News / Archive for the ‘Ecolabel News’ Category

ANSI Seeks Technical Assessors for Ecolabel Accreditation Pilot

Posted 3 June 2013 by Jacob Malthouse to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is now seeking technical assessors to participate in a June training session for a pilot project on accrediting ecolabeling certification programs. Details are below. Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact ANSI directly as soon as possible.

Technical Assessors, ANSI accreditation program

Immediate Supervisor: Director, Accreditation Services
Office Location: Offsite, reporting to ANSI Headquarters in Washington, DC
Type: Contract

Position Summary

ANSI is recruiting contract Quality Professionals that have experience with the process and technical aspects of evaluating the competence of eco-labeling schemes and certification bodies.Successful assessor candidates will be familiar with ISO/IEC Guide 65 requirements for product certification. Assessors should also be knowledgeable in management systems (e.g., ISO 9000) and/or environmental label and declaration standards (e.g. ISO 14020, 14024, and 14025).

Knowledge and Experience

  • An understanding of the governance of environmental eco-labeling and declaration certification bodies and development of environmental eco-labeling and declaration certification schemes.
  • Knowledge of and experience in the field of environment-related standards development, certification processes, environmental product information, and implications for public policy and purchasing strategy.
  • Ability to attend a June Training Program at ANSI Headquarters in Washington, DC
  • Not currently employed by an environmental label and/or declaration certification body.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, and at least 6 years of professional experience are required.
  • Significant travel is involved.
  • Remuneration is fee based.

About ANSI

ANSI is a private, non-profit organization (501(c)3) that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. The Institute’s mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.

ANSI is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. ANSI does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, disability, national origin, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship or authorized alien status, or veteran status.

To Apply

Qualified and interested professionals are encouraged to submit a CV to the ANSI Director of Accreditation Services, Katie Calder, at:

ANSI Washington, DC Headquarters
1899 L Street, NW 11th Floor, Washington, DC, 20036
Tel: 202.293.8020

Certified Pulp for Proctor and Gamble

Posted 14 November 2012 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

Proctor and Gamble recently announced a commitment to sourcing only certified sustainable pulp for tissue-towel, baby care, and feminine hygiene brands by 2015.

It’s interesting to see how they handled the several and competing options for sustainable timber 3rd party certifications. They are recognizing five programs in all. They continue to give preference to FSC – the 2015 goal call for at least 40% of the pulp used in P&G’s tissue-towel products to be FSC-certified. They will also recognize PEFC, SFI, CERFLOR and CSA-SFM.

Looking further ahead, the 2020 goal for the company is that: By 2020, 100 percent of our paper packaging will contain either recycled or third-party certified virgin content (p 16 of their 2012 Sustainability Report [PDF])

The new goals were developed in dialogue with WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network; and help to meet the Consumer Goods Forum‘s commitment to ensuring zero net deforestation by 2020.

No GMO Labelling in California

Posted 13 November 2012 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

Controversial Proposition 37 was voted down this week by Californians. This proposition would have required food and beverage manufacturers inform to consumers of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the product’s label.

It was a close vote – some 52.9% were against, 47.1% for it, indicating widespread support for labeling and also a growing awareness and interest in the origins and impacts of our food system.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), consumer beliefs affected the outcome, namely that:

  • some consumers say “I don’t understand it so I don’t care”
  • some consumers fear that labeling GMOs would increase the cost of food
  • some consumers believe that GMOs are necessary to feed the world’s population.

Given these numbers, we can expect a rise in popularity of the “Contains no GMO’s” variety of claims and labels…or on the flipside, of the “contains GMO” grassroots-guerrilla kind (see Label It Yourself).

FTC Releases New Guidance for Ecolabels

Posted 2 October 2012 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released their long-awaited update to the Green Marketing Guides yesterday.

Given the influence of US markets, these guidelines will have implications for companies, ecolabels, certifiers and advertisers worldwide, and future posts will provide some more context and analysis.

A new section can be found on pages 10-15 that addresses ‘certifications and seals of approval’. Where the 1998 guide covered the topic only via an example, in this iteration a new section is devoted to the issue “given the widespread use of certifications and seals and their potential for deception”.

The five guidelines related to certifications and seals of approval are:

(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, or service has been endorsed or certified by an independent third party.

(b) A marketer’s use of the name, logo, or seal of approval of a third-party certifier or organization may be an endorsement. Therefore, they should meet the criteria for endorsements provided in the FTC’s Endorsement Guides.

(c) Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer’s obligation to ensure that it has substantiation for all claims reasonably communicated by the certification.

(d) A marketer’s use of an environmental certification or seal of approval likely conveys that the product offers a general environmental benefit (see § 260.4) if the certification or seal does not convey the basis for the certification or seal, either through the name or some other means. Because it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate general environmental benefit claims, marketers should not use environmental certifications or seals that do not convey the basis for the certification.

(e) Marketers can qualify general environmental benefit claims conveyed by environmental certifications and seals of approval to prevent deception about the nature of the environmental benefit being asserted. To avoid deception, marketers should use clear and prominent qualifying language that clearly conveys that the certification or seal refers only to specific and limited benefits.

The more detailed “Statement of Basis and Purpose” supplement works through how and why this route was taken, with a description of the draft text, a summary of the types of comments received (and the fun bit – how organisations specifically commented), followed by their analysis and final guidance.

The New York Times offers an assessment and summary here. Now that the new guidelines have been issued, attention will likely turn to both how environmental claims can be best integrated into decision making based on this new guidance, and how enforcement is likely to unfold.

Organic means Organic at Whole Foods

Posted 25 September 2012 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News | No Comments |

We’ve long been impressed with just how many ecolabels you can find at Whole Foods (aka ecolabel-land). But once you stepped from food to the personal care aisle, if you were paying attention, it seemed that some of the rules started shifting around. Organic was sometimes USDA Organic and sometimes not, and the rules for % ingredients were also kind of jumbled.

Recognizing this issue two years ago, Whole Foods has been diligently working with their suppliers to correct this situation and start to bring some greater cohesion to the jumble of claims.

And a Whole Foods press release today announces that now all personal care products are in compliance with the company’s guidelines requiring all personal care products making a front-of-label organic claim to be certified either to USDA organic standards or the NSF/ANSI 305 organic personal care standard. More specifically, the policy mandates:

  • Products making an “Organic” product claim − Must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standard for organic (>95%) products.
  • Products making a “Made with Organic [Ingredient]” claim − Must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program standard for Made with Organic (>70%) products.
  • Products making a “Contains Organic [Ingredient]” claim − Must be certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Organic Personal Care Standard.
  • Products listing an organic ingredient in the “Ingredients:” listing − Organic ingredient must be certified to the USDA NOP standard.

Good news for consumers, good news for those suppliers meeting these two standards, and for both of the USDA and NSF/ANSI standards working to identify better personal care claims.