The German Blue Angel: The first eco symbol for products and services

January 3, 2008

The Blauer Engel (Blue Angel) is the first environment-related label for products and services in the world. It was created in 1977, and the first awards made in 1978. Blue Angel logo

UN and UNEP logos The Blue Angel logo was adopted from the UNEP logo (United Nations Environment Programme), which was created in 1972. (The UN logo was designed in 1942.)
competition designs The German eco-label design contest winners were not considered: 1st – Albrecht Ade; 2nd – Anton Stankowski; 3rd – Roman Antonoff. The second place design appears to contain a reference to the UNEP Blue Angel, whilst the first and third place designs have the sort of symbolism that would later feature in many recycling designs.

Perhaps because of its design background, the Blue Angel is unusual in containing no parts in green, the colour now widely associated with environmental issues.

The Blue Angel is the property of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety. It is sponsored and administered by the Federal Environmental Agency and the quality assurance and product labelling institute RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V. (German Institute for Quality Assurance and Certification).

For more background, see the Blue Angel – The System

There is a second version of the Blue Angel with additional text:
(top) “Environmental mark”
(bottom) “because” with reason (in this case, “(made from) 100% recycled paper”)
Blue Angel - version 2 with text

This entry is part of the Infomancy Eco-Symbols Series.

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