Environmentally friendly management systems and independent evaluation

Sustainable development means economic and social development of the society that at the same time meets the requirements of the people today and recognises that the future generations will have equal requirements, thus enabling the long-term preservation of the environment, biological and landscape diversity. For the purpose of fostering sustainable development, environmental protection requirements set out in the Environmental Protection Act and special regulations have to be included in the preparation and implementation of the stipulated starting points and activities across all areas of economic and social development.
COMPONENTS OF THE GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION POLICY pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13):
1.  EMAS
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is the ecological management and evaluation instrument whereby organisations can assess the impact of their activity on the environment, they inform the public about the current assessment of impacts, and they improve work performance in accordance with the environmental protection requirements. This is the most authentic and the soundest instrument of environmental management on the market that has several additional elements with regard to the requirements of the international standard for the Environmental Management System EN ISO 14001:2004.  
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme is a voluntary environmental management tool of the EU designed for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance. The environmental management system ensures that all environmental impacts of a company are identified, controlled, and aligned with the legislation.  
The organisation registered in the EMAS system must prove that it fully complies with the environmental protection regulations, and it must commit to continuous improvement of their environmental performance. The environmental performance is established by the person authorised for the environmental protection activities.
Pursuant to Article 212, paragraph 2, of the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13), the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the Regulation on voluntary participation of organisations in the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) (OG 77/14), governing the procedure of applying for registration, the fee and deadlines for the registration in the system, the content and manner of keeping the register of organisations in EMAS, and other issues related thereto. The application is submitted to the Croatian Agency for the Environment and Nature. 
You can find more information on EMAS on the websites of the Croatian Agency for the Environment and Nature and the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

2.    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LABEL “Environmentally Friendly”
Legal and natural persons who produce or distribute products, or provide services, with the objective of promoting products or provision of services which, in comparison with equivalent products, have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle and thereby contribute to more efficient use of environmental components and a high level of environmental protection may be awarded the right to use the environmental protection label.
The evaluation in relation to fewer negative impacts refers to the rational use of natural assets and energy, abatement of environmental emissions, use of valuable waste properties or other methods enabling useful treatment of waste before its recovery or disposal, as well as taking other measures for the purpose of environmental protection.
Find out more at Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia - Ecolabel - Environmentally friendly (gov.hr)

3.     THE EU Ecolabel
Pursuant to the provisions of this Act, the EU Ecolabel can be awarded to legal and natural persons who place certain products on the market or provide services (producer, importer, service provider, retailer, or wholesaler) for the purpose of promoting products or providing services which have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle and providing consumers with the information about the impact of products on the environment.
Pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act, the minister of environment adopted the Ordinance on the European Union environmental protection label – EU ECOLABEL, which is a voluntary ecolabel scheme intended for the promotion of products and services having a less harmful impact on the environment during their entire life cycle.

Introduction of the EU Ecolabel is implemented in order to stimulate the development of new technologies, production and use of the products that are less harmful to the environment, to reduce environmental pollution, and to manage raw materials and energy in a more rational manner. The EU Ecolabel is important for those products whereby choosing the raw materials, technologies, production process and providing services, the negative impact on the environment and excessive use of the natural resources can be reduced. Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 December 2009 on the EU Ecolabel lays down the eco-label award scheme intended for the promotion of products with a reduced environmental impact during their entire life cycle. The EU Ecolabel is awarded to the products that meet the criteria laid down in the Regulation. 
More details can be found on the website of the  Ministry or at na EU Ecolabel - Environment - European Commission (europa.eu).

Products have environmental impact during all stages of their entire life cycle – from using raw materials and energy, through the production process, packaging, transport, disposal, and recycling. Thus, the negative impacts include the energy consumed during production, waste materials, and toxic substances released during the extraction of resources, processing and transport, the energy used by the product during its life cycle, and waste products and energy required for the disposal of products. According to the European Commission, 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product. So, by applying the ecodesign principles in the initial stages of product design, the energy consumed or lost throughout the life cycle of products should be considerably lower.

Ecodesign is a systematic integration of the environmental aspects in the design of products with the aim of improving their environmental performance throughout their life cycle.
The currently in force Directive on ecodesign sets the standards for energy efficiency of products, such as heaters, computers, and household appliances. Instead of relying on the solutions dealing with the expiry of the life cycle of products. design in the circular economy eliminates waste and innovations are present throughout the value chain. 
However, a lot of progress can be made. For example, an average consumer in the EU buys a new mobile phone every two years. A better design could provide for longer use, recycling of old devices and more efficient design of batteries that could be replaced more easily. It is estimated that better ecodesign rules could save the consumers EUR 490/year until 2020.