The European Ecolabel was born in 1992 under the impulse of the European community. Today, 24 categories of products and services are certifiable. Tourist accommodations have a dedicated certification. The objective is to highlight eco-responsible solutions and innovations that will help us reach the goal of carbon neutrality in 2025. 

  1. What is the European Ecolabel?
  2. The European Ecolabel for tourist accommodation in detail

What is the European Ecolabel?

Learn more about this European label

Before going into the details of the label for tourist accommodation, it is important to make a more complete presentation of the European Ecolabel. First of all, it is not mandatory but voluntary. However, it aims to achieve environmental excellence and prepare the transition to a circular economy.

More information

The circular economy is the fact of giving life to a product by reusing the materials of other products at the end of their life. It's the revival of the old adage: nothing is lost, everything is transformed!

As the European Ecolabel has a wide spectrum. It covers a wide range of products, but the criteria may vary from one category to another. For each category, the criteria are very precise and have been selected by a group of experts. They are regularly updated according to technological and regulatory developments. These criteria cover the entire life cycle of the product. The objective is to take into account the environmental impact from production to recycling or disposal.

The main guidelines of the label are :

  • the use of toxic products
  • deforestation
  • waste management
  • the fight against waste
  • CO2 emissions

Finally, in addition to environmental criteria, the health of users is also taken into account in the establishment of standards.

Discover the different categories

24 categories of products and services are today concerned by the European Ecolabel on various sectors of activity:

  • Clothing and textile
  • Coating
  • Detergents
  • DIY
  • Furniture
  • Gardening
  • Lubricant
  • Paper products
  • Body hygiene products
  • Last but not least: tourist accommodation

In a few figures

In September 2021, there were 83,593 products and services labeled throughout Europe. This is a record: never before have so many labels been awarded. This represents 7% more certifications since March 2021.

In 2020, 81% of consumers who knew about this certification trusted it. This figure was only 64% in 2014. This shows the importance given to this certification by users.

The European Ecolabel for tourist accommodation in detail

We have already mentioned it in our article on the 9 main labels of sustainable tourism. Today, we want to go further in the presentation of the European Ecolabel. Indeed, we had the opportunity to exchange with those who carry and develop, both in France and at the European level, this certification. Their objective is to make it the European reference.


Presentation of the label

The labeling concerns both hotels and campsites. That is to say that the accommodation must justify the marketing of at least one private room with private bathroom or not, or a space fitted out for open-air hotels.

To obtain the famous sesame, the sustainable tourism professional must validate 22 mandatory criteria and at least 20 optional ones. These different points are classified in 5 main categories. Finally, the owner also has the obligation to employ and insure his employees according to the labor code in force in his country.

Discover below the 5 main categories:

  • Global management of the company: environmental management, staff training, communication with customers...
  • Energy saving: energy saving heating, ventilation and lighting systems, a thermal regulation system, green energy supplier...
  • Water saving: installation of water-saving sanitary facilities, reduction of water consumption with the reuse of linen
  • Waste management: reduction of food waste and packaging, implementation of an efficient waste and wastewater treatment system...
  • Other criteria: no smoking in common areas and rooms, information to customers on the most energy-efficient means of transportation to reach the establishment...

Steps to be taken to obtain the European Ecolabel certification

You are a committed professional and you have implemented an eco responsible approach in your establishment. You wish to enhance your work by obtaining this certification. Ademe has set up the Ecolabel Toolbox to help you.

However, to summarize, here are the 4 steps to follow in order to apply for it:

  • Check that your accommodation complies with the standard
  • Contact the organization in charge of certification in your country. They will provide you with additional information and a price estimate.
  • Register your application online
  • Gather all the necessary information and send it to your organization. They will be in charge of the analysis of these elements and then of the audit

Some figures

There are currently 471 certified tourist accommodations in 17 European countries. France is the most represented country with 190 certified establishments. Followed by Austria, Italy and Spain with 92, 57, and 52 respectively.

Tell us in comments if you think it is important that the accommodation you choose for your next vacation has an external label? Did you know about the European Ecolabel?

Anne Chéné
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