Ecolabelled electricity

According to International Energy Agency, electricity and heat generation, together with transport, account for over two thirds of the global CO2 emissions. And therefore, an energy transition towards renewable energy is a necessary measure to keep the rise in global temperatures well below 2°C, in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement.

Electricity can be produced from renewable, fossil or nuclear sources but Nordic Ecolabelling considers it important to also take other environmental aspects than the type of energy source into consideration, for instance how the electricity production affects biodiversity, resource efficiency and land use.

There are ecolabelling schemes for electricity based on EU guarantees of origin, including additional requirements to limit the environmental impact and ensure real measures for combating climate change. Nordic Ecolabelling recognizes a few such ecolabelling schemes as a way of reducing the overall environmental impact from electricity. Purchase of renewable electricity (often referred to as Green Electricity) documented with EU guarantees of origin alone, are not actively promoted by the Nordic Ecolabelling due to:

  • There is insufficient evidence that renewable electricity trading with guarantees of origin has a positive environmental effect.
  • Biodiversity, resource efficiency and land use from electricity production are not considered.

How does the Nordic Swan Ecolabel contribute?

Good Environmental Choice (Bra Miljöval) and EKOenergy are recognised as ecolabelling schemes for electricity by the Nordic Ecolabelling. Other ecolabelling schemes will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To be recognized, an ecolabelling scheme for electricity must for example limit the environmental impact adjacent to the power plant, take real action to reduce climate change and follow the principles for a Type 1 ecolabel according to the standard ISO 14024.

In product groups where it is relevant, for example hotels and printing companies, the criteria for the Nordic Swan Ecolabel promote the purchase of ecolabelled electricity by rewarding points. There are no obligatory requirements primarily due to the great variation of supply of ecolabelled electricity between countries, even among the Nordic countries.

Nordic Ecolabelling also sets strict requirements to reduce energy use throughout the lifecycle for products and services and promotes locally produced renewable energy.

More environmental background

Due to the nature of the electricity system, it is not possible to physically trace electricity from one point to another, for example from a power plant to the end user. The EU system for guarantees of origin can only guarantee that the same amount of electricity purchased by the end user, have been produced from a specific source.