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Label meet Label

Posted 15 January 2009 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News.

EcoLogo and EPEAT have brokered a mutual recognition deal. For awhile we’ve been preaching about the need for increased harmonization between different labels, so this is exciting news!

Henceforth, manufacturers will be able to register products in the EPEAT system by working directly with EPEAT, or by working with EcoLogo. Ecologo may list EPEAT registered products on their website as jointly Ecologo-EPEAT registered, but all will also appear on the EPEAT registry. Any products that are registered through Ecologo (or in future by other collaborating organizations) will appear on the EPEAT registry in exactly the same format as all other products, with no distinction regarding origin or status.”

Behind the scenes, coordinating two different systems is laudable, but takes time and work from both parties. Sarah O’Brien from The Green Electronics Council (EPEAT’s mothership) explained to us via email: “In relationship with EPEAT, Ecologo will register products through the usual EPEAT process – declaration and verification. Their verification investigations will be coordinated with us and will serve as an additional piece of the overall EPEAT verification rounds…. We will be using a joint Product Verification Committee at least to begin with, to ensure that the interpretation and application of criteria are the same across both organizations’ verification  investigations.”

We are waiting to hear if this also extend to the logo’s themselves – i.e. can products registered with EPEAT also carry the EcoLogo? Stay tuned.

  • Anastasia —

    I can quickly answer your question. Absolutely, computer manufacturers will be permitted to use the EcoLogo mark on their EPEAT registered products — IF AND ONLY IF — EcoLogo has actually certified that the products meet the EPEAT standard.

    As you know, EPEAT is a self-registration program. Manufacturers sign up with the EPEAT program through the Green Electronics Council (GEC) or now through EcoLogo. Manufacturers are not required to submit any proof of compliance when they register products on the EPEAT website.

    GEC has always conducted random audits of select environmental attributes from select EPEAT-registered products as a way of ensuring the validity of the information manufacturers provide. GEC publishes the results of their random audits so you can see where manufacturers have misinterpretted something and mistakenly declared conformance. GEC also insists that the information be corrected.

    GEC’s audits have proven that random audits are an effective way of policing the EPEAT program. When problems are identified, they are publicized and corrected.

    EcoLogo will participate in that approach and work with GEC to ensure consistent interpretation of the EPEAT standard.

    EcoLogo will also, however, permit manufacturers to prove in advance that they actually meet the EPEAT standard. Manufacturers that get their products certified will be permitted to use the EcoLogo certification mark in addition to the EPEAT registration mark.

    I hope this makes sense. Give me a shout if you want additional clarification.

    – Scot Case, Executive Director of the EcoLogo program