In Alko’s assortment the Green Choice symbols in product markings speak about the commitment of drink producers in environmental and sustainable development. There are seven Green Choice symbols in total:
- Carbon Neutral
- Environmentally Responsible Packaging
- Natural wine
- Sustainability Certificate and
The Green Choice markings is used in consumer communications. In addition, it can also be used to establish product search criteria and in producer risk assessments.
The symbol is used to mark products certified as biodynamically farmed products. Demeter certification is the most common global certificate for biodynamically farmed products.
The Carbon Neutral symbol marks a product whose carbon dioxide emissions from the farming of the ingredients, production, packaging and logistics between these phases have been calculated, the emissions have been verifiably reduced and the remaining emissions have been compensated. The certification must cover all production phases. The certificate for carbon neutrality that includes the certifier's name must be displayed on the product package.
The approved certifications that can be selected in Alko's Partner Network for both an offer and a product change are:
- Carbon Footprint
- Carbon Reduction Institute | NoCO2
- Carbon Trust | Carbon neutral certification
- Climate Active
- ClimatePartner | Climate neutral
- CO2logic | CO2-Neutral
- DNV GL | Garbon Neutrality Protocol
- Natural Capital Partners | CarbonNeutral
- SCS Global Services | Carbon Neutral
- Toitū (ex. CarboNZero)
Environmentally Responsible Packaging
Products marked with the Environmentally Responsible Packaging symbol:
- Brewery products: 0.33-litre packages weighing maximum 220 g and 0.5-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 300 g.
- Wines: 0.75-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 420 g.
- Sparkling wines: 0.75-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 835 g.
- Spirits: 0.7-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 450 g.
- Environmentally certified packaging and a certificate of origin for recycled material used in packaging. These can be, for example, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified bag-in-box cardboard or beverage carton, the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Certificates of origin for recycled PET plastic are, for example, the Global Recycled Standard and the Recycled Content Certification.
The Environmentally Responsible Packaging is marked based on supplier's declaration. The weight of lighter glass bottles is checked from the sample submitted with the tender as well as through random sampling carried out during the life cycle of the product in Alko's assortment. The labels for environmentally certified packaging and a certificate of origin for recycled material used in packaging must also be displayed on the product package including the certifier's name.
Wines grown and produced using natural, traditional methods (e.g. they are not clarified, filtered or stabilised), without using any synthetic chemicals, are labelled as natural wines on the basis of the producer's declaration.
There are no common regulations or certificates governing natural wines in Europe. However, as of 2020, France has been labelling natural wines as Vin méthode nature. The natural wine label or other reference to natural wine must also be displayed on the product package.
The Organic symbol marks a product that has been certified with one of the international organic certificates that meet the EU's requirements for organic products. The certificate is usually issued by each country’s national certification body. The principles for organic farming and organic certification are defined in the legislation for the organics sector. The certificate label and the EU organic inspection number must be displayed on the product package, and a valid organic documentation for the product must be submitted to Alko.
The Sustainability Certificate symbol marks a product that has an international or country-specific certificate that measures have been taken to improve sustainability in beverage production. Certificate programmes for smaller geographical ares are not accepted. The certification must be inspected by a third party, and it must cover the farming of the ingredients and the production of the beverage. In addition, a significant part – more than 50% – of the certification requirements must be related to environmental aspects. The certificate must also be displayed on the product package.
The approved certifications that can be selected in Alko's Partner Network for both the offer and the product change are:
- Bodegas de Argentina Sustainability Protocol (Argentina)
- Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (California)
- Certified Sustainable Austria (Austria)
- Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile (Chile)
- Equalitas (Italy)
- Fair’n’Green (international)
- Haute Valeur Environnementale (France)
- Integrity and Sustainability Certified (South Africa)
- Sustainability In Practice SIP Certified (California)
- Sustainable Winegrowing Australia/Freshcare (Australia)
- Sustainable Winegrowing NZ (New Zealand)
- Sustainable Winegrowing (Vignerons en Développement Durable) (France)
- Terra Vitis (France)
- Wineries for Climate Protection (WfCP) (Spain)
- VIVA Sustainability in Italian Wine Sector (Italy)
It is also possible for the supplier to add another certificate that meets the requirements set for the Sustainability Certificate symbol and indicate that certificate’s name in the Partner Network text field. Alko checks for compliance before adding the symbol for the product.
There are no internationally controlled standards or certificates for vegan products. In Alko’s assortment vegan products are marked based on producer’s own declaration. The vegan label or other reference must also be displayed on the product package.
Declaring and updating data
For new products, the information can be declared in the tender. The accuracy of the information provided and the fulfilment of the criteria will be verified by Alko's Selections, Products and Quality department.
Customer communications about Green Choice markings
For customers, Green Choice markings and symbols are introduced in an article published at alko.fi: Green Choice symbols provide information about the environmental friendliness of the beverage. The symbols are also displayed in the search filters and product cards of Alko's online shop and mobile app.
In Alko stores, all the relevant Green Choice symbols are displayed in the product’s price tag. In addition, any product carrying a Green Choice symbol can be marked with a green shelf note. Organic products can also be marked with a separate "Organic" shelf note.