Nordic Ecolabel Swan: Scandinavian co-operation

January 30, 2008

Nordic Ecolabel Swan

The Swan is the official Nordic ecolabel, and it “demonstrates that a product is a good environmental choice”. In 1989, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided to introduce a common, impartial, official environmental label for the Nordic region.

So, five for the price of one – very economic! The (green) Swan is a variation on the (blue Swan) logo of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The activities within Nordic Ecolabelling are coordinated by the Nordic Ecolabelling Board.

Some quick statistics:

  • 67% of people in the Nordic countries understand the Swan
  • 77% of Swedes consider that the Swan makes a brand extremely reliable.

Are there statistics like these for other countries’ symbols?

I am a bit surprised that the logos presented, and indeed used, on different sites differ in shade of green. I imagined that the colour would be tightly controlled, at least when used on official sites.

Denmark: Ecolabelling Denmark. Nordic Ecolabel - Danish version
Danmark: Miljømærkning Danmark (
Finland: Ecolabelling Finland. Nordic Ecolabel - Finnish version
Suomi: Ympäristömerkki Miljömärkt ( or SFS-Ympäristömerkintä (
Iceland: The English link given, The Environment and Food Agency of Iceland, provides no English) information about ecolabelling. Nordic Ecolabel - Icelandic version 1Nordic Ecolabel - Icelandic version 2
Ísland: The link (more useful and memorable) points to information at Norræna umhverfismerkið Svanurinn (Nordic ecolabel Swan) on the Agency’s site.
Norway: see Sweden for English information.
Norge: Nordisk Miljømerking (
Sweden: The Swan, and the apparently older site Nordic Ecolabelling. Nordic Ecolabel - Swedish version
Sverige: Miljömärkning Svanen (, Nordisk Miljømærkning (, Nordisk Miljømærkning (
And English versions of the Nordic Ecolabel. Nordic Ecolabel - English version 1Nordic Ecolabel - English version 2

The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council introduced “the Swan” in 1985 as the symbol of official Nordic co-operation. The blue Swan with eight wing feathers represents the five Nordic states – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – and the three autonomous territories – Faroe Islands (Denmark), Greenland (Denmark) and Åland (Finland). It was designed by the Finnish artist Kyösti Varis.

Nordic Region trademark

The trademarked symbol was adapted in 2004 to include the logotype “Norden” (or “Pohjola” in Finnish), to reflect the widening role of regional partnerships and the unifying concept the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Nordic Council and the Nordic Cultural Fund. The expanding region that partnerships are developing in is also part of this changing perspective, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

[ Text is partly taken or adapted – with various additions – from The Swan Story and Get Labelled!. Information on the Swan’s history from New Nordic Region – new trademark and The Swan symbol and the logotype Norden – the Nordic logo. ]

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


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