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The Austrian Ecolabel
The Austrian Ecolabel (Österreichisches Umweltzeichen) is one of the oldest and most established labels for sustainable financial products. Established in 2004, the quality label is part of the eco-label family, the Austrian state eco-label for the non-food sector. It is sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), while the VKI (Association for Consumer Information) is responsible for administration.
While the label was originally only available for securities funds, it was gradually opened up to other product groups over time in response to market demand: Certificates, property funds, infrastructure funds, unit-linked life insurance, savings and giro products, green bonds and green loans.
rfu as an accredited auditor
rfu has been an auditor for the Austrian Ecolabel since 2004 and, with three accredited auditors, has already issued several hundred initial and renewal reports for over 50 domestic and international clients. We can pass on this broad experience to applicants in the form of efficient auditing processes and reliable pre-checks.
Requirements and steps towards the Ecolabel
Details of the content requirements for each product category are published on www.umweltzeichen.at/de/produkte/finanzprodukte . In principle, these include mandatory exclusion criteria, criteria and processes for a positive social and ecological selection as well as requirements for product transparency.
- The assessment usually begins with a preliminary discussion and a pre-check of the product candidates. The chances of a positive result are assessed and any necessary methodological additions are clarified.
- This is followed by the submission of an offer and the commissioning of the auditor as well as registration and official application.
- We then provide a list of questions and required documents, as well as any additional questions that arise during the review process.
- The report prepared by rfu on this basis is sent to the VKI – assuming a positive result – and approval follows. From this point onwards – usually four to eight weeks after the start of the process – the label may be used.
- On request, the label can also be formally awarded at a later date.
The label is valid for four years. During this period, only short annual update audits are required. After that recertification is required.