Friday, July 9, 2010

The History and Value of Environmental Labeling

Environmental labels have been around for more than a quarter century, yet their value rests on the assurance that the information provided is credible, objective, easily identifiable and understood by consumers.

The demand for environmental information on consumer products has been growing since the late 1970s. There are now many different approaches and systems for assessing and communicating environmental product information.

In 1992, the concept of environmental labeling was endorsed by participating governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to "encourage expansion of environmental labeling and other environmentally related product information programs designed to assist consumers to make informed choices".

In 1993, ISO established a technical committee to develop international environmental labeling standards. These standards are intended to incorporate requirements for consistency and accuracy, and create fair competition in the marketplace. ISO 14020 series is part of a family of international environmental labeling standards.

Environmental labeling is based on international standards and is recognized as an effective instrument of environmental policy by the World Trade Organization (WTO) secretariat, (see WTO Web page on environmental labeling).

Standards play an important role in providing guidance to ensure responsible claims in industry and advertising.

Standards for environmental claims benefit consumers, industry, and advertisers by providing a level playing field and consistency of application. They also provide continual improvement through the maintenance of a standards program that is updated as environmental practices and scientific information evolve.

Related Posts
ISO 14020 Series: 3 Types of Environmental Labels and Declarations
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
Standards to Combat Eco-label and Eco-Certification Confusion
Canadian Guidelines on Environmental Claims
Organic Standards and Certified Labels
ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
The Implications of ISO 50001 for Your Business
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles
ISO 14001 Certification in the Solar Sector
Cititec ISO Environmental Management
G3 Guidelines and GRI Sustainability Reporting
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses

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