In the foreground during the evaluation process are innovation, design quality and environmental characteristics. Repercussions on everyday culture and consumer behaviour are also taken into consideration. Thereby, the full product life cycle – from the preliminary stages of production through to actual production, distribution and use, as well as end of life – are all given due attention.

Criteria Matrix

The criteria matrix serves as a basis for the evaluation and provides orientation for candidates in the presentation of their competition entries. It is not to be understood as a checklist. The significance of the various ecological aspects differ from project to project, and it is therefore not a requirement for all points of the matrix to be explicitly included.



  • Level of innovation and originality
    of craftsmanship

  • User integration in the creative
    process and in development

  • Attention to the needs of potential
    users and not to current fashions
    and trends

  • innovative, environmentally friendly
    method of production

  • innovative distribution concepts that help to conserve energy and resources

  • new use concepts (e.g. using instead of owning)

  • integrated concept assumes re-use or further use of parts of a product

  • disposal-compatible design: idea/concept aims at as environmentally sound disposal as possible

  • Choice of environmentally compatible materials: replenishable/renewable, available in sufficient quantity, certified organic, recycled, locally produced and processed, recyclable, biodegradable, durable, low an inherent energy

  • non-use of environmentally- and health-damaging substances

  • Resource efficient design (e.g. through lightweight construction, miniaturisation , dematerialisation)

  • Resource efficiency: savings in manufacturing in terms of raw materials, water and energy

  • low material diversity

  • unmixed use of materials, mono-material, no composites

  • Labelling of used materials and components

  • Utilisation of energy produced in an environmentally responsible manner and from renewable energy sources

  • local manufacturing, close proximity to suppliers

  • Packaging comprises environmentally friendly materials

  • reusable and recyclable packaging

  • Reduction of fuel and energy consumption in transportation

  • Reduction of consumables (e.g. detergents, printing inks, paper, oil, solvents)

  • Reduction of energy consumption in utilisation through savings programs, automatic functions, default settings, technical measures to mitigate environmentally harmful behaviour (e.g. automatic capacity regulation in washing machines, warning signs upon potentially environmentally harmful behaviour, information on current or aggregated energy consumption)

  • Separation and recycling of materials and recirculation into the natural and technical material flows

  • environmentally friendly disposal (e.g. through composting or good combustion properties of materials

  • aesthetic quality of the craftsmanship

  • Quality, longevity

  • modular construction, choice of robust construction mechanisms

  • Design that is appropriate to the function and materials

  • technically high-quality workmanship, low susceptibility to wear

  • Variability, multfunctionality, adaptability

  • Option to upgrade (replacement of obsolete components e.g. highquality
    technical equipment) or to refurbish (overhaul and repair for resale)

  • Logistics-oriented manufacturing: reduction of product volume and
    weight (e.g. folding mechanisms, straightforward dismantling of the product)

  • minimal and lightweight packaging

  • Reduction in the loading and storage requirements

  • self-explanatory, intuitive

  • User-friendly, easy to handle, forgiving

  • easy to read and straightforward to understand product graphics, menus and instructions

  • straightforward to maintain, easy and environmentally sound to clean

  • repairable

  • straightforward disassembly of individual components, to as great as extent as possible with standard tools

  • reparability of materials, pollutants, batteries for environmentally sound disposal

  • in the development of new products: Non-use of environmentally harmful materials and manufacturing processes

  • in the reworking of existing products: Identification of pollutants and waste-causing components, processes and substitution with sustainable materials and/or technologies

  • Low-emission manufacturing, prevention of noise and smells

  • Reduction in CO2 emissions, carbon-neutral manufacturing

  • Pollution- and waste prevention, minimisation in the manufacturing process

  • Use of Best Available Technology (BAT), cf. BAT reference documents on the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC)

  • Treatment of wastewater including production residue

  • Reduction of emissions through efficient logistics

  • Choice of environmentally friendly means of transportation, non-use of air freight

  • Pollution prevention and minimisation in utilisation

  • Waste prevention and minimisation in utilisation

  • Recycling of waste, recirculation in natural cycles

  • environmentally sound disposal of waste and pollutants

  • Non-use of health-threatening materials and processes in the raw material extraction and processing

  • Convention with the ILO’s Core Labour Standards

  • Compliance with the ILO’s Core Labour Standards, no child labour, socially just working conditions, fair/appropriate pay, no obstructions for works councils/unions

  • no hazardous handling and coating processes, protection of biodiversity

  • Adherance to principles of consumer protection and data protection

  • safe to use

  • ergonomic handling

  • no toxic/hazardous substances in the finished product

  • prevention/reduction of noise, low radiation exposure (relevant above all for IT products)

  • application of social- and health-compatible recycling and disposal processes

  • the symbolic content, function of the design

  • Utilisation of resource-conserving communication formats and media
    e.g. digital instruction manuals, use of recycled paper in printed materials etc.

  • good quality, consumer-oriented product information

  • Indications provided for higher running costs (e.g. power consumption, consumables such as printer cartridges, coffee pods, etc)

  • Customer-friendly and fair contracts

  • clear, understandable, transparent

  • Indications provided for the environmentally sound use of the product, also in the instructions

  • Consumer information, product identification e.g. Blue Angel)

  • Repair and maintenance services

  • Return system

  • Upgrading/refurbishment services

  • Indications provided for the environmentally sound disposal of the product, also in the instructions


Criteria Matrix DIN A3, (PDF, 65.09 kB)
Criteria Matrix DIN A4, (PDF, 75.15 kB)

Notes on Materials

The environmental impact of the materials used plays a significant role in the overall assessment. In the following, you will find information from the German Environment Agency on a selection of materials.


In products with paper, you should use recycled paper with the Blue Angel ecolabel. If it is not possible to use recycled paper for technical reasons, FSC certification is the best choice. However, in your application you should specify the technical reasons why the use of recycled paper is not possible.

FSC and PEFC are labels for sustainable forest management. The papers available on the market are predominantly FSC mix papers. “Mix” indicates that at least 70 percent of the fibres are derived from FSC wood and / or waste paper. In most instances, the paper is made from fresh fibre. While some papers carry the FSC recycling seal, this does not fulfil the strict requirements of Blue Angel – for example, the minimum proportion of low-grade waste paper or the use of chemicals in production. Papers bearing the FSC or PEFC labels are therefore less appropriate than products that have been awarded the Blue Angel.

Further information from the UBA on the topic of paper can be found here:


(including bamboo and cork)

If you are using wood, bamboo or cork materials in your submission, please consider the following questions when submitting:

Origin, sustainable forest management

What kind of wood is used? Where was the wood sourced (country, region)? Is the sustainable forest management verified by a certificate (FSC, PEFC or equivalent)?


Long transport routes increase CO2 emissions.


Where is the wood processed (country)? Which environmental standards are observed in the course of processing? What approach is taken with regard to environmental emissions generated during processing (e.g. dust emissions or wastewater)?
How is the energy generated that is required for processing?
Is a surface coating applied (e.g. painting, dyeing, staining etc.)? Which chemicals / input substances are used (product name of the chemical)? Are the substances used in the surface coating environmentally compatible? Are these substances manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner?

Do they contain substances that are harmful to health or environmentally toxic? What techniques are used in the coating of the wood? The environmental compatibility of substances can be verified, among other means, by the Blue Angel certification.

Recovered wood / old wood

Where exactly is the waste wood sourced? What was the previous intended purpose?
How is it ensured that the new application does not pose a hazard to health or the environment as a result of harmful substances such as wood preservatives, or from pest infestation?

Further information from the UBA on the topic of wood can be found here:

Textiles and leather

For products containing cotton, you should use at the very minimum certified organic cotton (GOTS, Blue Angel, Cotton made in Africa etc.) or waste textiles. Outdoor clothing should not contain PFCs. Viscose made from eucalyptus is considered to have an adverse environmental impact. In addition, in the assessment of textiles and footwear, we take into account the award criteria of the Blue Angel ecolabel.

Further information from the UBA on the topic of textiles can be found here:


When using plastics, recycled plastics from post-consumer waste are the best choice. Bio-based and biodegradable plastics are only beneficial from an environmental perspective under certain conditions.

Further information from the UBA on the topic of plastics can be found here: