Submitted: The Two Sides Team February 21, 2013
The ISO has outlined how its standards help manufacturers and consumer representatives ensure that environmental claims can be trusted.
February 18 2013
via Environmental Leader
The ISO has outlined how its standards help manufacturers and
consumer representatives ensure that environmental claims can be
The organizations free brochure, Environmental labels and declarations How ISO standards can help, gives an introduction to the ISO 14020 series of standards for environmental labels and declarations. The standards provides
businesses with a globally recognized and credible set of international
benchmarks against which they can prepare their environmental labeling.
The series includes three types of labeling.
ISO 14021 deals with all self-declared environmental claims made on
products and packaging, including the use of symbols, pictures or logos.
It also covers advertising and trade-report claims, and encompasses
environmental claims made about services. The standard requires that
these claims must be verified before they are made, and prohibits vague
or non-specific claims such as environmentally friendly, green, or
Testing of a product or services environmental claims must use
accepted test methods and the information must be disclosed to anyone
who requests it, ISO says.
ISO 14024 establishes requirements for operating an ecolabeling program such as the Nordic Swan or the Japanese Eco-Mark.
These environmental labeling programs should be voluntary, and must
comply with environmental legislation. Additionally, these programs must
take the whole product life cycle into consideration. This includes
extraction of resources, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal.
The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), the international federation of ecolabeling bodies, has adopted this standard as a benchmark.
The third type of environmental declarations fall under the ISO 14025
standard, which establishes procedures for issuing quantified
environmental information about products based on life-cycle data. These
declarations are based on independently verified life-cycle assessment
data and analysis. They are subject to the administration of a program
operator such as a group of companies, a trade association, a public
agency or a scientific body, ISO explains.
An environmental declaration related to climate change that describes
GHG emissions in terms of CO2e would fall under this standard, for
The mushrooming number of eco-labels in the food industry
expected to continue to increase in 2013 could actually discourage
food producers from adopting the labels, because of the growing
disparity between standards and multiple certification costs, the
research group Organic Monitor found recently.
Consumers may also be finding it harder to distinguish between the
growing number of logos and seals for organic and fairtrade products,
the January study says.
These findings echo a study by the International Institute for
Management Development and the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne on eco-labeling for all products.
The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 companies and was released in
August 2012, found that consumers and companies alike are becoming
confused and overwhelmed by eco-labeling.