2013 has seen rapid progress, development and growth of The European Water Label.
Following its adoption in Europe in 2012 the database of products has expanded, more manufacturers have joined the scheme and partnerships with major builders merchants and retailers have been forged.
Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, based in the UK, takes a look back at the year.
It was a really thrilling start to the year when The Water Label won two major awards for its innovative approach to the labelling of water consuming products.
The first was in the Business Innovation Category at the UK’s Sentinel Awards (www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2l5Dtru14g) and the second, a more personal award given to me for my work in bringing the Water Label from a simple idea to the preferred scheme in the EU28. This award was especially gratifying (www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2l5Dtru14g) It’s good to get the feedback and recognition and to know that we are doing it right. The Water Label is here to stay as the preferred scheme throughout Europe.
The scheme now has 49 registered brands in its database, together with over 3,850 products and a further 4,000 product registrations currently going through the system. Of all the products registered, 30% are WCs, 19% are taps/faucets and 16% bath tubs. A further 30% concern shower fittings, electric showers and shower handsets. Products are registered in 32 countries.
During the year The Water Label website at www.europeanwaterlabel.eu was thoroughly overhauled and upgraded making it more user friendly. The upgrade is continuous and we are careful to maintain its usability as the scheme grows. The innovative Product Map introduced in late summer adds an interesting feature to the site. Users can see products listed in their own country. Innovation is key and our web masters are kept busy.
The year has seen many meetings held both in the UK and in Europe to progress the scheme and to resolve the inevitable difficulties which arise during this rapid growth stage. These meetings have required a lot of input from many people and compromises have been made. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate those taking part who really worked hard to make the scheme a success.
The British government, though DEFRA (the Department for Environment Food, and Rural Affairs) fully supports the scheme and in July a major conference organised by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme, which is funded by DEFRA) heard the wonderful news that an agreement had been reached with bathroom retailers, merchants and manufacturers to join forces to further support and promote the label. Supporters include Saint Gobain, Wolseley, Kingfisher, Independent Merchant Association, Home Retail Group, and Travis Perkins.
Speeches were received from WRAP and the Water Using Products Group which had been tasked with developing wider use of the label. They promised that the label will become more visible across a wide range of products in the stores. This represents a significant step forward for the industry which has been seeking for some time the best way to provide consumers with clear water efficiency information.
Throughout the year the Water Label has been seen at major exhibitions in Europe. At ISH Frankfurt, the BMA and CEIR jointly promoted the label with a busy display showing to the 123,600 visitors. The Label took pride of place at the Bathroom Business Conference and Exhibition in Chester, England and in the London May Design Series. Elsewhere the label was shown at London’s ECOBuild exhibition and at the Oxford Waterwise Conference. The Water Label also had a presence at the CEIR Annual Congress in Ghent. At each exhibition the specially produced ‘Water is Life’ magazine, which features endorsements by leading figures in the water industry, was greedily taken up as visitors wanted to know more.
The Water Label has come a long way since its inception but the last twelve months has seen a rapidly growing awareness of the scheme and its benefits. The Label is now poised to grow faster and further and we look forward to 2014.