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African Eco-Labelling Mechanism

As of: October 2021

The project established an African eco-label with the aim of improving marketing opportunities for sustainable products and creating incentives to reduce production-related emissions and adapt production methods to climate change. The project was based on preliminary work undertaken by the Marrakech Task Force on Cooperation with Africa. It laid the technical and organisational foundations for a functioning labelling system and putting this system into practice. The project partners established an organisational structure, a benchmarking system against which to assess existing sustainability standards, and a strategy to ensure financial self-sufficiency once the project has ended.

State of implementation/results

  • Project completed.
  • Executive Board, Secretariat at the partner organisation African Regional Organization for Standardization (ARSO), Technical Board and Sector Working Groups have been set up.
  • Four draft standards for the core sectors of the African Ecolabelling Mechanism (AEM) have been developed.
  • Marketing concept, logo and marketing materials for the African eco-label have been developed.
  • The EMA brand, which is registered in the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and registered in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), was successfully transferred to ARSO in 11/2017.
  • The AEM certification processes and systems were developed as part of the ARSO Conformity Assessment Committee Meeting in Rwanda (02/2017) and Namibia (10/2017) and was confirmed by within the framework of the first AEM Advisory Committee meeting in 12/2017.
  • The public was sensitized for eco-labelling in general and the African Ecolabelling Mechanism (AEM) in particular on several meetings and various forums by the Secretary General and senior staff of ARSO (among others in the context of the 4th Transform Africa Summit 2018 from 7 - 10 May 2018 in Kigali Rwanda).
  • Nine national certification organisations in Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Uganda and one private organisation - the African Organisation for Certification (AOC) in South Africa - have expressed their interest in certifying according to EMA criteria.
  • ARSO has developed a sharepoint database for the publication of relevant EMA information. CBs with agreements have access to this information.
  • Four of the five pilot countries (Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda) have adopted the ARSO standards as national standards through publications in law gazettes and national registers.
  • 87 auditors have been trained in the use of the EMA criteria and have applied to be registered as Ecomark-Africa auditors in the ARSO EMA database. AEM has identified nine auditors from the five pilot countries who have participated in training courses as trainers of trainers to prepare for examinations.
  • With the support of the Prime Minister of India, ARSO has partnered with India to train CBs on the Zero Effect Zero Model in India. Checklists and self-assessment criteria have been developed for certification. The training sessions took place in October 2018.

Project data

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania

Implementing organisation:
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Political partner(s):
  • African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)

Implementing partner(s):
  • African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)
  • African Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP)
  • African Union (AU)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) - Kenya

BMU grant:
4.550.473,71 €

12/2009  till  03/2019


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