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Article: International ISO Standards


Estimated time to read: 5 minutes


European and International Standards

In one of our previous articles we already talked about European Standards for Environmental Product Declarations, like EN 15804+A2. Our goal today is to introduce you to international standards that are provided by the International Organization for Standardization. This non-governmental organization develops and publishes international quality standards.

In order to ensure that customer expectations are met, ISO standards are used to measure the quality of products and services. They provide organizations with guidelines rather than strict rules. Nonetheless, those who wish to be more competitive in the market will need to conform to these standards, as well as set up, use, maintain, and improve their environmentally friendly practices. There are three types of environmental product declaration: Type I, Type II, and Type III. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Understanding ISO Standards

Environmental declarations of type I are eco-labels awarded to products and services that meet specific environmental standards in accordance with ISO14024. These labels are verified by an independent third party, ensuring credibility and objectivity. As a result, consumers are able to make greener purchasing decisions when choosing products that have less environmental impact. For manufacturers, having a Type I declaration enhances product marketability by visibly demonstrating its ecological awareness. A few examples of Type I labels are Fair Trade and EU Ecolabel.

In type II environmental labels or self-declared environmental claims, manufacturers explain the environmental attributes of their products. As an example, a producer might claim that a product is made from 100% recycled materials. As these declarations are generated internally without external verification or certification, consumers have to verify their validity and accuracy.

Environmental Product Declarations

Type III environmental declarations, also known as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), are comprehensive reports that present quantified environmental data of a product, based on information from a life cycle assessment (LCA). The ISO 14040 standard covers the concept of life cycle assessment. This standard focuses on the principles and framework for conducting a Life Cycle Assessment. Here we discuss LCA in more detail.

EPDs, covered in ISO 14025 are standardized and verified by a third party, ensuring reliability and accuracy of the information provided. In this way, products with similar functions can be objectively compared in terms of their environmental impact. In today’s marketplace, EPDs are a powerful tool that manufacturers can use to demonstrate environmental awareness, enhance brand reputation, and gain a competitive advantage.

Declaration NameVerifiedUnverified
Environmental labels (Type I)ISO 14024ISO 14021
Self-declared Environmental Claims (Type II)ISO 14021
Environmental Product Declaration (Type III)ISO 14025
Types of Environmental Declarations and corresponding ISO Standard

Conclusion for sustainability

To sum up, ISO standards for Environmental Product Declarations are a powerful strategy for businesses to demonstrate sustainability and meet evolving market needs. In this way, companies can enhance their brand reputations, foster informed consumer decisions, and contribute to the environmental welfare of the planet.