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The Sustainable S h o p p i n g B a s ke t

A guide to better shopping

March 2011

How do I practice sustainability in my daily life? Can sustainable consumption be achieved at all? Poisonous toys, meat scandals and banking crises have shaken our confidence in the economy and the future. The issue of what kind of world we want to live in and how we can change the economy is more burning than ever. As consumers and decision-makers, we can rethink our lifestyles, pay more heed to social, ecological and economic aspects during our daily consumption and when making investments, and thus further develop the social market economy. The German Council for Sustainable Development would like to help you do this. The Sustainable Shopping Basket offers tips to assist you in your daily purchase decisions and encourages you to bring your influence to bear: on producers and retailers because sustainable products need consumers interested in the products and on society because an increasing number of people is finding a sustainable lifestyle appealing. Since it first appeared in 2008, the Sustainable Shopping Basket is updated at regular intervals. Feedback from you, the readers, helps keep this brochure very current. My heartfelt thanks to you for doing so! Based on your input, we have made the seals more striking and user-friendly. The seal assessment instantly shows how far the guidelines take ecological and social considerations into account. The assessment shows you whether a seal only takes one or the other, or both criteria into account and also whether the criteria affect the entire product development process or just the end product. No matter what the differences, one thing is certain: at a minimum, the seals in this brochure provide transparency and credibility and are a reliable guide to finding sustainable products. They deserve your trust!

Decide what is especially important to you. Choose your own personal sustainable consumption path with the help of the diverse material available here. The gatefolds include a seasonal calendar and summary of all recommended seals for you to take with you when you go out shopping. Your contributions, ideas and comments are, as ever, always very welcome and help us to dynamically further enhance this Shopping Basket. You can visit us online at where you will find practical links and online portals on topics covered by this brochure. If you want to stay ahead of things, we will gladly recommend the newsletter of the German Council for Sustainable Development which will keep you abreast of the next steps we will be taking in our efforts to establish a green economy and society.

Marlehn Thieme Deputy Chairwoman of the German Council for Sustainable Development

Foreword Do we have a choice at all? Suggestions for getting started with sustainable consumption What is sustainable consumption? Political consumption Sustainable consumption doesnt have to be expensive 1 4 5 7 7 8

Daily shopping
spontaneity and habit in everyday consumption Food healthy and delicious Textiles dressing fairly, looking good Short distances leaving the car at home! Washing and cleaning environmental awareness pays off Cosmetics, personal hygiene and grooming less is more Toys fair play is the key! Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction 10 11 20 25 28 31 34 37

Rare purchases
research pays off Household appliances climate-friendly cooling, washing and cooking Television, computers, etc. saving energy the natural way Travel recreation and exploration Renovation avoiding toxic materials 40 41 43 46 50

Major purchases
carefully considered for sustainable value Your own car climate-conscious driving Buy green electricity and help protect the climate Furnishing with pleasure quality that lasts In your own home saving money while protecting the climate Investing achieving good returns with a clear conscience Credible information beyond trends and fads Impressum 53 54 56 58 61 66 69 72

Do we have a c hoice at all?

Sustainable consumption is truly possible today. That is the message conveyed by the Sustainable Shopping Basket, regardless of the limitations involved. And something else is just as clear: People who want to start consuming sustainably need to take action! Those who are seriously interested can accomplish more for themselves and our society than they might think at first. Lets see what it takes. Sustainable consumption would be quite easy if there were an organic food store just around the corner, a kindergarten within walking distance, a local sports club just a few minutes away by bike, a streetcar stop right across the street and if you had an affordable home in a quiet neighbourhood. But most people can only dream of such an ideal world. There is almost always something lacking, and compromises are a part of everyday life. The compromises we make depend on our living circumstances, our income and the options available to us. Neither a neighbourhood kindergarten nor an efficient rural public transportation system can be made to appear like a rabbit from a magicians hat. Is sustainable consumption possible for us at all? What are the big decisions in life that impact on the conditions affecting sustainable consumption? We have identified three major themes:

Home and work Where do I live? What are my living circumstances? Where do I work? Hobbies Do I consume a lot of energy and resources in pursuing my hobbies? Consumer preferences Do I enjoy eating a lot of meat? Do I travel frequently to foreign countries? Do I like driving fast cars? People who want to achieve sustainability step by step need to ask themselves the following questions: Where should I start? What are the really important issues? Will I accomplish anything at all by changing my behaviour in small ways? Can I afford to consume sustainably? Isnt sustainable consumption an option for the well-to-do only? What information can I trust? And isnt it true that many of the issues that keep coming up are no more than fleeting fads? Everyone must answer these questions for themselves. A number of references, tips and guidelines are provided on the following pages. They are meant to help you build your own personal framework of consumer values. Suggestions for getting started with sustainable consumption Anyone can take the first steps. There is no need to start with the really big decisions. This brochure offers tips that can help you take the first small steps in the right direction. They are not all equally important for everyone. And not everyone needs to follow every suggestion immediately.

Do we have a c hoice at all?

The important thing is to find a starting point. Where that starting point on the way to sustainable consumption lies and where you want to begin taking a critical look at your consumption habits with an eye to greater sustainability is up to you.

Your ecological footprint and CO2 balance sheet

One of the best ways to get started is to develop a picture of where you stand today. How big is your ecological footprint and how does your CO2 balance sheet look in the various areas of your life? The answers to these questions will help us determine where we should start the process of moving toward more sustainable consumption. The ecological footprint tells us the amount of space required to pursue our chosen lifestyle. There are a number of websites in the Internet at which you can compute your ecological footprint and your personal CO2 consumption. A list of current links and CO2 calculators is provided at: Set yourself the goal of reducing your CO2 emissions to two tonnes per year. The easiest way to do this is to follow our tips relating to living, mobility and food. Textiles (page 20f.) Household appliances (44f.) Television, computers, etc. (page 43f.) Living Buying green electricity (page 56f.) In your own home (page 61f.) Renovation (page 50f.) Furnishing with pleasure (page 58f.)

Food (page 11f.)

Mobility Short distances (page 25f.) Your own car (page 54f.) Travel (page 46f.)

Total environmental pollution by product group Source: ko-Institut e. V.

Another possible approach to getting started with sustainable consumption is to take a close look at the way in which such goods as food and textiles are produced. Are workers exploited, forced into virtual slavery or paid dumping wages, or do producers treat their employees fairly? Some people may opt for a third approach and choose to start in an area of their life in which they had already planned to change their habits. Water consumption
Every person in German households consumes just slightly less than 130 litres of water per day on average. But indirect daily per capita consumption is 4,000 litres. Over half of this water is imported. Many products provide no indication of how much water was consumed, evaporated or polluted during the production process. More than 4,000 litres of water are required to make one T-shirt, for example. To make just one cup of coffee, 140 litres of water are consumed along the entire production chain. This hidden water consumption is referred to as virtual water.

What is sustainable consumption? The term sustainable consumption denotes selective consumption based on awareness of the environmental, social and economic aspects of consumption. Under what conditions was an item of clothing or a new computer manufactured? Were workers paid adequate wages? Were they exposed to harmful substances during the production process? And what is the environmental impact of a given product? Which products and which companies do I want to support with my purchases? Do I buy food in a supermarket, at a discount store, in an organic food store or at a weekly outdoor market? Are people paid a fair wage there? How much money do I have to spend and what can I spend it on? Political consumption You have a voice in a democratic market economy. Use it with care. As a consumer, you have more power than you think, as business enterprises react sensitively to declining sales revenues. Take advantage of every opportunity and choose a sustainable alternative wherever you can. In this way you demonstrate that you care about the social and environmental conditions under which your purchases were produced and about the environmental impact of their use and disposal. As citizens of a democratic society, we must all commit ourselves to promoting and supporting the laws, regulations and conditions that make sustainable consumption possible in the first place. Sustainable consumption is an alternative to modes of consumption that fail to take such matters as resource use and the social impact of products into account. People who cant afford long-distance travel are unlikely to worry about compensating for aircraft CO2 emissions. Thus low-income households often have a good environmental balance sheet due to their relatively low level of consumption. Talk about the ideas offered in this brochure with your family and friends, and discuss your own ideas about possible changes. What could be done differently? What cant or shouldnt be changed under any circumstances? New approaches to conserving our environment and achieving greater social justice are often discovered only when people start to talk about these issues.

Todays consumers are a lot smarter than most people think. An increasing number of people now recognize the signalling effect they achieve and the power they exercise over business and industry and the political community as consumers. These consumers shape markets and can be organized easily via the Web 2.0. Thus stakeholder dialogue in the Internet is a communication discipline that companies urgently need to master.
Claudia Langer,

Do we have a c hoice at all?

Sustainable consumption need not be expensive Sustainable products are more expensive than others. Or: Only the affluent can afford sustainable consumption. But are these statements really true? Not always. Many sustainable products are more expensive than their non-sustainable competitors. But it is possible to save money by consuming sustainably nonetheless. A paradox?

A look at expenditures Average monthly expenditures of German households in 2008

Food Page 11f. Energy 140 EUR Buying green electricity (page 56f.) In your own home (Page 61f.)) 272 EUR 321 EUR

In order to gain an overview of the costs of sustainable consumption, it may be helpful for us to take a very close look at what we spend on the individual product groups discussed in this brochure. Average figures can convey a useful first impression. You can compile a personal balance sheet by noting your expenditures over a specific period of time. Tips on how to create your personal balance sheet can be found on p.71.

Automobiles Page 54f. Personal transportation ab Seite 25 Source: Statistisches Jahrbuch 2010

35 EUR

The added value of sustainable products It is true that some sustainable food and textile products are much more expensive. A product that is safe for the environment and has been produced under fair conditions costs more than one that has been produced as cheaply as possible. But the fair product offers added value for everyone concerned. Producers and suppliers who pay more attention to their products and employees deserve to expect a reasonable price in return. Otherwise, a sustainable economy has no chance of survival.

Consumers are willing to pay more for organic or sustainable products, as people in the business community are now well aware. And so the possibility that the good argument of sustainability is occasionally used to justify unreasonable prices cannot be ruled out entirely. Thus it always pays to take a closer look. Trustworthy seals of quality offer a reliable indication of whether a higher price is justified.

Saving money through sustainable consumption Even though certain sustainable products may be more expensive than others, it is possible to save money on the whole through sustainable consumption. Savings can be achieved, for example, by buying groceries in smaller quantities and therefore having to throw less away; emphasizing durability and quality instead of quantity when buying clothing; comparing power ratings and reparability when purchasing electronic equipment; taking steps to reduce your heating costs; taking fewer long-distance trips and switching to a smaller car or alternative means of transportation; recognizing that you can often improve your quality of life simply leaving unnecessary things on the store shelf; giving priority to utility rather than ownership when you purchase a product; spending more time with friends pursuing activities that bring greater benefits at a relatively low cost.

We often fail to consider the costs associated with the use of a product, such as a washing machine, for example. But the fact is that the additional cost of an economical appliance is likely to be offset by savings over time. In some cases, sustainable consumption means buying more thoughtfully and buying less and saving money in the process. You may consider sharing a product, for example. And when a product approaches the end of its service life, you might want to find out whether someone else is interested in having it. That ultimately contributes to social solidarity as well.

Daily shopping
spontaneity and habit in day-to-day consumption

We often buy the things we need every day, such as food and beverages, without giving them much thought. When we discover something really practical or a rare bargain, we buy spontaneously. Every consumer develops personal routines and preferences. We buy certain products and brands regularly, and we shop at certain stores again and again. Only occasionally do we try something new. Shopping without having to think a great deal saves time and is easier on the nerves. Many consumers appreciate the fact that nutritional data, such as fat and sugar content, for instance, are printed on product packaging. But they dont read the labels on every product every time they go shopping. Shopping with a routine makes life easier. But also it means that we may routinely buy products that are too fat, too sweet, too expensive and insufficiently sustainable altogether. Daily shopping for sustainable alternative products requires new routines. Old habits need to be reassessed and new ones have to be practised. A few simple rules of thumb and guidelines on how to read product markings and labels may be helpful in this context.


Food healthy and delicious

Organic is the word of the day. Nearly everyone chooses organic products when shopping for food at least once in a while. Such purchasing decisions are prompted by the desire for healthy nutrition and environmentally friendly alternatives. Many people also opt for products marketed in keeping with the principle of fair trade. They offer the additional advantage that consumers contribute to the improvement of working conditions in poor countries by buying them. Your shopping basket should contain above all healthy food products, organic products, seasonal fruit and vegetables grown locally, less meat and fish, fair-trade products and beverages in recyclable packaging units. Do yourself a favour with healthy nutrition Treat yourself to healthy products and emphasize a balanced diet. By consuming lots of plant-based foods and non-alcoholic beverages and cutting down on animal products and fatty foods, sweets and alcohol, you have already taken a giant step towards healthy nutrition. Organic a higher level of quality By purchasing products of certified organic quality you promote the development of organic farming with all of the benefits it offers. The EC Organic Products Regulation (Council Regulation on Organic Production and Labelling of Organic Products) details the minimum requirements for the cultivation of organic products. Organic farmers do not use chemical or synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Genetic engineering is also banned in organic agriCertified quality: organic products
Organic products are identified in your store by the Eco-Label. Only products produced in compliance with the provisions of the EC Organic Products Regulation are entitled to display this seal. Source: aid Infodienst

The nutrition pyramid

shows what a balanced diet looks like. Further information on healthy nutrition is available at:

5 times a day
The Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Ernhrung (German Nutrition Association, DGE) recommends five servings of fruit and/or vegetables every day. Helpful tips and answers to a wide range of questions relating to fruit and vegetables are provided at:

culture. Livestock are raised under speciesappropriate conditions on organic farms. Furthermore, organic farming creates more jobs than conventional farming operations.


Daily shopping | Food

Commercial enterprises use the purchase criterion of sustainability to advertise their own brands. Do you want to know whats behind this? Then ask how it is backed up, because if organic, fair or sustainable is on the label, this should also be reflected in the product. Read more about organic farming at (German), at or at the website of the European Commission:

good question

Are cigarettes containing organically grown tobacco sustainable products?

Rule of thumb: No, products that pose health hazards cannot be classified as sustainable.

No genetically modified organisms

The rule for both conventional and organic products is this: Random or technically unavoidable concentrations of genetically modified organisms (GMO) are permitted within a tolerance range of up to 0.9% and require no labelling. Consumers who want to be sure that the GMO concentration in a product does not exceed this limit should look for the organic seal of approval or the Non-GMO label which may be affixed to conventional products that comply with this limit. The Non-GMO label refers to all phases of production and thus is also used for such products as animal feed.

Urban, rural, regional sustainable agriculture with short transport routes and seasonal products Sustainable agriculture is possible. There are surely farmers in your area who cultivate highquality fruit, vegetables, wine and other products using methods that are environmentally friendly, preserve the diversity of the landscape and strengthen the local economy. It is particularly important to consider seasonal differences when buying fruit and vegetables. Products that are in season taste better and are more likely to be especially fresh. Seasonal products also have a better energy balance sheet, as they require no energy-intensive refrigeration and neednt be transported over long distances. Many farmers offer vegetable-basket subscriptions. These baskets contain fresh seasonal products from the local region.

The seasonal calendar

shows you which types of fruit and vegetables you can enjoy at their freshest at a given time of the year. You will find a seasonal calendar on the cover flap of this brochure or click here: http://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat. de/fileadmin/user_upload/ English/pdf/publications/brochures/ Brochure_Sustainable_Shopping_ Basket_Small_Guide_Seasonal_Calendar.pdf


Products produced in your area have not been transported over long distances. The energy consumed in the transportation of these products increases in proportion to the distance travelled. This applies to organic products as well. Therefore, your shopping basket should contain food products produced in Germany and preferably in your local region. Foreign products produced in accordance with strict sustainability requirements may also have an acceptable energy balance sheet if they do not require longer periods of storage and refrigeration. There is no general rule for this, however. good question

Organic products from distant lands?

Organic products from abroad are often cast in an unfavourable light. The reason for this is that a great deal of energy is consumed in transporting them. Rule of thumb: The best choice is always a food product that features three specific characteristics: organic, regional and seasonal. It is not always easy to find such products, of course. You should ensure that a product meets at least one of these criteria.

Through my work at the Foundation, I am constantly reminded of the importance of healthy nutrition. Actually, selecting fresh seasonal foods is a basic skill. But many people do not know how to do it. I have devoted my efforts above all to helping children learn how to prepare healthy, delicious meals for themselves.
Sarah Wiener, gourmet cook and founder of the Sarah Wiener Stiftung fr gesunde Kinder und was Vernnftiges zu essen (Sarah Wiener Foundation for healthy children and decent food)

Sustainable food not just at home

You should also try to order seasonal foods when dining out. A number of restaurants feature organic foods and/or regional products. Learn where they are located and make it a point to visit these restaurants.


Daily shopping | Food

Meat and fish consuming less and buying selectively Our diet should consist of lots of fresh vegetables and relatively little meat. That is not only healthy but helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well. Meat production generates substantially more greenhouse gases than vegetable production. So you can contribute to protecting the climate by consuming more fruit and vegetables and treating meat as a rare delicacy. Steaks and sausages produced at local organic farms cost more but offer superior quality that is evident in preparation and consumption. Moreover, organic meat comes from animals raised under species-appropriate conditions. Eggs with a 3 not for me!
When buying fresh eggs, look for the code stamped on every egg. The first digit of the code identifies the type of farm on which the poultry was raised and the egg was produced. 0 = organic poultry farm 1 = free-range poultry farm 2 = cage-free poultry farm 3 = cage poultry farm

Avoid throwing food away

The general rule for all foods is that nothing edible belongs in the trash. Shoppers should develop a sense of the right quantities and how long a food product can be expected to last. If you realize that you frequently throw away the same left-over foods because they spoil before you have consumed them, you should switch to smaller packaging units even if they are more expensive. A list of leftovers can be very helpful.

How much / How often?

1/ 2 loaf of bread per week 1 to 2 eggs per week


1,50 Euro 0,60 Euro

What to do?

Buy smaller loaves; freeze small portions; make dumplings Buy eggs in small quantities as needed

Source: Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband 2009

It is also important to be selective when buying fish. 75% of the worlds commercially exploited fish stocks have now been fished to excess or are classified as overfished.

Check labels when purchasing fish

If you want to be sure the fish you buy has been caught under acceptable conditions, look for the MSC seal (for wild fish) and the Naturland label (for fish produced at breeding farms).

Environmental organizations such as the WWF (WWF-Fischfhrer: and Greenpeace (Fish & Facts: have published comprehensive consumer guides that can be very helpful when it comes to buying fresh fish. It is always a good idea to ask at the fish counter where the fish was caught, since some species are particularly endangered by overfishing in certain regions.


Fair food enjoyment more than just a matter of taste Select fair-trade products whenever possible. In this way you support producers in developing countries. The purpose of promoting fair trade is to improve the living and working conditions of people in the countries of the Southern Hemisphere. Fair trade benefits families who own small farms and their self-help initiatives.

Fair-trade products a good choice

Fair-trade products are labelled with the FairTrade seal. This seal identifies products traded in accordance with specified fair-trade criteria. One of the most important requirements a product must meet in order to qualify for the FairTrade seal is the payment of minimum prices above the world-market average which cover both the costs of production and the general costs of living of the families involved in production. Fair-trade products must also fulfil a number of other requirements. Compliance with these requirements is verified through independent audits. The FairTrade label signifies conformity with both social and environmental criteria. There are two environmental standards a minimum standard that must be met for initial certification and maintained at all times thereafter, and an advanced standard based on more demanding environmental criteria, which enables producers to approach a level comparable to that of organic farming operations.

I feel good whenever I buy a fair-trade product. It is important for me to know that the people who produce my coffee live and work under fair conditions and are not exploited. But I also want to be sure that the money I spend actually goes to them. That is why I always look for the FairTrade seal when I shop.
Franziska van Almsick, former world-class swimmer and patroness of the fair feels good campaign

Drinking water as a foodstuff Water of very high quality is plentiful in Germany. Tap water is drinking water. You can avoid carrying heavy cases, accumulating packaging waste and making unnecessary trips by keeping drinking water in pitchers. Beverages recyclable is better than disposable A recyclable glass bottle can be reused up to 50 times, a recyclable PET bottle up to 25 times. This makes them the most environmentally friendly beverage packaging units in the market, since the use of recyclable packaging systems reduces waste production. And less raw material is required to produce beverage containers that can be refilled again and again. By purchasing beverages in recyclable bottles, you support small and mid-sized regional companies such as breweries, juice producers and mineral water bottling plants. And you also contribute to the preservation of jobs at those companies.

Daily shopping | Food

Product history CO2 emissions for one litre of orange juice

People who drink several glasses of orange juice every day and dispose of their juice containers generate very low CO2 emissions on the face of it. The amount of CO2 emitted during the consumption and disposal of one litre of orange juice is relatively small when one considers the entire product history of this beverage. The largest share of CO2 emissions produced during the whole life of one litre of orange juice is generated in the orange-growing process and results from the production and distribution of fertilizer. That is why you should select locally produced juices whenever you can.

Important labels and seals on food products There are numerous labels and seals that make it easier to purchase selectively in food stores. The minimum requirements for organic food products are set forth in Council Regulation (EEC) 91/2092 on organic production and labelling of agricultural products (EU-EcoRegulation). The regulation requires, for example, that at least 95% of all ingredients must come from organic farming operations. The regulations for organic cultivation forbid the use of genetically modified organisms and chemical, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Food products which conform to the requirements of the EU-Eco-Regulation are labelled with a control number, e.g. DE-000. The code DE stands for Germany and the three-digit number identifies the environmental auditing agency which tested the product. National and EU organic product seals
Good for the environment Organic product seal good for society The Bio-Siegel is the German symbol used to identify products that meet the requirements of the EU-Eco-Regulation. This seal often appears on products along with other labelling symbols, such as those of trade labels or growers associations. Good for the environment EU organic agricultural product logo good for society The EU organic agricultural product logo also identifies food products cultivated in accordance with the provisions of the EU-Eco-Regulation. It displays the phrase Organic Farming or Organic Agriculture. The use of this logo unlike the control number is voluntary.

Organic foods are now found not only in organic food stores but also in normal supermarkets and discount stores as well. Many retail organizations offer their own organic brands, which also meet the requirements of the EU-Eco-Regulation. These produces bear the official organic seal. In addition to the organic product seals issued by national authorities, you should also watch for those awarded by growers associations. The requirements for the award of these labels go far beyond the criteria established by the EU-Eco-Regulation in some cases. Some growers associations certify only certain product groups or products from a specific region.


Labels issued by growers associations

Good for the environment Bioland food products from organic good for society farming operations In addition to strict guidelines for plant cultivation and animal husbandry, the association also sets standards for raw-material processing. Good for the environment good for society Demeter food products from organic farming operations The association promotes a biodynamic approach to farm management based on principles articulated by Rudolf Steiner. Strict guidelines are set for food production and processing. Good for the environment good for society Naturland food products from organic farming operations, including fish from breeding farms The guidelines issued by the association encompass aspects of social responsibility. At the international level, the association supports small farming families and organic farming world-wide. Good for the environment Ga food products from organic farming operations good for society Products are certified by an accreditation commission composed of different stakeholders. Good for the environment good for society Biopark food products from organic farming operations Quality over quantity is the guiding principle of this association, with which nearly 700 member farms in 15 German states are affiliated. The first genetech-free region in Germany was established in response to an initiative by this association.

Seals and labels for specific product groups

Good for the environment EcoVin wine from organic vineyards good for society According to the guidelines issued by the Bundesverband kologischer Weinbau e. V. (National Federation of Organic Vintners) the principles of organic wine production include the preservation and enhancement of soil fertility, the promotion of species diversity and the establishment of a secure foundation for life based on acceptable living conditions. Good for the environment Neuland meat and meat products from good for society species-appropriate, environmentally safe animal husbandry Farms affiliated with the Neuland association emphasize quality-conscious, species-appropriate and environmentally safe animal husbandry. The use of organic animal feed is not mandatory.


Daily shopping | Food

Good for the environment good for society Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fish from sustainable fishing operations With the goal of preserving global fish stocks in the long term, the MSC has developed standards for sustainable fishing in collaboration with fisheries experts and environmental organizations. Good for the environment Rainforest Alliance cocoa, coffee, tea, good for society citrus fruit, bananas, green plants and flowers cultivated in keeping with environmental and social requirements The Rainforest Alliance is dedicated to preserving species diversity, sustainable livelihoods and transforming land use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.

Regional organic product seals and labels

Good for the environment Biokreis food products from organic good for society farming operations in eastern Bavaria The goal of this growers association is to promote the growth of networks of organic farmers and organic food processors and to maintain rural agriculture on the basis of organic farming. Good for the environment koqualitt garantiert good for society (Guaranteed Organic Quality) food from organic farming operations in Bavaria In addition to strict standards for organic food production, this association also emphasizes the regional origin of the products it certifies.

Regional organic product labels in accordance with the EU-Eco-Regulation

Organic product seals for the regions of Baden-Wrttemberg, Hessen, MecklenburgVorpommern and Rhn Food from organic farms and production facilities (organic product seal) from the respective regions. Products must meet the requirements of the EU-Eco- Regulation and serve as orientation guides for consumers of regional food products. regionale-bio-siegel/


Regional seals for conventional food products

Regional seals for conventional food products Seals for conventional food products produced in a specific region Regional seals help consumers select products from a specific region. Learn more about the seals used to identify foods produced in your region.

Seal assessment
Good for the environment
Verifiable environmental safety criteria apply to all of the relevant phases of the value chain, from raw-material harvesting to production, marketing, consumption/use and disposal. The minimum requirement for food products is compliance with the EU-Eco-Regulation. The criteria reflect specific aspects of environmental safety and relate primarily to individual phases of the production process, consumption/use and disposal of products. The guidelines contain either very few or no environmental criteria at all.

Good for society

The guidelines apply strict social criteria which go beyond the basic labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO)*. The guidelines contain fundamental social principles, e.g. compliance with ILO standards or comparable requirements relating to working conditions of people involved in the production process. The guidelines contain either very few or no social criteria at all.

* The International Labour Organization, ILO, is dedicated to four fundamental principles: freedom of association, prohibition of discrimination, and the elimination of child and forced labour. These principles are expressed in international agreements known as ILO core labour standards or ILO standards. The ILO standards are ratified by governments. However, in countries in which the rule of law is ineffective or lacking entirely, ratification does not guarantee compliance with these minimum standards.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | Te x t i l e s

Textiles dressing fairly, looking good

Part of our personality is expressed by our clothing. Before we buy a new article of clothing, we decide consciously or unconsciously whether it matches our personal style of dress and whether we really want to go along with the latest fashion trend. Regardless of whether we choose plain or distinctive, colourful or neutral clothing, clothing plays a significant role in our purchasing decisions. At first glance, it is impossible to determine the extent to which the materials from which our clothing is produced are harmful to our health and the environment, where the textiles come from and who sewed them and under what social conditions the producers live and work. You should consider the following aspects when you buy clothing: materials (e.g. organic cotton), FairTrade labels, good workmanship and durability, the option of buying second-hand clothing, e.g. at a flea market or a second-hand shop.

Organic cotton good for the skin and for the environment Cotton is the most popular natural textile fibre in the world. Nearly half of all clothing produced is made of cotton. Yet the cultivation of cotton poses hazards to health and to the environment. Huge quantities of pesticides and fertilizers are used in the process. In fact, more pesticides are used in cotton fields than in any other type of farming. Eight times more chemicals are used for cotton than for food crops. Another problem is the amount of water consumed on cotton plantations. Thousands of litres of water are needed to produce the cotton used to make one single T-shirt regardless of whether it is grown organically or conventionally. As a result, rivers and lakes are drying out. The Aral Sea in Central Asia is now in danger of disappearing entirely.


Product history
The environmental and social impact of the production of a T-shirt The journey of a T-shirt from the cotton plantation to your clothes closet is extremely long. And the impact of the process differs considerably during the various stages of its product life. For example, much more water is consumed in fibre processing, spinning and textile finishing than in the washing of a dirty T-shirt. CO2 emissions generated during transport from the cotton plantation to the spinning mill to the factory, the points of sale and the household and during disposal (e.g. through used clothing collection) also contribute to environmental pollution. Important social issues may also play a role in the product history of a T-shirt including unhealthy, unfair working conditions or child labour. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to determine whether a given company exercises social and environmental responsibility throughout its supply chain. Some help can be obtained from CSR tests published by Stiftung Warentest (the Foundation for comparative product testing) or producers websites.

kbA cotton Organic raw materials used in the textile industry are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. No toxic substances are released into the soil in organic farming. The process is not harmful to lakes and streams in the surrounding area or to the health of the people working on the plantation. This ensures you that no chemical residues from production come in contact with your skin and cause problems such as allergic reactions.
The German abbreviation kbA stands for kontrolliert biologischer Anbau (controlled organic cultivation) and identifies cotton that is grown entirely without the use of chemical, synthetic pesticides. Descriptive terms such as hand-picked or made from untreated cotton say nothing about the environmental compatibility of the cotton.

Health problems suffered by employees and customers of textile discount stores resulting from contact with chemically treated materials prompted me to design my own collection. I use only organically produced raw materials and textiles treated with natural substances. Every item is a one-of-a-kind, hand-made article.
Anna Schurau, master seamstress in training and a finalist in the 2006 RNE Communication Project


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | Te x t i l e s

Fair-trade textiles looking good and doing good A large portion of the textiles sold in Germany are produced in low-wage countries and regions, such as China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Central America. In these areas, compliance with guidelines for adequate wages, work-safety regulations and bans on child labour cannot always be ensured. When you buy clothing produced in accordance with the principles of fair trade and made in Europe, you can be assured that these minimum social standards are met. Textiles made of fair-trade cotton have been available in Germany since 2007.

Fair-trade clothing chic and trendy

Dresses, trousers, skirts and jackets made of organic cotton produced in keeping with the principles of fair trade and environmental safety have now captured the fancy of fashion designers as well. Some fashion producers emphasize environmentally sound, socially beneficial clothing products, but often fail to label these articles accordingly. A list of websites of fair and environmentally aware designers is provided at:

Quality over quantity simply chic Regardless of whether an article of clothing is made of natural or synthetic fibres, the production process may have a negative impact on the environment and health. We tend to be increasingly demanding when it comes to our clothing. The trend toward so-called functional textiles, especially in sports and leisure clothing, has led to the need for additional processing and finishing. More than 10,000 different chemicals and dyes are used in the textile industry. Much of our clothing is worn next to the skin, which means that direct contact with the chemicals used in processing cannot be ruled out. When you buy textiles that have been tested for toxic substances, you can be sure that your clothing contains no problematic materials.

While you should always check the quality of processed material, it is also important to consider such aspects as timeless design and good workmanship and to buy clothing you like so much that you are likely to wear it often and for many years. Durability improves the environmental balance sheet and soothes the nerves.


You can do a lot with the right thread darn socks, sew on buttons, let out trousers or take them in. Truly good items stay with me longer than one or two years and go through quite a lot. When I can make something useful again, I am really pleased by the gain in service life.
Prof. Dr. Angelika Zahrnt, Council for Sustainable Development

Second-hand good for the environment and your pocketbook Clothing that no longer fits or that youre tired of wearing can be sold at flea markets, in the Internet or at a second-hand shop. And you might find something you like there as well.

Over 750,000 tonnes of second-hand clothing are collected in Germany every year. However, it is often not possible to determine who is behind the appeal for clothing donations or what will happen to the donated clothing. FairWertung, the German umbrella organization, has established standards for the fair collection and recycling of secondhand clothing. To recognize such collections, look for the FairWertung label on collection flyers and containers. Further information is provided at:

In addition to privately-owned second-hand stores, there are shops operated by churches, charitable organizations and local community groups which make used clothing available to needy people free of charge or at very low prices. By donating your unwanted clothing articles, you provide direct support to people in your own region.

Important markings and labels on textile products There is no standard label for clothing that offers conclusive information about the environmental impact or the social conditions associated with the production of a product. The following labels and logos refer variously to hazardous substance content, the use of organic cotton or compliance with standards of social responsibility in the production process.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | Te x t i l e s

Good for the environment IVN certified natural textiles good for society The blue Naturtextil IVN zertifiziert BEST (IVN certified BEST natural textiles) label identifies textiles made of natural fibres and produced in accordance with the high standards of the Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft e. V. (International Association Natural Textile Industry, IVN) for environmental safety, compliance with principles of social responsibility and the absence of harmful chemical additives. The environmental and social criteria apply to the entire production chain. The association also issues the NATURLEDER IVN zertifiziert (certified NATURAL LEATHER) label for leather products produced in compliance with high standards of environmental safety and social responsibility. Good for the environment Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) good for society The relatively new GOTS label represents an international standard for organic and socially responsible textile production. GOTS identifies products which comply with rigorous environmental and social criteria throughout the entire production and marketing chain. Good for the environment good for society Textiles Vertrauen (Textiles you can trust in accordance with ko-Tex Standard 100) The ko-Tex Standard 100 is an international testing system for finished products and identifies textiles that comply with specified limits for harmful substances. Where social and environmental aspects are also taken into account in the production process, products can earn the plus ko-Tex Standard 1000 seal. At the moment, very few products bearing the higher plus ko-Tex Standard 1000 seal are available in the market., Good for the environment European Eco-Label good for society The European Eco-Label identifies textiles made of natural and synthetic fibres as well as shoes which have fewer negative effects on the environment than conventional products. Further information on the European Eco-Label is provided under Renovation avoiding harmful substances on page 51.

Good for the environment FairTrade good for society The FairTrade label identifies cotton textiles whose producers receive a fair, stable price for their cotton. This label extends the range of the fair-trade standard to include such products as jeans, dresses, skirts, towels, cotton pads and socks. The FairTrade label is described under Food healthy and delicious on page 15.

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


Short distances leaving the car at home!

Motor vehicles are responsible for roughly 20% of total CO2 emissions in Germany. Other environmental effects of vehicle traffic include particle emission, nitrogen oxide emissions, low-lying ozone, noise pollution, land consumption for roads and parking lots, and traffic injuries and fatalities. We use our cars primarily for leisure activities and shopping. Trips to and from work account for only 35% of total vehicle mileage. Approximately one-third of all trips taken by car are shorter than ten kilometres, and 23% are shorter than two kilometres and that despite the fact that distances of less than three kilometres in urban areas can be covered faster by bicycle. If we consider all of the trips we take with our own cars, we soon realize that many of them could be eliminated by taking more environmentally friendly alternative means of transportation: local public transportation, private car-sharing, car pools and ride-sharing agencies, riding a bicycle, walking. Assistance in the selection of environmentally friendly means of transportation is provided in Germany by the Umweltmobilcheck service offered by the Institut fr Entsorgung und Umwelttechnik (Institute for Disposal and Environmental Technology, ifeau) at: This helpful tool enables you to calculate energy consumption, CO2, particulate matter and other harmful substance emissions for a given route travelled by car, air or rail. [See also: Your own car climate-conscious driving]


Daily shopping | Shor t dist ances leaving t he car at home!

We in Germany drive too many big cars. In cars with internal-combustion engines, only 15% of the energy used is translated into mobility. Thus the future of mobility belongs to small, economical electric-powered cars, an efficient local and long-distance transportation system and the bicycle. I switched long ago because it pays off in benefits for my pocket book, the climate and my own health.
Franz Alt, Journalist

Travelling without stress local public transportation Take advantage of the opportunities offered by your local public transportation system when you travel back and forth from home to work or the city. Many cities and larger metropolitan areas offer good, frequent connections, while other cities could stand to improve their public transportation programmes. People who live in the country and have no direct connection to local public transportation should consider the Park & Ride system as an alternative to driving to the city alone in their own cars.

One car, several drivers car-sharing On average, car owners use their vehicles for one hour per day. Their cars stand idle for the other 23 hours. A good alternative for people who use a car only on occasion is to share a car with others. Car-sharing services are available in some 270 cities and towns in Germany. These include all cities with populations of 200,000 and up and most cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. A list of cities and car-sharing services is provided at: Rental vehicles or taxis may be an economical alternative for occasional trips. good question What is more economical, car-sharing or using your own car?
Car-sharing is regarded by many people as too expensive and often wrongly. Rule of thumb: If you drive 10,000 kilometres or less per year and do not need a car every day, car-sharing is more economical than owning and using your own car.


Driving together car pools and ride-sharing agencies Form car pools for travel to work or regular leisure activities. For long trips, ride-sharing agencies are a cost-effective alternative to driving your own car. The costs of rail travel can also be reduced by travelling in groups.

Getting there faster by bicycle A bicycle or local public transportation will usually get you where you want to go in the city faster than a car and you get some exercise in the bargain. Useful accessories from weather-proof clothing to trailers make the bicycle a viable alternative for many occasions at any time of the year. When buying a bicycle, you should give priority to durability and reparability. A higher price is usually offset by longer service life.

Choosing the right bicycle

A list of safe, comfortable, low-maintenance bicycles that are suitable for city use or for cycling tours in the country, on flat or slightly hilly terrain, is provided at the EcoTopTen information portal at:

Very short trips just try walking Why not walk to your nearby supermarket or bakery and do something for your health? People who walk see more of their immediate surroundings.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | Wa s h i n g a n d c l e a n i n g

Washing and cleaning environmental awareness pays off

Roughly 640,000 tonnes of washing products are consumed in Germany every year. That equates to nearly 8 kg per person per year. People who use washing, dishwashing and cleaning products conservatively save energy and consume less water and chemicals, and that benefits both the environment and their pocketbooks. It also makes good financial sense to reassess your washing and cleaning habits and make appropriate changes: programme and temperature settings on washing and dishwashing machines, selection and dosage of washing, dishwashing and cleaning agents, application of simple household tips.

Energy-efficient washing, drying and dishwashing Select the lowest suitable washing temperature. By consistently reducing washing temperature by one setting, e.g. from 60 to 40C, you not only save money but also reduce CO2 emissions by 33 kg per year in a two-person household. A maximum temperature of 60C is sufficient for all types of laundry. A pre-wash cycle is usually not necessary. If no one in your household has an infectious disease, normally soiled laundry comes out clean at between 15 and 40C depending on manufacturers instructions. Greater hygienic purity, for baby clothes, for example, is achieved at 60C. Washing at 60C at least once a month is recommended in order to prevent excessive bacterial contamination in the washing machine.

Information on all aspects of washing, dishwashing and cleaning

is provided at the Forum Waschen website. Forum Waschen is an initiative formed by advocates of sustainability in the areas of washing, dishwashing and cleaning.


You can save even more energy by using the economy setting on your washing machine consistently. Wash cycles should be started only when the machine is full. Exception: Delicate or sensitive fabrics such as wool or silk should be washed in smaller loads. Whenever possible, dry your laundry on the line outdoors or on a laundry rack in an unheated room. The general rule for dryer use is to spin laundry at no less than 1,400 rpm before drying. That significantly reduces energy consumption for drying. The same rule applies to your dishwasher. The machine should be switched on only when fully loaded. Programme and temperature settings should be appropriate for the type of dishes and the degree of soiling. Pre-rinsing by hand is not necessary. Simply remove large food scraps before placing dishes in the machine. Washing and cleaning agents how much is enough? Modular systems are a useful alternative to pre-mixed washing powders, as they enable you to combine individual components (basic washing powder, bleaching agents and softeners) in different quantities as needed. Modular systems and super-concentrated colour washing powders have the best environmental balance sheet. Liquid washing products are less friendly to the environment.

good question

Are organic washing powders better?

Organic washing powders are sold in shops specialized in organic products and in supermarkets. Are these products really safer for the environment than other washing products? Rule of thumb: Both organic washing powders and modern concentrated washing powders are a good choice. The crucial factors in the environmentally sound use of washing powders are dosage and the care you exercise in washing and using washing powders. Steer away from soap nuts. The rise in demand over here is shortening supply in poorer countries where soap nuts are traditionally used as a detergent.

Instead of the large washing powder packages (concentrated washing powders), try using super-concentrated versions in refillable packages, if possible. These offer a number of advantages: more economical dosage, reduced water pollution, less required space, easier transport and less packaging material. Both types of washing powder have the same cleaning power. But because they are produced in different concentrations, they must be dosed differently as well. The right amount of washing powder depends on water hardness and the degree of soiling. Information on water hardness in your area can be obtained from your local waterworks. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the package.

Simple household tips It is not necessary to wash every article of clothing after it has been worn only once. It is often enough to brush or air out an article of clothing. To prevent bacterial transmission, use separate cleaning textiles (cloths, pads, etc.) for different areas of your kitchen and bathroom.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | Wa s h i n g a n d c l e a n i n g

At a minimum, every household should have a dishwashing powder or liquid, an allpurpose cleaner, a liquid abrasive cleaner, and a cleaning agent for toilets and bathrooms. Depending on characteristics of the surfaces in your home and the type of dirt to be removed, you may find other cleaning agents useful as well. Disinfectants are not needed for household cleaning purposes. Hang dishtowels in a well-ventilated spot so that they can dry quickly. Grandmas secret recipes and tips can be useful for cleaning bathrooms and toilets. Scale deposits can be effectively removed with citric acid, vinegar essence or lactic acid, which is formed when milk turns sour. Vinegar is also a good fabric softener. Important labels and symbols on washing and cleaning products The most important factors in washing, dishwashing and cleaning are dosage and individual behaviour. The following labels and symbols offer additional indicators. Washing, cleaning and dishwashing agents
Good for the environment good for society European Eco-Label Some of the all-purpose cleaners, hand washing-up and machine dishwashing agents, soaps and washing powders sold in Germany have earned the European Eco-Label in recognition of their relatively low negative environmental impact. The European Eco-Label is described in greater detail under Renovation avoiding harmful substances on page 51. Good for the environment Charter for Sustainable Cleaning good for society Washing and cleaning agents awarded the Charter logo are sold by companies that have accepted the obligation to ensure verifiable compliance with the objective of sustainability over the entire life cycle of the products they produce from raw-material purchasing to use and disposal by consumers. The environmental-safety criteria cover all phases of the value chain. A possible upgrade of the seal may be achieved by raising the standards to a higher level.

Cleaning services
Good for the environment Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) good for society Der Blaue Engel identifies cleaning services (wet and carbon-dioxide cleaning) that are rated as especially friendly to the environment. Further information on Der Blaue Engel is provided under Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction on page 38.

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


Cosmetics, personal hygiene and grooming less is more

The market for cosmetics and personal hygiene products is booming. Skin creams, lotions, peeling creams, fragrances, facial masks and hair conditioners promise to make us look younger and more attractive and to keep our skin smooth and healthy. Consumers in Germany spent 12.6 billion Euro on cosmetic, personal hygiene and grooming products in 2008.

Choosing cosmetics with effective hygienic, grooming and protective functions It is important to select cosmetic products that are compatible with your skin type and to use them in appropriate quantities. You can avoid buying the wrong products by giving careful thought to your selections. And dont hesitate to seek professional advice if you are not sure about which products are right for you.

Enjoying the sun safely

Select the right sun protection factor (SPF) for your skin type. The lighter your skin, the higher the SPF should be. You should choose an SPF of at least 15 for the first days of the season. Further information and tips are provided at:


Daily shopping | Cosmetics, personal hygiene and g rooming

Selective use for specific purposes Cosmetic products perform a number of different functions. We use them to clean, protect and groom our skin, hair and teeth and to change how they look and smell. Yet cosmetics have a downside as well. They can cause skin irritation, and some ingredients are harmful or completely non-biodegradable. Think carefully about the purpose and the quantities of cosmetics you use. When it comes to decorative cosmetics, such as lipstick, mascara and eye shadow, less is often more. On the other hand, the sparing use of products that serve a protective purpose, such as sunscreens, is not recommended. Apply sunscreen before you expose yourself to the sunlight and use enough cream or lotion to cover all of the areas that are not protected by clothing against UV rays. It is generally advisable to avoid midday sunlight. Be selective in your choice of packaging sizes. Buy only those products you are certain to use up before they expire. An unpleasant odour, discoloration or a change in consistency may be a sign that a cosmetic product is spoiled. The size of a packaging unit also affects the amount of waste generated by consumers of personal hygiene and grooming products. Several small packages create more waste than a single large unit. good question What cosmetics should be avoided?
Rule of thumb: Trust your nose. If a product has an unpleasant odour, you probably shouldnt buy it or continue using it.

Ingredients Roughly 8,000 natural and synthetic substances are used in the production of cosmetics today. Some of these ingredients are allergenic. Your susceptibility to allergies depends on your skin type. People with sensitive skin should test new cosmetic products on a small spot on the skin before applying them to larger areas.

Stiftung Warentest and ko-Test

Test results published by Stiftung Warentest and ko-Test provide guidance for consumers of cosmetics and personal hygiene and grooming products. The product ratings compiled by Stiftung Warentest are based on the evaluation of product performance, environmental compatibility and allergenic potential. and


Important labels and symbols on cosmetic products The following labels and symbols identify products produced in accordance with standards for natural cosmetics.

Good for the environment BDIH Kontrollierte Naturkosmetik good for society The Kontrollierte Natur-Kosmetik (Controlled Natural Cosmetics) seal is awarded by the Bundesverband Deutscher Industrie- und Handelsunternehmen (National Association of German Industrial and Commercial Enterprises, BDIH) for natural cosmetic products marketed by members of the BDIH. Products that bear this seal are produced without synthetic colouring and aromatic substances or preservatives of non-natural origin. To the extent possible, raw materials derived from plants should come from controlled organic farming (kbA) operations. You can read a list of the criteria for award of the seal in the Internet. No further information about the award and testing processes has been published to date. Good for the environment NaTrue good for society The NaTrue label identifies natural cosmetic products and is awarded on the basis of a three-star system. One star stands for natural cosmetics, two stars for natural cosmetics with organic ingredients and three stars for pure organic products. Only ingredients derived from natural raw materials or materials identical or nearly identical to natural substances are permitted. Products are certified by independent agencies.

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | To y s

Toys fair play is the key!

When we buy toys for our own children, nieces and nephews or grandchildren, we look forward to cries of joy and childrens laughter. In order to ensure that this joy is real and lasting, you should buy only toys that contain no toxic substances, have been produced under fair working conditions, will benefit the childs development and are made to last.

Caution: poison choose dolls and toy cars carefully Toy cars and dolls that contain softeners or heavy metals are a vision of horror for parents. Here are a few tips that will help you keep toxic toys out of your childrens bedrooms: Look for quality. Cheap toys are much more likely to contain toxic substances. All materials, paint and adhesives used in the production of toys should be free of harmful substances. Toys for small children must be especially resistant to perspiration, biting and saliva. Look for the terms phthalate-free or PVC-free when purchasing plastic toys. Trust your nose: Toys with an unpleasant odour or that smell like perfume should be left on the shelf.


Tests for toys

From Barbie dolls and bobby-cars to modelling clay, stuffed animals and kids splash pools to crayons the results of tests published by such organizations as Stiftung Warentest and ko-Test provide information about potentially harmful ingredients. Stiftung Warentest also focuses on the entrepreneurial responsibility of toy producers in its tests. and

Fair play among producers as well The large majority of toys sold in Germany are produced in developing and threshold countries. In 2006, 70% of all toys sold in Germany came from abroad and two-thirds of those from China or Hong Kong. Fair working conditions and environmental safety are not always given sufficient attention in all of the countries in which our toys are produced. Minimum standards for working conditions and social responsibility, such as those relating to work safety and job security, are often much lower than in Germany. Internationally recognized standards such as the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) play only a secondary role at best. Through our demand for toys from low-wage countries, we contribute in part to the often poor working conditions in toy factories and to the negative environmental effects of toy production.

The fair spielt campaign

The fair spielt (fair plays) campaign sponsored by MISEREOR and the Werkstatt konomie promotes the application of socially compatible rules in toy production. Further information and a list of the companies which participate in the campaign is provided at:

The issue of child labour in football production was the focus of intensive discussion in the 1990s. Since 1997, an international organization has devoted itself to the task of inspecting and auditing factories and sewing centres. Today, child labour has largely disappeared from football production. But the problem remains in other industries.

Sport balls marketed in accordance with fair-trade principles

The FairTrade label awarded to food and cotton products marketed in accordance with the principles of fair trade (see page 15 and 20) also identifies sports balls traded in accordance with these principles. Further information and a list of certified retailers are provided at:

Learning and personal development through play Toys should inspire childrens imagination, encourage them to play different sorts of games and create links to their everyday world of experience. Ideally, toys can be upgraded by adding new parts or attachments and should consist of different forms and colours.


D a i l y s h o p p i n g | To y s

The general rule for quantity is that you should buy fewer high-quality toys rather than a lot of cheap products. When children play with a favourite toy for years, they develop a stronger relationship to it. They learn to treat the things they have come to love with care instead of simply throwing away toys they rarely touch. In many childrens rooms, toys are piled so high that they hardly have room on Good play
Tips on positive play value as well as good function and workmanship are provided at:

shelves or in drawers. The fun children share when being read to or during arts and crafts activities is more valuable to them than mountains of toys. Toys parents make themselves such as

home-made dolls or stuffed animals can have a very special place in childrens lives. When engaged in imaginative play, children are capable of creating their own toys and play worlds with a little help, if necessary.

Fun that lasts Robustness and durability are important criteria in the selection of toys. Look for strong material that wont break right away. Building blocks, railroad cars and animal figures made of wood are durable toys that children enjoy playing with over generations. And toys made of wood from sustainable forestry operations offer an added benefit. Look for the seal of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC). These seals are shown in the list of labels under Useful household items on page 39. Durable, robust toys can provide enjoyment for many children. Toy bazaars, flea markets and second-hand shops often buy toys that are still in good condition. They also offer you an opportunity to buy good toys that have proven their worth at very favourable prices.


Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction

Batteries, wrapping paper, cut flowers, text markers, clothespins and tooth brushes you have an opportunity to consider environmental aspects when buying many of the little things you need in your own household.

Admittedly, the decisions you make in purchasing these small household items will probably not have a major impact on the environment. But you should give careful thought to these purchases nonetheless. When you add them all up, you may realize you can make a difference after all. Special attention should be given to the issue of the disposability of certain household items. Batteries, paints, aggressive household cleaners, spray cans and pesticides, to mention only a few examples, do not belong in your household dustbin. These items can be properly disposed of at local recycling or reusable material collection points and can be returned to the point of sale in some cases. The waste and recycling guides published by your local public utility provider offer tips for the proper handling of problem waste. In terms of efficiency, durability and disposal, the LED light bulb should be given priority. The energy-saving light-bulb trick
A two-person household consumes roughly 400 kWh of electricity for lighting alone every year. That figure can be reduced to about 120 kWh by using light-bulbs that consume 80% less energy. And that translates into savings of 60 Euro for the household. Rule of thumb: Because they contain mercury, energysaving light bulbs must never be put in your household dustbin. A hazardous waste disposal point near you is listed at:


Daily shopping | Useful household items

Collection points for old CDs and DVDs Old CDs and DVDs are well suited for recycling. They consist for the most part of polycarbonate, a valuable plastic. You will find collection points for old CDs at retail stores, local disposal points and numerous other places, such as schools or universities. Information on collection points is provided at: and

Recyclable products are a sustainable alternative, particularly when it comes to paper and writing materials. That is why it is so important to dispose of paper in paper-recycling containers or at used-paper collection points. Wasteful use of paper products should be avoided both at home and at work. Despite the possibilities offered by communication technology, paper consumption is still extremely high The Pro Recyclingpapier initiative
provides information on all aspects of paper recycling and provides a sustainability calculator for office paper. This tool computes rawmaterial, water and energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions associated with the production of specific quantities of paper.

in many modern offices. One way to reduce paper consumption is to print on both sides of each sheet of paper. Another alternative is to use unneeded printed sheets as scratch paper.

Important labels and product symbols provide guidance on environmental friendliness when it comes to purchases of household items. Der Blaue Engel
Good for the environment Since 1978, Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) good for society has stood for a wide range of large and small useful household items that can be distinguished from similar products on the basis of their compliance with environmental criteria. The spectrum of products certified by Der Blaue Engel ranges from copier and printer paper to batteries to drinking-water carbonation units and baby monitors to charging equipment, milk foamers and toothbrushes. At you will find a complete list of the products and services awarded the Blauer Engel seal. You can also download information about the basis for award of the seal to a given product as well as a list of the requirements a product must meet for certification. An independent jury (the Eco-Seal Jury) selects the products and services to be awarded the Blauer Engel seal. The requirements are set by the Federal Environmental Agency in cooperation with RAL gGmbH. The requirements differ depending upon the type of product and apply in the case of some products to the entire product life-cycle, from raw-material production to manufacturing and processing to use and disposal. For certain products, emphasis is placed on the utility phase.


Useful items made of paper, cellulose and wood

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal, the European Eco-Label and the seal of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) are awarded to many products made of paper and cellulose: writing tablets, notebooks, copying and printing paper envelopes binders, folders adhesive notes, labels calendars wrapping paper boxes, packaging units paper towels, sanitary paper, filter paper napkins The FSC and PEFC seals are also awarded to small products made of wood, such as coathangers, clothespins and wooden toys. The FSC and PEFC seals and the European Eco-Label are described under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 52.

Energy-saving light-bulbs
Good for the environment European Energy Label good for society Energy-saving light bulbs are awarded the energy-consumption label. The European Energy Label is described under Household appliances climate-friendly cooling, washing and cooking on page 42.

Good for the environment Flower Label Program good for society When you buy fair-trade flowers, you help promote fair working and living conditions on flower farms in Latin America and East Africa. The FLP label takes both social and ecological criteria into account. There is a minimum environmental standard which must be met by all certified producers and suppliers from the outset and a higher standard based on stricter environmental criteria. A search engine you can use to find florists near your home that sell FLP-certified flowers is provided at: Good for the environment FairTrade good for society The FairTrade seal also identifies flowers marketed in accordance with the principles of fair trade. Further information on the FairTrade label is provided under Food healthy and delicious on page 15

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


Rare purchases
research pays off

Things we dont need every day dont appear on our daily shopping lists. Refrigerators, computers, wardrobes and travel are not consumer goods per se. We ordinarily invest more time and thought for these purchases than for the little things we need every day. The questions we typically ask are: Do I really need it? Are there significant differences in quality? What is the purchase price? Will there be additional operating and/or maintenance costs? Do I have to consider repairs and eventual disposal? Where can I buy what I want at the most favourable price? We recommend adding one more question to the list: What sustainable alternative products would also meet my needs? This question is not entirely new. For if you have already begun to think about the durability of a product and possible operating and/or maintenance costs, you are already on the right track. Sustainable products should have a long service life and thus offer substantial utility benefits. They should be made to last, i.e. of good quality, and they should not burden you with high operating/maintenance costs (e.g. energy consumption). Sustainable products do

not contain materials or ingredients which pose hazards to the environment, and they are produced under acceptable social conditions. When it comes to rare purchases, research even though it may take time and effort usually pays off.

Household appliances climate-friendly cooling, washing and cooking

Refrigerators, washing machines and ovens are loyal, long-time household companions that save us a great deal of work. No one wants to do without these useful helpers. But it is important to keep an eye on how much energy your appliances consume. By doing so, you help protect the climate and save money as well. The golden rule for household appliance Further information and purchasing tips
are provided by Stiftung Warentest, EcoTopTen and the EnergieEffizienz initiative. Among other useful information, these websites feature lists of energy-saving refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers and washing machines.

purchases: insist on low energy consumption The retail price of an appliance is not the only measure of its true cost. The operating and maintenance costs incurred during the life of the appliance must be factored in as well. An energy-saving refrigerator with an efficiency rating of A++ consumes electricity worth roughly 200 Euro during its entire service life. A comparable unit with a B rating uses three

times as much. Thus the higher price you pay for a new, energy-efficient refrigerator will be offset by savings within just a few years. Would you like to know how the costs of operating a refrigerator with an A++ rating compare to the costs of running your current model? Or do you want to compare the costs of two appliances you have in mind? Then perform a cost check at or a cooling check at Reducing energy consumption by major household appliances is especially worthwhile. Washing machines, ovens, dishwashers, dryers, refrigerators and freezers, and air-conditioning units consume over two-thirds of the electricity required to run your household. Refrigerators and freezers alone account for 29% of total power consumption.

Energy-efficient appliances are terrific. A few simple rules also help me save energy: I turn the temperature setting on the refrigerator down one level, boil water for noodles in an electric water-heater and turn off the stove a bit sooner in order to take advantage of residual heat. I dont need a freezer at home. The freezing compartment in the refrigerator meets my needs. Fresh food tastes better than frozen anyway, so I prefer to buy only what I need at a given time.
Ren Steinbach, cook

Rare purchases | Household appliances

And what else should you consider?

The size of an appliance plays an important role in energy consumption. Small units, such as a 3-kg washing machine, for example, are sufficient for single households. Generally speaking, the refrigerator temperature need not be lower than 7C. If storing perishable food such as fresh meat, it is advisable to lower the refrigerator temperature to 4C. A refrigerator is made up of various cooling zones for the ideal storage of food. A list of links can be found at: Ovens never need to be preheated. Additional tips are provided under Washing and cleaning environmental awareness pays off on pages 28f.

Save over 300 Euro on your electricity bill with efficient appliances and by following a few simple tips
90 Euro 80 Euro 70 Euro 60 Euro

30 Euro

energysaving light bulbs

refrigerators and freezers

reduced stand-by consumption

heating system circulation pumps

television set

Source: Initiative EnergieEffizienz, dena

Consumers recognize energy-saving electrical appliances by the EU Energy label. The colourful sticker provides power and water consumption data and also lists such characteristics as refrigerator volume capacity as well as washing machine capacity and cleaning and drying performance. The energy-efficiency class must be indicated for major household appliances. If you dont find appliances bearing the EU Energy label at your local retail store, ask for assistance. The European Energy label is issued for refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, electric ovens, room air-conditioning units and light bulbs.

Energy efficiency
Good for the environment good for society The EU Energy label classifies appliances on a scale of energy-efficiency classes from A (very low energy consumption) through G (extremely high energy consumption). Please note: An efficiency rating of A++ for refrigerators and freezers indicates the highest level of energy efficiency. Appliances with A++ ratings consume 25% less energy than Class A appliances. The majority of household appliances on the market today meet the requirements for Class A or higher on the basis of the original definitions for the different energy-efficiency classes. Consequently, the EU Energy label is now undergoing revision and will be adapted to current technological standards by 2011. The scope of the system will also be expanded to include other products, such as television sets.

Television, computers, etc. saving energy the natural way

Television sets in Germany are turned on for an average of four hours per day. Roughly half of the power consumed during that period is wasted, since many people leave their sets on even when they are not watching them. Trendy flat-screen TV sets also consume more energy than conventional tube sets, and their picture quality is not as good. LED-backlit LCD monitors are the only exception, although RGB-LED with red, green and blue light diodes also offer outstanding picture quality. Total annual CO2 emissions resulting from the use of IT and CT equipment in Germany are comparable to those generated by aircraft. Take a careful look at how you use your television set and computer. Youre likely to realize that you can save both electricity and money. The following are important points to consider in the interest of environmentally friendly and socially responsible use of computers and entertainment electronics equipment: power consumption when running and in the stand-by mode, equipment disposal and recycling and working conditions for people involved in production. In addition, several labels and symbols can help you reduce the amount of electricity your equipment consumes. Its not really off unless its turned off! More than 22 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are wasted every year through no-load losses from audio, video and computer systems in offices and households. That is the equivalent of the annual output of three nuclear power plants. This unnecessary power consumption costs consumers more than 4 billion Euro. Disconnect equipment from the power source when it is not in use. Either use power Little things that can make a big difference
Identify the electrical power gluttons in your household with the aid of an ammeter. These devices can be rented from consumer information centres, energy suppliers or DIY markets. Equipment units that do not have a real on/off switch can be disconnected from the power source via a power outlet strip equipped with such a switch. Charging stations for electric toothbrushes also generate unnecessary costs in the stand-by mode. So here as well, pull the plug when the station is not in use. Make sure you disconnect chargers for notebooks, mobile phones and digital cameras from the power source after charging.


R a r e p u r c h a s e s | Te l e v i s i o n , c o m p u t e r s , e t c .

outlet strips that can be switched off or simply pull the plug. You can save about 70 Euro per year by consistently turning off your hi-fi system, your PC and monitor, your television set and your DVD recorder. To reduce computer power consumption during brief pauses during the work day, activate the power-saving feature on your computer. Instructions are provided at:

Ecological Search Engines

Ecological search engines offer an alternative to conventional search engines as the supplier donates money to an ecological project for every search entry made. A list of current suppliers is provided in our list of links at:

Computers have become an indispensable part of everyday life. It is important to consider the issue of power consumption when you purchase a computer and then to take consistent advantage of the energy-saving features it offers. That helps protect the climate and your pocketbook.
Dr. Mario Tobias, Bitkom Dispose of old equipment properly Keep in mind that computers, television sets and mobile phones that have outlived their usefulness do not belong in the household dustbin. These old devices contain numerous toxic substances, such as lead, mercury, PVCs and softeners. The Elektro- und ElektronikgerteGesetz (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, ElektroG) in force since 2006 entitles you to turn in used equipment at local recycling collection points. Different types of electrical and electronic equipment are collected separately at these locations so that valuable materials such as metals and plastics can be recycled and toxic or hazardous materials can be disposed of in compliance with environmental safety regulations. Several environmental organizations, such as the Naturschutzbund (Nature Conservation Union, NABU) and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid Association, DUH) have set up collection points for old mobile phones. By turning in your old mobile phone at one of these collection points, you make a contribution to nature conservation and environmental protection. These initiatives are outgrowths of cooperation between environmental organizations and mobile telephone suppliers. The participating environmental organizations receive a specified amount of money for every unit collected. The general rule to keep in mind is that the longer a mobile phone or other electronic device is used, the better. Dont go along with every passing fad. Consider the possibility of having your computer repaired or upgraded or selling equipment you no longer need via the Internet.

ReUse Computer
If you want to have your used computer brought back to life for further use, you can turn it in to ReUse Computer. This association of business enterprises and private citizens removes sensitive data and then repairs and sells operable computers or arranges for disposal in accordance with environmental safety regulations.

Using electronic equipment such as television sets and especially computers as long as possible helps combat illegal trade in highly toxic electrical scrap. The victims of these dubious business activities are the people who sort through mountains of trash in search of hazardous materials with no protection at all. Working conditions in electronic equipment production The toxic substances that make the separate disposal and collection of electronic equipment absolutely necessary are equally problematic during the production phase. Working conditions in many production plants, particularly in the computer industry, are unacceptable. Long hours, low wages, insufficient protecCorporate social responsibility (CSR)
Stiftung Warentest has tested manufacturers of flatscreen televisions with respect to the manner in which they exercise corporate responsibility. Only five of twelve suppliers demonstrated recognizable social and environmental commitment. The easiest way to find the CSR tests is to search at:

tion for people who handle chemicals and questionable employment contracts (or no such contracts at all) are the rule, rather than the exception, in China, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines, where many of our computers are manufactured.

Important labels and symbols for electronic equipment Several labels and symbols can be helpful to purchasers of electronic products.
The Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) label for office equipment and computers and the European Eco-Label for television sets are awarded to equipment with a low negative environmental impact. Further information on Der Blaue Engel is provided under Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction on page 38. The European Eco-Label is described under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 51. Good for the environment The TCO label good for society Monitors, notebooks, printers and keyboards which meet strict requirements for power consumption, ergonomic workstations, environmental safety and component recyclability in accordance with current technological standards are awarded the TCO label. The twodigit number on the label identifies the year in which the testing criteria were set. Good for the environment Energy Star good for society The Energy Star identifies energy-saving PCs, monitors, printers, fax machines, copiers, scanners and multi-purpose equipment units. The new criteria in force since 2007 include requirements for power consumption in the rest, stand-by and no-load modes.

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


Rare purc hases | Travel

Travel recreation and exploration

We want to relax and enjoy ourselves as much as possible during our holidays. Some people prefer summer holidays at the beach, while others would rather spend a few weeks in the mountains during the winter. Some want to be as active as possible; others are more interested in rest, peace and quiet. Germans have been world champions for years when it comes to travel. And many people also travel regularly for business purposes. Here are a few tips for planning a holiday trip that will not have a negative impact on the environment or the people at your holiday destination. Travel by bus or rail whenever possible. Discover one of the many attractive nearby holiday destinations. Treat people and nature with respect at your holiday destination.

Getting from A to B how long, how far, and by what means? Holiday travel does have a downside as well: the greenhouse gases that are emitted above all while travelling to and from your destination gases that are known to accelerate climate change. Thus the environmental impact of travel and the climate footprint we leave behind are determined primarily by the means of transportation we choose. Long-distance air travel releases tremendous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. So why not consider travelling by rail instead of driving your own car or flying on long-distance trips? There are good night-train connections between many German and European cities, for example. You can also take a motorail train an alternative that lets you travel long distances without stress and negative environmental impact while ensuring you full mobility at your holiday destination. 5,2 kg 3,2 kg
An airliner generates the largest amount of CO2 emissions per 100 km.*

36,9 kg 14,4 kg

* Moreover, the impact of CO2 emissions generated by medium- and long-distance flights is even 2.7 times higher on average, as the pollutants are directly dispersed into the layers of the atmosphere.


good question

Choose air travel for long trips only. The train is the better choice for shorter distances. A bicycle trip to a nearby holiday location or a combination of rail and bicycle travel offers a unique experience. People who want to save time and thus prefer to fly even on short-distance trips should take an honest look at the time it takes to get from door to

Holiday travel by air?

Is it still possible to fly on holidays with a clear conscience? Rule of thumb: Yes. But the important thing is to travel by air only if there is no acceptable alternative and you have at least two weeks to spend at your holiday destination. If you insist on flying, you can make a donation to a climate-protection project as a way of compensating for your share of the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more at: 9&L=3 or

door using different means of transportation. The time you save by flying short distances is often offset by long waits and travel time to the airport. Your choice destination and means of transportation should depend on how much time you have for your trip. If you travel by air, you should have at least two weeks to spend at your destination. If you only have a few days of holiday time, you may want to select a destination closer to home.

Example: Skiing in Austria*

Winter sports involve lots of physical activity in the fresh air. Popular holiday spots in Austria, Switzerland and Germany are conveniently accessible by rail. Try environmentally friendly sports that have no negative impact on the climate, such as snowshoe hiking or cross-country skiing. medium Look for the Viabono or Biohotel symbols when selecting accommodations. climate Use ski shuttle buses to get around at your destination. footprint

* Three examples for vacation trips with different ecological footprints demonstrate the estimated amount of CO2 emissions for a comparable trip. For further information on the ecological footprint see the WWF brochure Der touristische Klima-Fuabdruck (The tourists ecological footprint). There you find exact calculations for the CO2 emissions of different types of vacation trips.

Environmentally friendly business travel A general rule for business travel: Modern means of communication, such as the telephone and video or Internet conferences, can often serve as a good substitute for personal meetings. If a business trip is unavoidable, you should opt for the most environmentally friendly means of transportation. Pick a meeting location that is as convenient as possible for all participants. Numerous tips for business travel with limited negative environmental impact are contained in the VCD guide entitled Geschftsreisen (Business Travel). The railroad offers a number of advantages for people who regularly travel longer distances. Commuters who travel to and from work by train arrive more relaxed and can use the time to read. It is also worth the effort to compare costs. Rail travel is often less expensive than driving if you consider all the costs of owning and operating a car. [See also: Your own car climate-conscious driving]

Rare purc hases | Travel

Explore Germany Opportunities for recreation, exciting experiences and adventures are available not only in distant lands but close to home as well. Why not spend your next holidays in Germany or a neighbouring country, where new discoveries await you. Nature sports guarantee you wonderful holiday memories. Have you ever explored Germanys rivers and lakes in a canoe? Have you ever traversed snow-covered landscapes on cross-country skis? Or sailed from island to island along the coast of Germany? Germany and its neighbouring countries offer abundant attractive places for cycling or hiking holidays. Example: Cycling and hiking holidays
When you ride a bicycle or walk, you are not only protecting the environment but also making an active contribution to your own health and well-being. And you are also in closer contact with people and places. Rail travel is a good choice for either alternative. Ideas and tips for tour planning are provided at: small Look for the Viabono or Biohotel symbols climate footprint when selecting accommodations.

Show respect for nature and people while on holiday Make an effort to act responsibly toward the people who live wherever you spend your holidays. Respect the customs and moral standards that prevail in other countries. Travel is more fun when you immerse yourself in the culture of your host country. And be sure to pay fairly for the services you receive. Example: Holidays in Mexico
Distant travel destinations promise exotic experiences and adventures. When you immerse yourself in a foreign culture in search of new impressions, it is wise to observe the following tips: Look for sustainable travel and tour providers in this situation as well. Set aside enough time to become truly acquainted with the foreign country and its people. Show consideration for the people and the natural environment at your travel destination. large Make a donation as a way of compensating for your share of the greenhouse gases emitted climate footprint during your flight.

A healthy, intact natural environment is an absolute prerequisite for enjoyable, relaxing holidays. With that in mind, you should look for environmentally friendly accommodations at which energy and water consumption is low. Many excellent, environment-conscious hotels and guesthouses are available today. Inform yourself about the environmental impact of sports activities and choose sports that require little water and energy especially when travelling in arid regions. People planning a golf holiday, for example, should keep in mind when choosing a destination that golf course watering is much more critical in dry regions, such as southern Spain, than in Central Europe. Looking for tour operators with a sustainability management system?
There are tourism companies out there which actively practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their daily business. If a company establishes a sustainability management system, it can apply to TourCert to be audited and certified. A list of certified, CSR-approved enterprises is available at:


Fahrtziel Natur
This is a cooperative programme initiated by the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) and several environmental organizations (BUND, NABU, VCD and WWF). The objective is to promote awareness of attractive holiday locations in Germany and to encourage more people to opt for rail travel. As the Fahrtziel Natur (Travelling to Nature) seal is not awarded on the basis of guidelines or a set of specific criteria, an evaluation of the underlying social and environmental criteria is not possible.

Important symbols and sources of information for travellers There is no label or symbol that takes all of the aspects of sustainable travel mentioned above into account. However, you may find several symbols and sources of information relating to specific topics (e.g. selecting accommodations or alternatives to travelling by car) that can be helpful as you plan your trip.

Good for the environment good for society Viabono This is a travel portal for environmentally friendly, high-quality tourist services. The kitchens of Viabono hotels and guesthouses serve regional products and organic vegetables grown in their own gardens. Guesthouse architecture conforms to principles of environmental protection. Good for the environment good for society Biohotels This is an association of hotels managed in accordance with principles of sustainability. Strong emphasis is placed on serving only organic foods. These hotels cooperate closely with local organic farmers. Good for the environment good for society European Eco-Label This label is awarded to hotels, guesthouses and camping sites which limit both energy and water consumption and waste production, promote environmental awareness and communication on environmental issues and give preference to renewable raw materials and environmentally safe substances. Further information on the EU Eco-Label is provided under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 51. Good for the environment good for society cdm Gold Standard a quality standard for CO2 compensation projects The goal of the Gold Standard is to ensure that CO2 compensation projects actually contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The certifying agency also evaluates the extent to which these projects actually contribute to promoting sustainable development in the countries in question.

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


Rare purc hases | Renovation

Renovation avoiding toxic materials

Emissions of toxic substances from paints and enamels, carpeting and wallpaper can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and skin. There are several things you can do to help achieve a healthy room climate: air out rooms regularly and select safe, environmentally friendly products for use in renovation projects. These include low-emission wall paints and enamels, wallpaper made of recycled paper and floor coverings that pose no health hazards and have been produced under fair conditions. Low-emission painting benefits the environment and your health When purchasing wall paint and enamel, look for low-emission products that contain a minimum of toxic substances. By using low-emission paint and enamel containing no harmful substances, you make a significant contribution to the environment and your own health and well-being. Wallpaper made of recycled paper conserving resources and creating a healthy room climate Select wallpaper products made of recycled paper that contain no chlorine or softeners. By using recycled wallpaper, you conserve resources and help reduce the negative environmental effects associated with cellulose production. Furthermore, ingrain or wood-chip wallpaper is especially breathable and thus has a positive effect on room climate. Some wallpapers contain PVC softeners, although this is not immediately evident because their presence is not revealed by such terms as vinyl, CV or VC. Select products that do not contain softeners and polyethylene or polypropylene (PE/PP). Non-woven fabric wallpaper offers a viable alternative to paper and ingrain wallpaper. This type of wallpaper consists of cellulose and textile fibre and contains no formaldehyde, PVCs or other softeners.

People looking for a 100% organic alternative

for interior painting can opt for limestone-, caseinor silicate-based paints instead of the commonly used dispersion paints.

Fair, environmentally safe carpeting and floor coverings Select durable floor coverings that pose no health hazards and have been produced in accordance with minimum standards of social responsibility. Floor coverings made of wood, tiles, linoleum or cork are usually more durable than carpeting. But you should also be aware that particle dust levels in rooms with smooth floors are four times as high as those in rooms in which dust is captured by carpeting. The general rule is that the materials used should be non-toxic or contain only a minimum concentration of harmful substances. In addition, you should also consider social criteria when making purchasing decisions. One label that stands for compliance with minimum standards of social responsibility in the production process is the Rugmark seal for hand-knotted carpets. Important symbols and labels for renovation products A number of different seals and symbols identify products which facilitate health-conscious and environmentally safe renovation.

Good for the environment good for society Der Blaue Engel Numerous products used in renovation projects bear the seal of Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel), including low-emission wall paints, enamels with low harmful substance concentrations, wallpaper and wood-chip wall coverings made primarily of recycled paper, wood products and various types of floor covering. Further information on Der Blaue Engel is provided under Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction on page 38. Good for the environment natureplus good for society The natureplus label is issued for floor coverings, wood and wood materials, wall paints, enamels and varnishes. It is also awarded for various building materials (e.g. roof tiles, insulation made of renewable raw materials and wood-chip and fibreboard panels). Products which bear this label pose no health hazards and have been produced in accordance with environmental safety standards (e.g. low energy consumption, reduced emissions and waste, sustainable raw-material production, environmentally sound disposal and recycling concepts). The certification criteria were developed by independent experts from testing institutes, environmental organizations and consumer protection associations in cooperation with representatives of the business community. Good for the environment European Eco-Label good for society The European Eco-Label is awarded for hard floor coverings, paints, enamels and varnishes. It is also issued for numerous other products, such as textiles and shoes, washing and cleaning agents, household appliances, television sets and computers. The requirements for award of the label are developed at the European level in cooperation with various stakeholders. The Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environmental Agency) and RAL gGmbH are responsible for awarding the label in Germany. The requirements a product must meet in order to receive the European Eco-Label differ from one product group to another. In some cases, they apply to the entire product life-cycle. In others, they focus on specific aspects. A list of requirements for all product groups is provided at:


Rare purc hases | Renovation

Good for the environment eco-INSTITUT good for society The eco-INSTITUT label identifies wood flooring products, laminate and panels that have been tested for toxic substances and emissions and classified as safe for health. The criteria include a ban on certain hazardous materials and limits for specified substance (e.g. formaldehyde) and odour emissions. An FSC certificate is required for products containing tropical wood. Good for the environment The FSC seal good for society The FSC seal (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international seal of quality for wood products from socially responsible, environmentally sound forestry operations. Products are evaluated according to demanding, verifiable social, environmental and economic standards developed for the purpose of combating illegal logging and forest abuse. The German FSC standard published in the Internet describes worldwide principles and requirements for forest management in operations which produce wood awarded the FSC seal. Individual requirements are specified in the FSC standards applicable to German forestry operations. Certified suppliers are audited annually by an independent organization. Good for the environment good for society The PEFC-Seal The seal of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) identifies wood products from sustainable forestry operations. The German PEFC standards place particular emphasis on the needs of small forestry operations in Germany, many of which are family-owned businesses. The condition of a given forest is evaluated on the basis of environmental standards. Following this evaluation, a firm is entitled to apply for the seal after submitting a voluntary declaration of consent to random inspections. Good for the environment good for society Naturland The Naturland seal stands for wood products produced in accordance with environmental safety standards. Strict environmental criteria are applied and relate, for example, to the origin and processing of wood components. Good for the environment GuT-Signet good for society The GuT-Signet identifies environmentally friendly carpeting that has been tested for harmful substances, odours and emissions. The criteria for award of the signet also include compliance with environmental safety standards during the production process (air and water purity, etc.).

Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


M aj o r p u r c h a s e s
carefully considered for sustainable value
People rarely buy new cars on the spur of the moment. And a new heating system is a once-ina-lifetime purchase for most homeowners. We all have to save for these major purchases, and we want our investment to be worthwhile. When we buy a new heating system, we want to know how long it will take to recover the costs. In the case of a new car, most of us are most concerned with the issue of fuel consumption, while the actual costs, such as motor vehicle insurance, repairs and expenditures for infrastructure maintenance, play a secondary role in our deliberations. But sustainable consumption also means taking long-term costs and consumption rates into account. In the face of rising costs for energy and water, we should select products that offer a return over their entire life-cycle. Major purchases offer perhaps the most compelling evidence of the benefits of sustainable consumption.


M a j o r p u r c h a s e s | Yo u r o w n c a r

Your own car climate-conscious driving

As the favourite child of most Germany, the automobile plays a very important role in the mobility mix. Most people today can hardly image life without a car. Added to this is the lack of adequate infrastructure and attractive public transportation options in many places. Thus it is quite difficult to get along without a car in many parts of the country. Yet this practical and individual means of transportation has its downside as well. Motor vehicles are responsible for roughly 20% of CO2 emissions in Germany in addition to particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, low-lying ozone, noise, land consumption and traffic fatalities. The two following tips will help you reduce the negative environmental impact of driving your car: Give precedence to fuel consumption and appropriate size when purchasing a car. Evaluate your own driving behaviour and adapt it to the principle of defensive driving.

Which car is right for me? Save fuel and money! An important aspect of climate-conscious driving is the choice of the right car. Total CO2 emissions from passenger vehicles could be reduced by 40% by 2020 if everyone switched to more economical models. That equates to a savings of 40 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Look for low fuel consumption when buying your next car. Cars with a consumption of 3 litres per 100 km are already available, and 1-litre models are a real possibility. 5-litre cars with CO2 emissions of 120 g per kilometre suitable for families are available in the market as well. good question

Strict CO2 emission limits only a dream?

Rule of thumb: Look for a new car with the lowest possible CO2 emission rating the next time you buy. Insist on a maximum of 120 g per kilometre, even though this limit is not yet prescribed by law. Experts expect that such a strict maximum limit will be enacted sooner or later. And then owning a car that generates higher CO2 emissions can become quite expensive.


Many drivers are not aware that tyres play an important role in fuel consumption. You should check your tyre pressure regularly. When pressure is too low, roll-resistance increases and fuel consumption rises accordingly.

A guide for car purchasing decisions

is the VCD Auto-Umweltliste (Car and Environment List). Each year, the VCD tests 300 current passenger vehicle models and evaluates them in terms of environmental compatibility. The list also tells you which manufacturers consider environmentalsafety aspects most effectively in automobile production. A useful overview of the market for fuel-saving, economical models is provided at the EcoTopTen information portal, which presents a selection of compact cars, family vehicles and minivans that offer significant environmental benefits, a good price-performance ratio and high quality.

Reassess your own driving behaviour CO2 emissions in Germany could be reduced by roughly 5 million tonnes per year if people adopted economical, climate-conscious driving habits. Reassess your own driving style and use the slogan drive with foresight as your guide. With the aid of a few simple tricks you can reduce fuel consumption, drive more safely and save money at the same time. The first thing to consider is that your cars environmental balance sheet improves in proportion to the number of people who share in its use. Leave the car at home as often as possible and use other means of transportation for short trips. [See also: Short trips without your car!] Taking a taxi from time to time or using a ride-sharing service for longer trips are economical, environmentally friendly alternatives to driving your own car. Be gentle with your gas pedal and turn the engine off at stoplights. Quick gear-shifting and driving at low rpm in city traffic saves fuel and protects both your engine and the environment. Drivers who consistently run their engines at 2,000 rpm can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%. Luggage and other loads increase fuel consumption. An unused ski or bicycle rack can cost up to one litre of fuel every 100 kilometres. You can save up to 175 Euro per year simply by removing it. Hauling extra loads in the boot also increases fuel consumption. Wide tyres and vehicle power gluttons such as air-conditioning systems can also increase fuel consumption by up to 1.8 litres every 100 kilometres. You can also avoid negative environmental effects when washing and maintaining your car. Look for the Blauer Engel symbol at car washes.

Detailed tips
on fuel-conserving driving are provided by the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (German Traffic Club, VCD; and the Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environmental Agency; Automobileassociations offer training courses in environmentally safe driving.


Major purc hases | Buy g reen electricity

Buy green electricity and help protect the climate

Using green electricity is one of the best ways to improve your personal climate balance sheet. On average, the production of a kilowatt hour of electricity generates 530 g of CO2 and 0.001 g of radioactive waste. Electricity from renewable energy sources is virtually CO2-free, which means that the average household can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,800 kg per year by switching to green electricity. By way of comparison, operating a car for one year generates 2,000 kg of CO2 on average. As more consumers switch to green electricity, the proportional contribution of renewable energy to the total electrical power mix in Germany will rise accordingly. An important tip for purchasers of electricity look for green electricity labels! Electrical power products awarded the Grner Strom Label (Green Electricity Label), the ok-power label or one of the TV-Zeichen fr Strom aus erneuerbaren Energien (TV Seal for Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources) come from renewable energy sources. The electrical power mix is composed of different proportional quantities of electricity generated by wind, water, solar energy, biomass and geothermal energy. Some green electricity suppliers draw part of their electrical power from highly-efficient local combined heat and power plants. Although these plants use fossil fuels, they generate both electricity and heat. Electricity products awarded a green electricity label must not be mixed with electricity from nuclear or coal power plants. good question Some power suppliers offer green electrical power products produced primarily in large hydroelectric power plants in other countries. This has little impact on the German electrical power mix and thus has only a minimal effect on CO2 emissions. That is why you should look for the green electricity label. When you purchase electricity from a supplier who has been awarded the Grner Strom Take a close look at your electric bill
Since December 2005, all energy suppliers are required by law to disclose the details of their electrical power mix. Consumers can find information about the composition of the electricity they use, to include CO2 emissions and radioactive waste, on their electric bills.

Is nuclear power sustainable?

In the face of progressive climate change, more and more people now favour the use of nuclear energy. Is this electricity as sustainable as green electricity? Rule of thumb: Green electricity is the best alternative, because it is generated from renewable energy sources. Uranium, which is used to generate electricity in nuclear power plants, is a limited, finite resource, and the disposal of radioactive waste poses significant safety risks.


Label or ok-power label, you can be sure that your supplier supports additional plants which use renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly combined power and heat systems. And by the way, you can also find outstanding green electricity offers that are even less expensive than conventional electrical power. In some regions, switching to a green EcoTopTen
The EcoTopTen information portal provides a good overview of the market for green electricity. The list presents products with enhanced environmental benefits, a good price-performance ratio and high quality. EcoTopTen lists suppliers who promote the construction of environmentally friendly power plants and sell electrical power at prices that are either lower or only slightly higher than those for conventional electrical power.

power supplier can yield savings of up to 153 Euro per year for a family of four. Above and beyond the benefits of using green electricity, you should also keep in mind that the most environmentally friendly way to use energy is not to use it at all, and the most economical electrical appliance is one that is turned off. Seven large power plants in Germany could be shut down if every household consistently reduced its energy consumption.

Important product labels and symbols for green electricity The following labels can help you select the right green electricity supplier for you.
Good for the environment The Grner Strom Label (GSL) good for society The Grner Strom Label (Green Electricity Label, GSL) identifies electrical power derived from renewable energy sources or combined power and heat plants. The price of these products includes a special surcharge of at least 1 Euro-Cent per kilowatt hour to support the construction of power plants that produce green electricity. The GSL guarantees a verifiable expansion of electrical power production from renewable energy sources in Germany. Products awarded this seal must also meet strict requirements for the environmental compatibility of electrical power plants. Good for the environment EnergieVision ok-power good for society ok-power identifies electricity generated from renewable energy sources or combined power and heat plants. Suppliers awarded this label must also prove that they promote the construction of new green electrical power plants. A portion of the electricity must come from plants no older than six or twelve years and built after enactment of the Erneuerbare-Energie-Gesetz (Renewable Energy Act, EEG) (supplier model). Alternatively, customers of these suppliers support the expansion of renewable energy to promote the production of electricity in plants located outside the EEC by paying a surcharge in addition to the normal price (fund model). Products awarded this seal must also meet strict requirements for the environmental compatibility of electrical power plants. Good for the environment TV (EE01, EE02, UE01, UE02) good for society The TV seals EE01, EE02, UE01 and UE02 identify electricity produced from renewable energy sources whose suppliers promote the expansion of renewable energy use. Please note: When considering electrical power products awarded a TV seal, it is important to know the purpose for which the seal was awarded. In addition to the certificates described above, the TV also awards other seals that pertain in some cases to secondary matters, such as compliance with price guarantees.


Major purc hases | Fur nishing wit h pleasure

Furnishing with pleasure quality that lasts

When we furnish our homes, we are designing our own living environment. Regardless of personal taste functional, plain, elegant or striking the furniture we surround ourselves with influences our sense of well-being. To ensure that this sense of well-being is not impaired by toxic substances and emissions, it is important to consider environmental and social criteria when purchasing furniture and mattresses. Furnishings should never pose health risks. Beds, cupboards, tables and chairs should have as little negative environmental impact as possible during production, in the home, and when they are disposed of. Moreover, solid-wood furniture has a positive influence on room climate. Key components of a healthy, environmentally friendly living environment are durable, low-emission furniture and upholstery, furniture made from renewable raw materials and mattresses with low toxic substance content.

Furniture healthy and good for the environment Emphasize durability and health aspects when buying furniture. Important features of highquality furniture include comfort, durability in the case of cupboards and kitchen furniture, and especially strength and stability in the case of childrens furniture. Choosing this kind of furniture not only enhances your own safety but helps conserve resources and reduce bulky waste. Furniture which emits harmful vapours can impair room climate and cause allergic reactions. Therefore, you should make sure that the furniture you buy has been tested for emissions and odours. Furniture manufactured in accordance with environmental and social criteria contains no toxic substances, and the distances between raw-material harvesting sites, production plants and furniture stores are as short as possible. That helps reduce CO2 emissions. By buying furniture produced in accordance with standards of environmental safety and social responsibility, you also support small and mid-sized businesses in Germany or neighbouring European countries which quite often take their entrepreneurial responsibility very seriously and whose products conform to European standards.


Furniture materials renewable raw materials You should give preference to furniture made of renewable materials, such as wood, wool and cotton. When buying wood furniture, which should be made of solid wood if possible, you should also ensure that only natural materials Good climate balance sheet
Wood furniture manufactured in accordance with environmental criteria has a very good climate balance sheet, since its disposal generates but the same amount of CO2 emissions as the naturally grown raw material has previously extracted from the atmosphere.

were used in surface treatment and finishing. One important quality criterion for cotton, which is used in chair and sofa upholstery, for example, is that it is organically grown. [See also: Textiles dressing fairly, looking good]

Mattresses tested for toxic substance content As you make your bed, so you must lie in it. Purchase low-emission mattresses made of materials that pose no health hazards. People in Germany spend an average of seven hours per day in bed. Thus it is no wonder that chemical vapours from mattresses quite often cause health problems, since people are exposed to them for extended periods of time. Unpleasant odours resulting from emissions can disrupt sleep and impair our sense of well-being. Important symbols and labels on furniture and furnishings A number of seals and labels facilitate the task of making socially and environmentally sound decisions when buying furniture and furnishings.

Good for the environment good for society Der Blaue Engel Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) identifies low-emission upholstered furniture, mattresses tested for toxic substance content and products made of wood. Further information on Der Blaue Engel is provided under Useful household items energy efficiency and waste reduction on page 38. Good for the environment European Eco-Label good for society The European Eco-Label is issued for mattresses. This seal is described in greater detail under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 51. Good for the environment koControl good for society The koControl (Environmental Control) seal is awarded for furniture, upholstered furniture and mattresses. The criteria for award of the seal include the use of wood from sustainable forestry operations and raw materials that contain no pesticides, herbicides or other harmful substances. The koControl seal is used only by members of the Verband kologischer Einrichtungshuser (Association of Environmentally Friendly Furniture Stores).


Major purc hases | Fur nishing wit h pleasure

Good for the environment The FSC seal good for society The seal of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is issued for a number of furnishing items made of wood and wood products which originate in sustainable forestry operations. Further information on the FSC seal is provided under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 52. Good for the environment The PEFC seal good for society The seal of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) is awarded to wood products from sustainable forestry operations. The PEFC seal is described in greater detail under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 52. Good for the environment Naturland good for society The Naturland seal stands for wood products produced in accordance with principles of environmental safety. These products are evaluated on the basis of strict criteria, including specific requirements pertaining to the origin and processing of the wood. They also meet basic social requirements. Good for the environment good for society eco-INSTITUT The eco-INSTITUT label identifies such products as mattresses (latex, foam and spring mattresses and other types of mattresses) and furniture (solid-wood, coated and uncoated wood-material panels and furniture with textile or leather upholstery). The eco-INSTITUT label is described in greater detail under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on page 52. Good for the environment good for society GOODWEAVE The GoodWeave seal identifies hand-knotted carpets produced in compliance with minimum standards of social responsibility, including the ban on child labour and the payment of the standard minimum wage in the country of origin. Another requirement for award of the seal is consent to unannounced audits. In autumn 2009 it has replaced the Rugmark seal.


Seal assessment
Comprehensive environmental criteria Basic environmental criteria No or minimal environmental criteria Comprehensive social criteria Basic social criteria No or minimal social criteria

A detailed explanation of the classification of environmental and social criteria is provided on page 19.


In your own home saving money while protecting the climate

More and more people are able to realize the dream of owning their own house or flat today. Those who dream of a home of their own in the country should look ahead to the future. When the children leave home, for instance, they will find themselves confronted with different issues than those that face a young family looking for a new home. At that point such matters as the distance from doctors surgeries, shopping opportunities, friends and cultural offerings suddenly take on new importance. Once the decision to buy a new house or flat has been taken, it is important to consider a number of other questions. The location of the house or flat is of fundamental importance and is relevant to considerations of climate as well. When distances increase, mobility devours more energy and ones share of infrastructure maintenance costs grows larger. Climate-friendly building materials, technologies and construction standards not only contribute to climate protection but also reduce home heating costs dramatically. Moreover, the owners of homes and flats are quite likely to be eligible for subsidies for additional insulation, a solar energy system or compliance with low-energy standards. Even those who rent can save money by carrying out minor modernization measures and using energy conservatively. Important aspects to consider with regard to new construction and the refurbishing of older buildings include: low-energy standards and the passive-building standard, building-material selection, insulation, heating, windows and subsidies.

The term passive house

is not protected by copyright. We urgently recommend seeking professional advice. Information on the passivehouse standard is provided at:


Major purc hases | In your own home

German Sustainable Building Council

The DGNB certificate is a tool developed from practice for the straightforward assessment and planning of sustainable buildings. It covers the following fields of sustainable building: ecology, economics, sociocultural and functional aspects, technology, processes, and site. You can get more information on the web:

Building standards for reduced energy consumption People who live in a passive house consume up to 90% less heating energy than occupants of an average old building and about 75% less than they would in a new house built without a low-energy concept. The idea is appealingly simple: The house is so well insulated that conventional radiator heating systems are superfluous. The most important sources of heat are the sun, human body heat and the heat radiated by electrical appliances. A ventilation system with a heat-recovery feature ensures sufficient air exchange even when windows are closed. And because windows are not opened, heat loss during the winter months is reduced. Reducing energy consumption
Informations on the topic of energy consumption in existing buildings and specific explanations about the Energy Passport are provided by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (German Energy Agency, dena).

The energy saved by occupants of a passive house as compared to an average singlefamily home has a noticeable impact on the household budget. These savings can add up to 20,000 Euro or more over the course of 20 years. If you want to purchase a new home rather than build it yourself, you should pay close

attention to the energy consumption and heating data entered in the Energy Passport. An average old building consumes about three times as much heating energy as a new house. And the potential savings are correspondingly high. It is entirely possible to reduce energy consumption for home heating by upgrading your heating and hot-water systems and installing modern building technology. The seal of quality for low-energy buildings
This seal is awarded for buildings with especially low energy requirements. The seal provides building clients and building purchasers reliable proof of the overall energy quality of a building and the significantly lower levels of heating energy consumption they can expect as a result.

Housing, including heating, hot water, lighting and building construction, accounts for about 41% of total energy consumption. Poorly insulated buildings are responsible for part of that figure. A rental or purchase contract should not be signed until the potential occupant is fully informed about all secondary costs. The best approach is to ask for the Energy Passport, and specifically the Energy Performance Certificate. The Energy Consumption Certificate (which is still accepted) does not provide enough information and potential buyers or renters should not rely on it.
Dr. Rainer Griehammer, ko-Institut

Insulation pleasant, comfortable warmth instead of cold draughts Heating costs can be reduced by 30 to 40% by installing appropriate insulation. Comfort increases as costs decrease, for a well-insulated living area is pleasantly warm rather than cold and draughty. A number of different installation methods are available, one of which is exterior wall insulation. This type of insulation is more

Locating draughts
Determine which spots in the house are colder than others. You can tell whether windows are tightly sealed by passing a burning candle along the line at which the window and the frame meet. An infrared thermometer (cost approx. 50 Euro) provides precise measurements that show you whether walls are colder near floor level than elsewhere. If you buy one of these devices, lend it to your friends. If not, you might try borrowing one from someone else.

effective than interior insulation and is preferable wherever it is feasible to install. Roof and interior insulation must be properly installed in order to prevent mould formation. Expert guidance can be obtained from an energy consultant who is not affiliated with a specific manufacturer. Consumer information centres and the Bundesamt fr Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrollen (Federal Office of Commerce and Export Control, BAFA) maintains lists of suitable consultants.

Reference values for heating costs

The German national Heizspiegel (Heating Survey) provides reference values for heating energy consumption and heating costs. Heizspiegel provides separate data for each type of heating system (oil, gas or district heating) and tells you whether your heating costs are optimal, average, relatively high or extremely high. Average costs for heating, water, waste removal and other operating costs are listed in the Betriebskostenspiegel (Operating Cost Survey) published by Deutscher Mieterbund e. V. (German Renters Association). The Betriebskostenspiegel enables both renters and those looking for housing accommodations to compare costs. Wherever specific costs are clearly in excess of the national average, you should take a closer look at the situation and seek advice, if necessary.

Good insulation is doubly important because even the best heating system is of no use if heating energy cannot be kept inside the house or flat. Information on heat insulation and other energy-saving measures is provided at or at (under the heading Verbraucher [Consumers]).

Heating check
Would you like to know whether your heating costs are reasonable or modernization measures are in order? You can perform a heating check at co2online and consult a subsidy advisor.


Major purc hases | In your own home

The costs of electricity, gas and heating oil account for the largest share of secondary costs. That is why I make it a point to discover all possible ways of saving energy within my own four walls by heating selectively or getting rid of electrical power gluttons, for example. Energy costs can also be reduced by switching to a less expensive electrical power supplier. Some green electricity suppliers are actually cheaper today.
Dr. Franz-Georg Rips, Deutscher Mieterbund e. V.

Reducing heating costs with new heating systems Replacing or upgrading your heating system is a major step many people are reluctant to take. But a new heating system can contribute significantly to reducing heating costs. Take the time to consider the advantages of replacing your old heating system with state-of-the-art technology, such as a solar heating system, a gas-condensing boiler or a wood pellet boiler, or request guidance from an expert. When planning a new heating system, you should also assess the possibilities offered by a combined power A comparative evaluation of heating systems
Stiftung Warentest has compared different heating systems in its special Energy issue. This issue also contains the results of a study on gas condensing boilers.

and heat system. Heating systems can be combined to achieve additional savings. Heat pumps driven with the aid of a solar energy system also offer a climate-friendly alternative. In any case you should obtain several different offers before making your decision.

No way out for heat modern window technology Windows are important factors in energy-efficient housing for several reasons. They should close tightly and allow as little heat as possible to escape. And you neednt accept draughty windows as a renter, either. Installing foam insulation purchased at a DIY store is one way to seal windows tightly. And you may even be able to persuade your landlord to have new windows installed.


Windows not only allow heat to escape, they also let heat in in the form of solar radiation. What is fine in the winter is often less pleasant in the summer. When rooms build up excessive heat during the warm months of the year, outside awnings can provide welcome shade.

Subsidies increased savings through subsidies and low-interest loans Even though heating costs go down once a heating system has been upgraded, the initial costs of these modernization measures or a more efficient system are very high. Subsidies and low-interest loans provide important support for climate protection within your own four walls. The most important source of subsidy funding is the Kreditanstalt fr Wiederaufbau (KfW Development Bank; Applications for subsidies must be submitted to your own bank prior to the beginning of modernization work. The Bundesamt fr Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrollen (BAFA; also awards subsidies. Unlike the KfW Development Bank, this agency accepts applications only after the work in question is completed. Therefore, you should obtain information about the requirements for subsidies in advance. The same general rule applies in both cases: the amount of the subsidy you receive depends on the energy savings achieved in future. Take advantage of every potential source of assistance
Some state and local governments also grant subsidies. Further information about sources in your postal code district can be obtained at:

Important product labels and symbols for building materials Certificates and seals can be of help when it comes to selecting building materials. In most cases, however, they are not a substitute for expert professional advice. For wood building materials purchased by government authorities and federal institutions, proof of origin in legal forestry operations is required. Accepted forms of proof are the FSC seal, the PEFC seal, a comparable certificate or an individual certificate. The requirements for award of each certificate are different. Common to all of them is the objective of ensuring sustainable forest management. These seals can provide helpful guidance for individuals. Building materials
In addition to the seals and certificates for wood products and materials cited above, the natureplus and Blauer Engel seals and the European Eco-Label are also issued for building materials. More detailed information on Der Blaue Engel is provided under Useful household items energy-efficiency and waste reduction on page 38. All other labels are described under Renovation avoiding toxic materials on pages 50f.


Major purc hases | Investing

Investing achieving good returns with a clear conscience

The sustainable investment business is booming. Private investors are particularly interested in knowing what happens to their money. Interest in investment products that not only yield the desired return but also take environmental and social aspects into account has risen significantly in recent years. That is a clear indication that profits earned on environmentally acceptable, socially compatible investments have added value for many people. Those who wish to invest sustainably should seek answers to the following questions: What sustainable investment products are available? Where can I buy sustainable financial products? What should I keep in mind when making my selection? A wide range of sustainable financial products the choice is yours Today, every investor can choose from a wide range of sustainable financial products. A sustainable or ethically sound alternative now exist for every type of investment. Examples include: environmental Riester pension funds, sustainable share or bond funds, environmental life insurance and direct insurance policies, demand deposit accounts at alternative banks, funds savings programmes that invest in renewable energies, direct investments in wind or solar-energy parks and clean technologies.

Microfinance products
Ever since Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, microfinance products have become increasingly important as forms of investment. Microfinance loans are regarded as effective instruments in support of economic and social development from the grass roots up. Microfinance funds lend money to microfinance institutions (MFI), which in turn grant small loans to persons engaged in small business ventures at the local level. Because microfinance funds are not widely available in Germany, only very few banks offer products in this investment segment. Learn more about this option from a customer service advisor at your bank.


The diversity of sustainable financial products enables investors to invest in accordance with their individual approach to risks and profits and to apply their individual ethical principles to their investments. good question Providers of sustainable investment products Important providers of sustainable financial products include alternative banks, such as the Umweltbank, the GLS Bank, the Ethikbank and banks operated by churches. But established banking institutions and mutual funds companies have narrowed the gap and included several, though still relatively few, sustainable financial products to their portfolios.

Do sustainable funds offer a smaller return than conventional funds?

Many investors still fear that they would have to sacrifice return in favour of ethics if they invested in sustainable products. That is not true. Rule of thumb: Sustainable investments tend to offer better longterm returns than conventional investments. After all, these investments go to companies that manage their business proactively and with an eye to the future, and that pays off in the long run. But even companies that produce sustainable products are not immune to business risks. Thus it is advisable to take a careful look at the portfolio, as you would for any public limited company.

In future, investors must have the choice whether they want to finance cluster bomb manufacturers and nuclear power plants or organic food markets and craft enterprises. Consistent transparency is a prerequisite for a conscious investment choice.
Thomas Jorberg, board spokesman GLS Bank

Information always take a critical look When selecting sustainable financial products, it is always important to evaluate them with a critical eye and, if doubts arise about what really lies behind an environmental fund or an ethics fund, to make further inquiries. Find out how companies are selected for inclusion in a given fund and what criteria are applied. Reliable information on these issues can be obtained at, or from the comparative fund assessments published by Stiftung Warentest in the journal Finanztest. Sustainable financial management it all starts with the little things Be sure to maintain your flexibility! A few basic principles of sustainable financial management will be helpful in this context. Never buy financial products you dont understand and which even an investment consultant cant explain in plausible terms. Make sure that your monthly fixed costs amount to no more than two-thirds of your disposable income. And take out loans only if you are sure you can pay them back within a foreseeable period of time. The Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Schuldnerberatung (National Association of Debt Advisors) offers numerous helpful tips on how to avoid excessive debt at its website at:


Major purc hases | Investing

A helpful guide
One helpful guide is the Transparent label awarded by EUROSIF, the European Social Investment Forum. The label is awarded to mutual fund companies which submit detailed reports on their selection policies and criteria and how their funds are managed.

What are your criteria for sustainable investments?

Rating environmentally sound Preservation of species diversity Preservation of natural habitats No use of tropical wood Conservative use of resources Environmental management system Research on renewable energy sources High level of energy efficiency Rating socially sound Reconciliation of family and work Gender equality Promotion of employee welfare and development Effective development aid Job preservation Donations to social institutions High level of social security Rating ethically sound No use of nuclear energy No arms manufactures No use of genetic engineering No child labour No animal testing No tobacco or alcohol companies Avoidance of corruption

You may want to expand the table by adding other examples that occur to you with regard to specific criteria. Then give each criterion a mark of between 1 and 6 1 = Very important to me 2 = Important to me 3 = Sould be considered 4 = Could be considered in my opinion 5 = Not important in my view 6 = Not important to me at all

With the aid of this matrix you should be able to recognize those aspects of sustainability that are truly important to you when it comes to investing in financial products. In addition to these sustainability criteria, the recognized aspects cited in the Magic Investment Triangle also play an important role. The magic triangle of investment
Rating Liquidity Rating Security Rating Profitability

Using marks from 1 through 6, rate each aspect according to its importance to you. This is the first step in the process of prioritizing the requirements you have set for financial investments. The next step is to select the investment that meets your personal needs.

Credible information
beyond trends and fads
We need information in order to consume sustainably. But no one wants to spend the whole day searching for information. Nor would anyone want to read a dissertation on the environmental balance sheet before buying an apple. Condensed information that enables us to recognize at a glance that a product is okay is provided by the labels and product symbols cited and described in this brochure, but equally helpful are the quality ratings published in familiar consumer products tests. Labels and product symbols are an important source of information. They inform you about the social and/or environmental conditions under which a product is produced. How trustworthy these labels and symbols are depends on the requirements a company must meet in order to earn a given seal or label for a specific product. What environmental and social factors are evaluated? the verifiability, transparency and comprehensibility of the evaluation process. Were independent experts and different interest groups involved in developing the criteria, and were different interests taken into account in the evaluation process? the independent status of the organization that awards a given seal or label, or the external testing/auditing agencies that review the award process.


Credible infor mation

Test results Organizations such as Stiftung Warentest and ko-Test perform comparative product tests and assess the quality of products according to various criteria. Test results are published in periodicals and brochures and in the Internet. In addition to product tests, Stiftung Warentest has been conducting comparative spot corporate responsibility tests at companies since 1995. These CSR tests provide information about the ethical, social and environmental behaviour of companies that play an important role in sustainable consumption.

You cant tell how much fat a yogurt contains just by looking at it. And I, as a consumer, have no way of knowing whether a jogging shoe was produced under acceptable conditions. That is why consumers need trustworthy, easily accessible and easily understandable information.
Gerd Billen, Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e. V. (National Association of Consumer Information Centres, vzbv)

Develop your own rules of thumb and insist on them Labels and product tests are not awarded or performed for all products. And specific statements occasionally conflict with others. That is why you should develop your own simple rules of thumb. We have suggested a few such rules at different points in this brochure. Stay on track and follow your own personal continuous thread through the consumption jungle. Sustainable consumption can and should be fun! It goes without saying that information on all aspects of sustainable consumption is abundantly available in the Internet. The websites of environmental and consumer organizations are especially helpful. You will find allies and specific tips about where the information you need can be found at these websites. A list of current websites is provided at:


Sustainable consumption pays off Perform a practical test! When it comes to major purchases, sustainable consumption saves you real money in the long run, and it can also be the most economical alternative for day-today shopping. A few suggestions for your personal inventory are provided below. Discover potential savings
Domestic appliance Refrigerator Electric range Gas range Washing machine Vacuum cleaner Dishwasher Service life Purchase planned in 24 months Requirements concerning products Energy-saving model A++ Price Monthly savings required 700,-:24 mo. = approx. 30,-

12 years 15 years 15 years 12 years 10 years 10 years


Take an inventory
Food Bread How much? How often? half loaf per week Price 1,50 What to do? buy smaller loaves, freeze in slices

Check your leftover list! Consider ways to reduce waste!

Food Bread (500 g) Standard product 1,99 Seen where? Supermarket Organic product 2,25 Seen where? Organic bakery Farmers market Price difference + 0,26


3rd fully revised edition 2011, last revision: March 2011 Published by: Rat fr Nachhaltige Entwicklung / German Council for Sustainable Development General Secretariat c/o GIZ GmbH Potsdamer Platz 10 10785 Berlin Germany Concept, text and editing: Dr. Anne Gerlach, Lena Hohfeld, Sonja Scharnhorst, Annika Schudak, Dr. Ingo Schoenheit (imug Institut fr Markt-Umwelt-Gesellschaft e. V.), Yvonne Zwick (General Secretariat of the Rat fr Nachhaltige Entwicklung) Pages 68 and 71 from Mein ko-Haushaltsplaner (My Eco-Household Planner), Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband, Berlin, 2009 Graphic design: Copyediting: Petra Thoms Printing: This brochure was printed on recycled paper. Special thanks to KnowMe for the clothing on page 22. Photographs: German Council for Sustainable Development: p.1, 2 (Tor Seidel), 23; Bert Odenthal: Cover picture, p.4, 10, 20, 22 (und KnowMe), 27, 33, 37, 40, 53, 61, 69; Photocase: p.19 himberry, 21, 34 jala, 36 Montagsmaler 1, 43 soulcore, 50 nicolasberlin, 54 swopp, 58, 64 goenz, Cover (Postcards) apl_d200 u. Judywie; Cover (small picture), 9, 12 bobthemast, 14, 25, 28, 31, 36, 46 bizior; Veer: p.56; portraits: p.7 Claudia Langer, 13 Sarah Wiener, 15 Franziska van Almsick, 26 Franz Alt, 41 Ren Steinbach, 44 Dr. Mario Tobias, 62 Rainer Griehammer, 64 Dr. Franz-Georg Rips, 67 Thomas Jorberg, 70 Gerd Billen


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Rat fr Nachhaltige Entwicklung / German Council for Sustainable Development