New version of ISO 14024 on ecolabelling published
AUSTRALIA • If consumers are looking for ways to reduce environmental impacts through their purchasing choices, a huge range of different terms such as natural, recyclable, eco-friendly, low-energy, recycled content cause confusion. This is why a new version of ISO 14024, Environmental labels and declarations – Type I environmental labelling – Principles and procedures, was published
A Type I label is a third-party assessment of a product based on a number of criteria involved in the environmental impact of a product or material throughout its life cycle. The objective of this type of environmental labelling programme is to contribute to a reduction in the environmental impacts associated with products, through the identification of products that meet the specific criteria of a Type I programme for overall environmental preferability.
In 1999 ISO 14024 laid down the first international requirements for ecolabelling. ISO 14024 sets a framework and guide for Type I ecolabels. The new 2018 version supports the position these ecolabels hold in different markets. The objective is to secure transparency and credibility when implementing Type I environmental labelling programmes and to harmonize the principles and procedures applicable to these programmes.
ISO 14024:2018 refers to Type I environmental labelling programmes, which are voluntary and can be operated by public or private agencies at the national, regional or international level. It establishes the principles and procedures for developing Type I environmental labelling programmes, including the selection of product categories, product environmental criteria and product function characteristics, and for assessing and demonstrating compliance. It also establishes the certification procedures for awarding the label.
ISO 14024:2018 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 3, Environmental labelling, whose secretariat is held by SA, ISO’s member for Australia. It can be purchased from national ISO member or through the ISO Store.
Björn-Erik Lönn, Convenor of the working group that revised the standard, explains: “These ecolabels used to cover mostly consumer goods, but now a range of services, from hotels to cleaning companies, can be “ecolabelled” based on third-party verification of public environmental requirements determined according to life-cycle considerations of the product.”
He concludes: “The core principles and descriptions of the original 1999 version have been kept unchanged as they fully describe the work that Type I ecolabels so successfully do all over the world.”