The Ecological Union is one of the leading Russian non commercial organizations in the field of environmental prtotection. We have been conducting extensive work on environmental education and improving the environmental culture of society since 1991. Since 2001 we have been developing green standards, enhancing the production and consumption of environmentally friendly products.
The Ecological Union acts in accordance with international practice and the official UN policy in the field of sustainable production and consumption. Our team consists of experts and auditors with professional environmental education, more than 10 years’ experience in environmental certification, and leading auditors of international qualification (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001).
Our mission is to promote the development of a green economy in order to ensure a high quality of life for people and maintain a healthy environment for future generations.
1. Development of environmental standards and eco certification
According to a number of studies, the trend towards responsible production and consumption, consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 12, is one of the most relevant trends for modern business. According to the position of the UN, life-cycle based type I ecolabel (ISO 14024) is an effective tool for the development of green economy . Therefore, the priority area of the Ecological Union’s work is the development of type I ecolabel “Vitality Leaf” (ISO 14024) (since 2001). This is the only Russian type I ecolabel recognized internationally. The system is registered with the Federal Technical Regulation and Metrology Agency (number of РОСС RU.П2292.04ЧГ02). The certification body is officially accredited in the National Accreditation Agency according to the ISO 17065 in the area of ISO 14024.
2. Environmental education
We monitor the state of the urban environment, attract the attention of citizens and authorities.
We develop criteria for introducing green public procurement, transmitting the world experience.
We help retailers to increase the level of environmental responsibility, to introduce successfully and promote eco products in stock.
We fight against greenwashing, raising awareness among the business and consumers, and develop effective and useful tools to help a responsible consumer. We have introduced the first in Russia Ecolabel Guide mobile app that helps to recognize the ecolabels on a product packaging.
We are engaged in environmental education of the business, helping to turn environmental preferences and responsibility into a competitive market advantage.
We inform people about a sustainable consumption model, using a variety of communication channels.
3. Expert services
We develop methods and standards for environmental assessment of products, projects and services, as well as environmental awards and nominations based on the product life cycle analysis.
We conduct trainings and master classes on making the business more “green” and introducing environmental habits among the employees.
The international cooperation
The Ecological Union cooperates with a number of authoritative world environmental organizations: implements joint global projects, participates in international programs and events.
It is a member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). GEN includes the world’s most famous and credible type I ecolabels based on life cycle analysis – such as the European Ecolabel (EU countries), the Blue Angel (Germany), the Nordic Swan (Nordic countries) and others. Russia is represented in GEN by the “Vitality Leaf” ecolabel only.
The GEN has been assisting ecolabel operators to collaborate, share experiences and harmonize standards since 1994. Its members also advise other organizations that develop new ecolabeling programs and facilitate public access to this information so that people can make environmental choices.
In the framework of cooperation with GEN (since 2007), experts of Ecological Union are actively engaged in expanding the scientific base, implementing joint projects on ecolabeling and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since 2017 the director of Ecological Union – Yulia Gracheva – has been a GEN Board member. This allows Ecological Union to be actively involved in the development of the GEN international strategy, help strengthen Russian-language ecolabelling programs (as part of joint work with GEN members from Ukraine and Kazakhstan), promote green public procurement, projects for greener retail, and the Ecolabel Guide mobile application in Russia.
Ecological Union is a member of GENICES – the GEN Internationally Coordinated Ecolabelling System.
It is a peer review process that benchmarks members as a basis for mutual trust and confidence, after which they may have input on standards/specifications to be included in the common internationally accepted database of criteria.
In 2011, the Ecological Union received a GENICES member certificate first time, and in 2017 it has successfully passed a re-audit and confirmed its status.
It is a member of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) of the Consumer Information for Sustainable Production and Consumption UN One Planet Work Program (CI-SCP). As part of the One Planet Network program, we cooperate with international experts to:
Raise consumer awareness of environmentally friendly products and services;
Involve business and government into sustainable consumption;
Facilitate the introduction of ecoproducts to markets.
Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information
Ecological Union is the active participant of the Working Group 2 on Type I Ecolabels led by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The aim of the working group is to share knowledge and build capacity on Type I Ecolabels globally.
A member of the Asia Carbon Footprint Network (ACFN), which activities are aimed at the development of modern technologies and the exchange of experience on the development of carbon footprint ecolabels (since 2013).
A member of the international Non Hazard City 2 project to reduce emissions of hazardous chemicals for health and the environment under the project of the European Regional Development Fund of the Baltic Sea Region 2019 -2020.
In 2021, a partnership agreement was concluded between the Ecological Union and the Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan. As part of the agreement, Russian experts took part in the development of Uzbekistan’s national eco-certification system. They prepared a training program for specialists who will conduct environmental certification of goods and services.
Other foreign partners of the Ecological Union
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which promotes coordination of environmental protection at a system-wide level.
The certification center under the Ministry of the Environment of China (CEC), working in the field of environmental protection, quality of life and increase the share of environmentally friendly products. It is the type I ecolabel and a member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). CEC and the Ecological Union have signed a partnership agreement to work on ecocertification of goods and services.
UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP).
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is an intergovernmental organization, a special UN unit on problems of hunger and food independence. The FAO and the Ecological Union have joined forces to motivate producers of agricultural products and food products to implement environmental standards and ecocertification, to increase the recognition of international ecolabels among buyers, and to build confidence in the voluntary ecocertification institute in Russia.
World Widelife Fund (WWF).
CSR Central Asia is an expert organization in the field of corporate sustainability and responsibility. Cooperation is ongoing in the field of environmental education and voluntary environmental certification of products, works and services, the introduction of green technologies, scientific developments and projects in the practice of government and business structures. Memorandum of cooperation.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). The Ecological Union is spreading in Russia the ideas and initiatives of IFOAM, which promotes the spread of organic farming practices all over the world.
And many others.