African economies are among the most heavily affected by the detrimental effects of climate change such as prolonged drought periods and flooding. Mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its impacts will be vital for the continent. Sustainable production methods are not only a suitable means of adjusting to climate change – in fact, key economic sectors in Africa such as agriculture or forestry also bear a largely untapped potential for greenhouse gas emission savings. At the same time, future success of African products in the world market will decisively depend on meeting the consumers’ rising demand for sustainably produced goods and services. So far, Africa has not been able to benefit from these market opportunities. Eco-labelling is an effective market-based instrument to enhance access for African products to international markets while at the same time fostering sustainable consumption and production patterns. Permitting the selection of products and services according to specific environmental and social criteria, eco-labelling provides businesses with a way of measuring performance and communicating the environmental credentials of products. For consumers, they guide their purchasing decisions by providing information about “the world” behind the products. Governments can use eco-labels to encourage the behavioural change of producers and consumers towards long-term sustainability.
Objectives of EMA
The EMA has established a recognition system for sustainability standards which functions as a quality assurance mechanism. A set of threshold criteria has been defined including ecological, social and climate-relevant requirements as well as credible implementation mechanisms. National and international standards systems fulfilling these requirements will be able to use the EMA label.
Using this recognition system, EMA will encourage standards systems to address climate-relevant issues such as product carbon footprints or carbon offsetting schemes, which have often not yet been tackled adequately by existing standards systems. Furthermore, regional and sectoral up-scaling activities of existing standards in Africa will be facilitated.
The use of one common label awarded on the basis of clear threshold criteria combines high credibility with the value of African brand recognition. This will improve the image of sustainable African products and thereby foster their trading and marketing opportunities. Creating synergies through reduced marketing expenditure and certification costs, EMA will foster the cooperation of different voluntary ecological and social standards. For the consumer, the approach means enhanced transparency while at the same time maintaining the benefits of competition among the standard initiatives.
EMA PILOT PROJECT
Objectives of the Current Pilot Project
The objective of the pilot project is that the EMA has the capacity to promote standardization and conformity assessment procedures and issues Eco-Mark Africa Label (EMA label) to selected products and services.
Expected outcome, outputs and activities of the project
The outcome of the project is that Ecomark Africa is legally represented, competent and creates better marketing opportunities for sustainable products/service and incentives for climate-friendly and climate change adopted production methods.
Output I: Capacities for the certification of sustainability standards in national accreditation/certification bodies and national standards authorities have been increased in at least five countries by 2018.
Activity 1: Development of guidelines for certification under EMA
Activity 2: Organising meetings of key players (Agriculture and Fisheries)
Activity 3: Developing promotional Ecolabel criteria for different products and services
Activity 4: Selection of supportive capacity development measures for accreditation bodies and NSBs
Activity 5: Developing training modules, selection of trainers and training participants
Activity 6: Conducting training on certification requirements for selected sectors in five countries
Output II: Products and/or services are provided with the EMA label
Activity 1: Development of conformity assessment policies and procedures and work instructions
Activity 2: Development of IT platforms needed to control processes
Activity 3: Capacitation of Cleaner Production Centres (CPCs) to identify firms to award Eco-Labels
Activity 4: Identification of at least three products/services to undergo eco-labelling auditing and certification
Activity 5: Benchmark EMA with other existing certification schemes
Participants and beneficiaries
The project is implemented by the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) with the financial support of Germany Government through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The project is piloted in 5 countries selected through a survey sent to all ARSO member states. The countries are Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Cameroon. Other Four countries have been invited to participate in the capacity Building training that is, Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius and Senegal. This make the countries participating in the project to 9
Achievements of EMA Pilot Project
- The ECOMARK is legally represented in ARSO CACO and organizational structure established
- A business plan and EMA marketing strategy is developed
- The Eco Mark Africa trademark has been successfully transferred from GIZ to ARSO and the ownership registered in European Union Intellectual Property Office
- Ecomark Africa is currently represented in all African states, through the mandate of ARSO
- Ecomark Africa trademark label is registered with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- Capacity Building training in the Four sustainability standards covering agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism sectors, is held
Duration of the Current Pilot Project
The project lifespan is 16 Months starting July 2017
Partners of the current Pilot Project
The EMA Pilot project is being supported by funds from by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) through GIZ.