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The brand new EU Ecolabel criteria for more sustainable cleaning activities


European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, Belgium


The EU Ecolabel criteria for cleaning services are relevant for companies with preexisting environmental practices looking to fine tune and structure their sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts through compliance with this third-party certification, as well as companies who seek to use the EU Ecolabel criteria to help them make a shift from a more linear way of functioning towards circular environmental practices. The seven mandatory and twelve optional criteria take a holistic approach through limits on the cleaning products and accessories used, water and energy consumption, the training of staff and waste management.

Companies providing cleaning services are facing growing pressure to align their commercial, social and environmental practices. More and more innovative and tech companies, especially in the capitals like Berlin or London are requesting their offices to be cleaned in a green manner- with low environmental impact cleaning products, respecting the workers who are cleaning and who are working the cleaned offices.  The total estimated turnover of the cleaning industry for 2010 was 81 billion EUR for EU-27 (Eurostat, 2010). Office cleaning dominates, representing 50% of turnover. The cleaning industry structure in Europe is characterised by large proportion of a very small enterprises in Europe, of which 75% employ less than 10 people (1).

When it comes to environmental impacts, the main hotspots for the cleaning services are cleaning products, cleaning equipment, road transport and operational management e.g. wastewater discharge or waste treatment. In 2014 encouraged by Member States, the European Commission launched the development of the criteria for cleaning services under the framework of the EU Ecolabel. In N ...

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