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Green labelling and certification for infrastructure, products, packaging

Resources:
Energy, Materials, Water, Waste, Carbon
Sector:
All sectors, Construction, Wholesale and retail
Cost:
Medium cost
Annual saving:
0 - 30 %
Payback time:
0.5 - 3 Year(s)
Read more
Return from the ecolabelling is reflected by the competitive advantage achieved through the greater appeal of sustainable products
Total cost savings:
Cost savings differ depending on how well production can be optimised to minimise waste, energy, environmental footprint
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design, Production processes, Supply operations, Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced
One off investment:
1500 - 5000€
What is in it for you:
Competitive advantage through a portfolio of environmentally respectful products. Improvement of the company's brand value, boosting transparency and credibility.
Descriptive information:

Green labelling, also known as 'Ecolabelling', is a recognised scheme for businesses to communicate the environmental credentials of products they put on the market. The Ecolabel stimulates the market for green products and services, and promotes broader awareness of environmental issues.

Green labels became an officially recognised method for company's to make transparent environmental declarations or claims about their products, packaging, etc., such as materials used (natural, recycled, eco-friendly), the energy consumed during production, the organisation's wider green activities, and so on. These declarations attract consumers looking for ways to reduce their own environmental impacts through their purchasing choices. For businesses, green labelling is not only a way of communicating about their environmental performance, but also a way of gaining market advantage for certain products and services.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has identified three broad types of voluntary labels.

Type I: Voluntary, multiple-criteria, third-party verified labelling schemes. Type I ecolabels indicate the overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular class based on life-cycle considerations. The main Type I scheme is the EU Ecolabel, managed by the European Commission.

Type II: Self-declared informative environmental claims, not validated by an external, independent verifier.

Type III: Voluntary reports providing multi-criteria quantified environmental data for a product or service, from a life-cycle approach. These reports must be based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the certain product, following pre-set rules known as Product Category Rules (PCR), which are defined specifically for every product category. These reports should also be verified by a qualified third party.

In contrast to 'green' symbols, or unsubstantiated 'claims' made by some manufacturers and service providers, green labels based on life-cycle considerations and verified by an independent scheme are the most transparent tool for communicating the environmental performance of different products or services.

Companies with validated ecolabels for their products and services typically gain a competitive advantage over competitors thanks to their better brand value and perceived credibility.

In an attempt to unify the different existing schemes, the European Commission has been working to simplify and improve ecolabelling, packaging, and general measurement criteria. For example, the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a multi-criteria methodology prepared to analyse the environmental performance of products and services from a life-cycle perspective.

Testimonial:

"Eco-labelling is generally cheaper than regulatory controls. By empowering customers and manufacturers to make environmentally supportive decisions, the need for regulation is kept to a minimum..." - IISD Business and Sustainable Development: A Global Guide

Sources

Global Ecolabelling Network, What is eco-labelling, https://www.globalecolabelling.net/what-is-eco-labelling/

IHOBE (2011), Product environmental labelling: Environmental criteria guide for product enhancement, http://www.ihobe.eus/Publicaciones/ficha.aspx?IdMenu=750e07f4-11a4-40da-...

IISD (2013(, Business and Sustainable Development: A Global Guide. Benefits of Ecolabeling, https://www.iisd.org/business/markets/eco_label_benefits.aspx

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