What is the Meaning of Eco, Bio, Organic or Natural on a Label?

Over the last few years, people are starting to be more aware of the need of having an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Therefore, this market niche is growing rapidly. At the same time, understanding what such a bio label stands for is becoming more of a challenge.  

But what does bio, eco, organic or natural really mean?

You can find any of these words on the labels of various products, from food items to beauty products, and from clothes to construction materials and finishes. Most brands identified the new sustainable trend in their customer’s behavior. On the one hand, if it were to discuss a specific existing brand, especially a well established one, then the company certainly launches or works on an eco-friendly collection of whatever product they sell. On the other hand, if we would consider a new brand, then they would specifically implement in their marketing strategy ecological values from the beginning.

It is important to realize that all of these words stand more or less for the same thing, for being grown and produced in harmony with nature. The general meaning implies that the impact on the environment must be minimized. Often an authorized organization must verify these facts. Even so, the legal term used to certify a product varies from one country to another. That is why the exact meaning of each depends on the specific regulations of the country.


Certification of agricultural and food products in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, UK use mostly the organic term. Another major legal use of the word “organic” is as part of the certification for organic textile, by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

Eco and Bio

Most of the European countries used terms like eco and bio for their certification regulations. Both of them are word-forming elements with Greek origins. In Europe, there are more than 300 eco and bio labels on the market for goods and services. Some of them are internationally-accepted, such as EU Ecolabel, EU Organic Label, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Blue Angel, Austria Bio Guarantee, and others.


Natural is not part of any legal certification, having no legal definition or regulation. Though it stands for the same values as the others, it is mostly just a part of a marketing strategy.

After all, an organic or an eco-label, is a guarantee for the consumer that the manufacturing process of the final product took into account and implemented strict principles, defined by an authorized body.

For instance, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements states that organic agriculture is based on 4 core principles:

  • health – the health of the individual cannot be separated from the health of the ecosystems
  • ecology – the production process should be based on specific ecological processes, recycling, and balance
  • fairness – fairness at all levels and to all parties involved
  • care – stands for precaution and responsibility as key concerns.

Generally speaking, the principles apply not only in agriculture but in any business that claims to have ecological values.

Here are my sources, do feel free to check these out for more insight:

Please share with us your beloved eco-friendly brands, so that more people can have easier access to buying planet safe products.

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