SATRA is playing a key role in helping companies achieve the new eco-friendly label for their products. It is hoped that the European eco-label (pictured) will eventually become as symbolic to consumers as the safety kite mark.

In support of this goal, SATRA has recently become one of two official UK assessors of textile products against the label's criteria. This means SATRA can help manufacturers and suppliers with independent testing and evaluation, and advice on making applications for the eco-label.

SATRA's chemical analysis expert, John Hubbard, said: "The ultimate value of this scheme will lie in the public's perception and recognition of the label, which in turn requires appropriate promotion. However, the best way to increase public recognition and gauge consumer reaction is to place labelled products on the market."

Criticisms about the eco-label being too costly and difficult to attain are currently being addressed by a strategy group, which is also expected to reassess the current application fee (£500) as well as the annual licence fee, which is based on sales.

The eco-label, which is valid throughout Europe, is part of a broader strategy aimed at promoting sustainable consumption and production. The label is only awarded to products with a 'reduced environmental impact'.

SATRA said that several major clothing companies were already considering applications. For further information about the eco-label assessment, contact SATRA on 01536 410000.