What is Hong Kong Green Label Scheme?
The Hong Kong Green Label Scheme (HKGLS) is an independent, non-profit-making and voluntary scheme for the certification of environmentally preferable products launched in December 2000 by Green Council (GC). The scheme sets environmental standards and awards its "Green Label" to products that are qualified regarding their environment attributes and/or performance. As with all ecolabelling schemes, the aim is to encourage manufacturers to supply products with good environmental performance and provide a convenient means for consumers to recognise products that are more environmentally responsible, thus promoting a more sustainable pattern of consumption.
In establishing the standards, HKGLS draws from relevant international standards and is benchmarked with well-developed ecolabels to ensure credibility of the standards. An Advisory Committee, composed of members from the academia, industrial and commercial associations and environmental groups, oversees the policy and operation of the HKGLS.
As with the majority of ecolabelling programs, HKGLS is an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14024 Type 1 label, which involves a third-party certification requiring considerations of life cycle impacts. Some of the key criteria contained in these standards also require compliance with applicable legislation.
Benefits of Green Label for Business
For consumers, the benefits of a credible and independent green label/ecolabel is that it can easily identify and distinguish products which have been developed and produced with the intent of being less negatively environmentally impacting, whilst manufacturers, distributors, and marketers acquire the financial benefits of dealing in and producing such environmentally preferable products, as indicated below:
(a) Effective Marketing Tool: A green label demonstrates a product's superior environmental performance and its supplier’s commitment to protect the environment. This improves corporate image, brand recognition and reputation for high product quality;
(b) A Sensible Cost Savings Move: Manufacturers' commitment to improve environmental performance in manufacturing processes generally leads to significant cost savings associated with effective resource use, waste minimization and recycling, and reduced business liability;
Besides financial benefits, a green label demonstrates suppliers' long-term commitment to improve environmental performance. In a broader sense, it is a positive move towards sustainable development.
The GC has become a member of the Global Eco-labelling Network(GEN) since June 2001. The GEN was founded in 1994, is a non-profit association of third-party, environmental performance labelling organizations with aims to improve, promote, and develop the "ecolabelling" of products and services. More specifically, it improves and promotes the credibility of ecolabelling programs worldwide, and the availability of information regarding ecolabelling standards from around the world. It fosters co-operation, information exchange and harmonization among its members, associates, and other ecolabelling programs with regard to ecolabelling. In addition, GEN represents the interests of eco-labelling in various international forums, and provides information and technical assistance to developing programs.
Eligibility for HKGLS Application
HKGLS is open to application by local and overseas businesses and industries. The prerequisites of application are:
(a) The label is applicable only to product categories promulgated by HKGLS;
(b) The applicant must be a legal entity (e.g., a legally registered company, sole proprietorship or individual);
(c) The product in application has to satisfy the relevant product environmental criteria set by HKGLS and, if applicable, other statutory performance criteria; and
(d) The product in application has to satisfy the requisite quality and safety requirements set forth in the ordinances concerned.
Application Procedure for HKGLS
To apply or renew the HKGLS label, please submit the following documents to GC.
(a) Application Form including Cheque Payment of HKD8,000 Application Fee or HKD3,800 Renewal Fee
(b) Business Registry and Factory's Legal Status Document
(c) Testing Reports issued from Accredited Laboratory, and appropriate Declarations (within 3 years) to show the products comply with ALL requirements in the Product Criteria and the General Packaging Materials
(d) Product's Production Flow Chart
(e) Letter or Documents from the Authority demonstrate that the Factory doesn't violate any Environmental Laws or ISO14001 Certificate or Environmental Impact Assessment Report of the Factory
(f) Product’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
(g) Product Catalogue
(h) Supporting Documents (e.g. Product Samples, Photos, Other Certificates, etc.)
Analytical testing to fulfill HKGLS requirements shall be performed by laboratories that meet the requirement laid out in the EN45001 standard or any equivalent systems (e.g., HOKLAS, ISO-IEC Guide 25), or ISO/IEC/EN 17025 which replaces ISO-IEC Guide 25 and EN45001. The Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS) is an accreditation scheme operated by Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS) of the Innovation and Technology Commission. Its internet directory provides the most up-to-date scopes of accreditation of HOKLAS accredited laboratories.
To find a laboratory accredited for a particular type of test, click on the required Test Category (e.g. Environmental Testing) in the list. A list of available tests under that Test Category will show up. The laboratories accredited for each of these tests will be shown in the column next to the test description. Click on the registration number to display its scope of accreditation.
Tests can also be performed by laboratories outside of Hong Kong because HOKLAS has concluded mutual recognition agreements/arrangements (MRA) with overseas laboratory accreditation bodies. For details, please click here. You can access the website of HOKLAS's MRA partner by clicking upon the name of the organisation.
Please note that tests contained in Laboratory Reports submitted by the applicant under the requirement of HKGLS have to be performed within 3 years from the date of application. The applicants may be required to re-perform all of the test(s) if the laboratory reports have expired and/or there are significant revisions to the HKGLS product criteria.
Product Assessment and Approval
Upon receipt of an application with associated supporting documents, GC will conduct a product assessment based on the pre-defined product environmental criteria for the product category concerned. The environmental features of the product as claimed will be verified. The assessment consists primarily of a detailed review of the supporting documents, and where necessary, staff interviews and site visits. The assessors may also collect information on the manufacturing process directly from the manufacturers.
In the course of product assessment, GC may, when necessary, invite experts, scholars and other relevant professionals and/or organisation representatives to assist in the product assessment, and provide professional judgement and technical recommendations as appropriate. In some circumstances where analytical testing is necessary for product assessment purpose, the applicant will need to provide the testing reports or will be referred to qualified testing laboratories for the requisite analyses.
After the product assessment, GC will recommend to approve or disapprove the application. The Advisory Committee will be consulted prior to endorsement of the recommendation. Whenever deemed necessary, GC or the Advisory Committee may invite representatives from the applicant organisation and/or other relevant parties for further discussion/clarification. Under normal circumstances, applicants will be notified of application results within two months upon receipt of all necessary information from the applicant.
In case the submitted documents are found to be insufficient, GC will notify the applicant to make up and/or re-submit the required documents within one month. Should the applicant fail to do so, the application will be disapproved.
HKGLS Label Approval and Validity
For an approved application, GC will sign a licensing contract with the applicant, giving the latter permission to use the HKGLS label. The contract will contain details of:
(a) the licensee;
(b) the product that complies with the environmental criteria and is approved to bear the HKGLS label;
(c) the validity period; and
(d) confirmation that the applicant is bound by and will adhere to the Regulations and any specific terms and conditions governing the licensee's display and use of the HKGLS label.
On signing the contract by the licensee, GC will issue a certificate on the right to use the HKGLS label. The certificate is normally valid for three years. The licensee may apply for renewal at least 3 months before expiry of the licence.
During the licence validity period, GC or authorised agent may from time to time carry out sample checks and/or site visits without prior notice to the licensee. This aims to ensure that the relevant product environmental criteria and licensing conditions have been observed at all times. In the event that the licensee is found to have failed to comply with the criteria/conditions, GC will demand proper rectification work to be completed within a specified time frame. Should the licensee be unable to rectify the situation, the licensing contract will be terminated and the certificate will be revoked.
Modification of Existing Products
When an existing product is modified after obtaining the HKGLS Label, the applicant will notify GC in respect of the modification and a new application may be required depending upon the type and extent of modification being made.
Application Flow Chart
Click to enlarge
HKGLS is a self-financed voluntary scheme and the operation costs are principally recovered from the following 3 parts:
Application Fee or Renewal Fee
1. Application Fee / Renewal Fee
Evaluation Fee or On-site Audit Fee
Licence Fee for 3 Years
An Application Fee
per product criteria which initiates the Product certification and licensing processes and covers the Product certification and license expenses for the first three years.
A Renewal Fee
per product criteria which is payable upon each renewal of the licence for a three year period.
1. The Application Fee/ Renewal Fee is non-returnable and must be sent with the application.
2. A new application may be required for significant modifications in product characteristics.
2. Evaluation Fee / On-site Audit Fee
A) An Evaluation Fee
1. This fee relates to administrative and professional costs associated with document review, product checks and reporting.
2. This fee will be charged upon award of the Green Label.
3. An administrative expense of HKD4,000 will be applicable for any unsuccessful application.
B) For the following product criteria, where on-site factory audit is required, the On-site Audit Fee (HKD8,000 per personday) will be charged instead of the Evaluation Fee. It is calculated by the number of persondays. The number of persondays is calculated based upon the size of the premise, complexity of the production process, number of staff and location. Travelling time of the auditor(s) to and from the factory will be included in the total number of persondays. Please contact Green Council for accurate audit cost estimates.
HKGLS Code No.
GL-001-002 Paper Envelope
GL-001-004 Paper Folder
GL-001-005 Toilet Paper
GL-001-006 Paper Towel
GL-002-001 Plastic Folder
GL-002-002 PVC Pipe and Fitting
GL-002-003 Plastic Bags for Non-food Products
GL-002-004 Plastic Products for Office Use
GL-002-005 Non-clothing Products Using Recycled Plastics
GL-005-002 Ink and Toner Cartridges
GL-005-007 Textile Product Using Recycled Materials
GL-005-008 Printing Paper
GL-005-009 Consumer Paper Packaging
GL-008-001 Building Material Made of Fly Ash
GL-008-002 Flooring Materials (only applicable for flooring materials made of recycled materials)
GL-008-003 Wall Coverings
GL-008-005 Carpeting Modular
GL-008-009 Building Products Using Recycled Materials
GL-008-011 Building Products Using Natural Minerals
1. If an applicant can provide third party inspection reports from an accredited inspection/ certification body, the on-site audit may be exempted with approval from the HKGLS Advisory Committee. In such circumstances, the Evaluation Fee will be charged.
2. An applicant is required to pay all on-site audit direct costs involved, such as those related to accommodation, meals, transportation, communications and other related expenses.
3. The applicant is required to pay the on-site audit fee 14 days before the audit date.
3. Licence Fee
A Licence Fee for 3 year of HKD6,000 per product awarded the Green Label.
1. This fee covers all expenses related to the administration of the scheme, monitoring of compliance, development of new product categories and promotion of the use of Green Label.
2. This fee will be charged upon award of the Green Label.
3. The above fee does not include other extra fees (e.g. postage of certificate, etc). The Applicant shall be responsible for settling the above expenses.
4. Other Notes
1. The above fee does not include bank charges and other extra fees (e.g. fees on remittance, postage, transportation, etc). The Applicant shall be responsible for settling the above expenses.
2. The above fee does not cover testing reports submitted by the applicant under the requirement of HKGLS.
3. An administration fee of HKD1,000 per certificate will be collected for amendments to existing certificate.
The HKGLS's fee for first application of a single product, which does not require on-site audit
|First 3 years
|Licence Fee for 3 years
|Renewal (after 3 years)
|Licence Fee for 3 years
* The above fees do not include testing reports submitted by the applicant under the requirement of HKGLS.
Click to download
The HKGLS is supported by the HKGLS Advisory Committee which consists of academic, industry, commerce, environmental and scientific members. The Committee is entrusted with the task of providing comments and reviews on the operating procedures, the development and implementation of the eco-labelling standards and gives direction and advice to the program.
The HKGLS advisory committee (2015-2020) is honored to have the following members in their respective areas of expertise:
Ir Raymond C.L. FONG (Hong Kong Productivity Council, Environmental Management Division)
Dr. Y. S. FUNG (The University of Hong Kong)
Mr. K. M. GABUJI (Gabuji Laboratory Technical Services Ltd.)
Prof. K. C. HO (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Mr. John K. M. HO (Fugro Technical Services Ltd.)
Ir T. Y. IP (The Hong Kong Institution of Engineering, Environmental Division)
Mr. Lawrence C.B. LAM (The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce)
Prof. Stephen W.K. NG (The Institute of Purchasing & Supply of Hong Kong)
Dr. Joseph F. WONG (The City University of Hong Kong)
Mr. Luther L.T. WONG, JP (The Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Environmental Industries)
Prof. Jimmy C. M. YU (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
A global day to celebrate ecolabel products and services that protect you and the planet.
First Annual Event: 25 October, 2018
More than 50 countries around the world will be celebrating World Ecolabel Day this October. It’s a day to focus on ecolabel products and services that are proven to be environmentally preferable and performance tested, so you are ensured the best products for your health and the health of the planet.
Consumers, companies, and communities worldwide will celebrate this first-ever event by discovering the ecolabels available in their own countries, buying and using third-party certified products and services, and sharing the good news with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Ecolabel A to Z
Q1: What is greenwash？
Greenwash describes marketing terms that "paint over" a product with an apparent environmental benefit that is vague, irrelevant, unproven or simply false. It is the opposite of an ecolabel which is awarded only when based on scientific evidence and validated by an independent, qualified third party across multiple criteria.
Q2: What is a Type 1 ecolabel？
There are three major types of environmental labeling schemes per the International Standardisation Organization (Type I, Type II, Type III), but a Type I is the most stringent because it tests the product on not one, but multiple criteria to make sure that it is the best at protecting your health and health of the planet. A Type I ecolabel also means that the product has been tested by an independent third-party.
Q3: Can I really trust that an ecolabel product is the best for the environment？
All Type I ecolabels have been independently tested by a third-party which means companies aren’t allowed to self-declare that their products reduce environmental impact. Products must get sent out to impartial laboratories to undergo rigorous scientific testing and exhaustive auditing to guarantee that it complies with pre-determined third-party environmental performance standards. If it passes the tests, it gets certified as Type 1 and can be called an ecolabel.
Q4: What ecolabels exist in the world？
Refer to the map in Global Ecolabelling Network website. Every country and territory has their own ecolabel, so you can see what ecolabel(s) exists in your area.