Case study: Regional branding as an instrument for sustainable, environmentally-friendly development – The “Prüfzeichen” of the biosphere reserve Schorfheide-Chorin


What are the aims?

A UNESCO biosphere reserve, Schorfheide-Chorin, has established a regional brand. The brand is a voluntary labeling scheme that targets local businesses and other stakeholders. Its aim is to encourage the production of local and sustainably produced goods in order to conserve the reserve’s rich cultural and environmental legacy.

The aim of the label is to encourage regional enterprises and stakeholders to help the public engage with the biosphere reserve in an environmentally-friendly manner while maintaining the historic, cultural landscape of the area. The label also aims to become an instrument for increasing the income of participating enterprises.

Which approach was taken?

In order to strengthen the cycles of the regional economy, ecological agriculture and highquality food producers (the main sectors in the region), use the certification label for marketing their produce. For rural producers and processors, minimizing the steps in the production process is preferable.

Which industries and ecosystem services are covered?

At the moment, the ‘Prüfzeichen’ label exists for a number of different sectors: agriculture, horticulture, bee-farming, fisheries, and for products ranging from red currant-juice to sausages, regional meats and other forms of gastronomic products to handicrafts and other art forms. The label is also used in the hospitality industry, for nature-tourism, sustainable timber processing and by a local bookstore.

In practice, production standards require that for example honey is free of pharmaceutical ingredients, pesticides and other artificial additives. Special standards (in the process of being internationally certified) are also being prepared for forest and game management and products. Existing certification schemes, and their regulatory mechanisms, are used to reduce both costs and workload.

What input was needed?

Several groups cooperate to create the regional label’s standards. A committee of experts comprises marketing specialists and representatives of the biosphere reserve, certified entrepreneurs and the regional partnership association.

What are the results and policy uptake?

The regional brand has been an instrument for the production and promotion of local, environmentally-friendly goods and services. It has made possible a dynamic network between certified producers, leading to increased public awareness about the importance of the way in which resources are handled.



Information prepared within the project "Non-governmental sector participation in the international conference" EU Biodiversity strategy implementation "" financed by Latvian national budget-funded program "Support for public participation in the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union implementation" and administered by the Society Integration Foundation.