But it is the e-commerce company that decides on the packaging and that packs before transport. One of the requirements for the Nordic Swan Ecolabel create financial incentives for e-commerce to make the packaging more efficient and reduce the amount of air in the transport packaging.
Renewable fuels (biofuels) reduce the climate impact compared to fossil fuels. Renewable raw materials in fuel can have a negative impact on climate, biological diversity and soil conditions in the countries where the raw material is produced. At the same time, they can be based on residual products and have a very low climate impact. From a life cycle perspective, they can therefore be both really good but also really bad. For the actual climate benefit to become real and for biofuel production not to compete with food and feed cultivation, there are minimum requirements for climate performance in the European Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).
In the Renewable Energy Directive, ambitious requirements have been introduced which will gradually phase out raw materials with so-called high ILUC risk (ILUC = Indirect Land Use Change). In the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, these raw materials are already prohibited. Currently, the EU only assesses primary palm oil as a raw material with a high ILUC risk. PFAD, a by-product from palm oil production, is handled in slightly different ways in the legislation of the different Nordic countries. In these criteria for e-commerce logistics, the Nordic Ecolabel harmonize with national classifications of PFAD. For Sweden, Denmark and Norway this means that PFAD is classified as a raw material with high risk of ILUC but not in Finland. Hence, the criteria prohibit primary palm oil and PFAD in Sweden, Denmark and Norway (95 %). In Finland primary palm oil is prohibited. This is compensated by more ambitious requirements for Finland in other parts of the criteria.
It is not possible to set the requirement for sustainable raw materials in renewable fuels as strict in Finland as in other Nordic countries because, unlike other countries in the EU, they still classify PFAD as a residual product (and not a by-/co-product). There is also no mass balance system established on the Finnish market. For Nordic Swan Ecolabel e-commerce transport not to lead to an increased demand for PFAD in Finland, other requirements partly apply. The requirement for a share of renewable energy does not apply at all to Finnish companies. This is compensated by the fact that the requirements for vehicle fleets, new investments in vehicles and home deliveries have been adapted to be extra driving for performer in Finland.
To consume sustainably, everyone should ask themselves before a purchase decision: Can I repair what I already have? Do I need to buy a new one? If the answer is "yes", choose ecolabelled for reduced impact on the environment. And now there is also the opportunity to choose an ecolabelled delivery option when Nordic consumers shop online.