The ISO 14020 series (14020, 14021, 14024, 14025) is designed to assist businesses with measuring and communicating their efforts to minimize their environmental impacts. ISO 14020 compliment ISO 14001 which offers standards for environmental management systems and ISO 14030 which deals with issues of environmental performance evaluation, indicators, and reporting. The same information is often required for these environmental reports and for the verification of environmental claims.
ISO 14040 series deals with the product life cycle; it covers the guiding principles of life cycle analysis, inventory, impact assessment, and interpretation, and provides some sample applications. Credible environmental labeling is dependent on an understanding of the life cycle of a product; consequently, there is a close linkage between the 14020 series and 14040 standards.
ISO and IEC guides are designed to help those developing technical standards to consider the environmental aspects of their products and operations (eg ISO Guide 64). Here is a brief review of ISO’s three types of environmental labels:
Type I environmental labeling — Principles and procedures: This is a series of procedures to establish and operate a Type I, or eco-logo, program. Type I programs employ a third-party certification process to verify product or service compliance with a pre-selected set of criteria. These efforts are designed to provides guidance on developing criteria, compliance, systems, and operating procedures for awarding eco-logos for third-party verifiers.
Type II environmental labeling — Self-declared environmental claims: This approach defines commonly used environmental claims, establishes use guidelines for the Mobius loop markings, and suggests methodologies for tests that can be used to verify these claims.
Type III environmental declarations: This is an approach that specifies a format for reporting quantifiable life cycle data (environmental loads, such as energy used, emissions generated, etc.). It describes business-to-business declarations and labels, which require independent verification of the data only, not third-party certification. Business-to-consumer declarations require third-party certification.
ISO Principles for Environmental Labels and Claims
The History and Value of Environmental Labeling
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