Case: ICA, Sweden

Thank you for shopping in an eco-labelled store

IN-SHOP: Eco-Labelling of Retail Stores

Who: ICA

Country: Sweden

Objective: ICA wants all stores in Sweden to be certified by Nordic Swan and meet the criteria of the Swedish food safety standard.

Description of initiative: All stores in Sweden are planned to be certified by Nordic Swan or meet the criteria of the Nordic Swan of shops. Nordic Swan environmental requirements cover a number of areas that range from the assortment of ecological and environmental products, energy, packaging, waste and transport. In total more than 90 criteria have to be fulfilled for a store to be certified with the Nordic Swan label.

By the end of 2009, 400 stores were Swan-labelled. During 2010, environmental criteria have been strengthened. In October 2010, 12 ICA shops have fulfilled the new sharpened criteria of the Nordic Swan. One of the main changes in the new requirements is energy efficiency requirements. With the tougher requirements on energy consumption each store can on average save about 150 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Another criterion that has been strengthened is the continuous increase of the range of ecological and environmental products. And a final requirement that has become tougher is that an even larger fraction of the waste from the shop has to be sorted. As before, shops have to set their own targets to further reduce their energy use, increase sales of environmental goods and reduce their waste.

For many shops environmental issues are very complex. The Nordic Swan label acts as a guide in this work and helps the store to always be at the forefront when it comes to sustainability issues.

In May 2009 a Swedish standard for food safety in stores was adopted, after which stores can be certified by a third party. ICA’s internal quality standard was an important basis for the standard. By the end of 2009, 1,050 Swedish ICA stores were following the standard and 61 ICA stores were certified according to the Swedish food safety standard, i.e., a third party has verified that they are following the standard.

Effect of initiative: Tougher requirements of the Nordic Swan label regarding energy efficiency mean that for about 400 ecolabelled stores existing nowadays in Sweden, a total of 54 308 tonnes of CO2 could be saved, which is equivalent to annual CO2 emissions of 17 700 gasoline cars. Should all 2600 stores in the four major retail chains: Ica, Coop, Axfood and Bergendahlsgruppen also reach Swan's energy requirements this would save CO2 emissions equivalent to what 117 000 cars emit annually.

Time period: 2009-2010

Future work: ICA has decided that the Nordic Swan green label will apply to Norwegian stores as well. It is planned that by the end of 2010, 800 Swedish ICA stores will be quality certified according to the Swedish food safety standard.

More information


Per Sandell, responsible for shops at Miljömärkning Sverige, 0703-241 227, Obfuscated Email
Cecilia Wilhelmsson, media contact, Miljömärkning Sverige, 0704-672 548, Obfuscated Email


ICAs Shop Sustainably List (in English) - Butiker (in Swedish)
List of criteria for store certification can be found on: - företag (in Swedish)
A number of short films were produced by Nord Swan for certified ICA stores, can be viewed on: - Marknadsför din butik (in Swedish)