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Draft Green Claims Guide Released for Public Comment

Posted 5 April 2011 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Collaboration, Ecolabel News.

For several years now, our team has been participating in the Green Products Roundtable, a multi-stakeholder group led by the Keystone Center aiming to improve clarity around green product claims.

On 31-March the forum released a proposed Preferred Practices for Organizational Credibility guide (PDF) for public comment. When completed, the guide will provide a simple road-map on how to safely make green claims. Interested parties can submit comments online here. The Roundtable intends to release a final version in December. The ecolabels section is divided into three categories, some of the key best-practices for each are:

1. Creating standards (development of criteria behind eco-labels)

a. Follow standard-setting codes (e.g. ISO, ANSI and ISEAL);
b. consider the life cycle impacts of products in creating criteria;
c. specify and control the ways that the labels and standards can be used; and
d. avoid developing duplicative standards to what already exists.

2. Issuing ecolabels (for programme managers who run the ecolabel every day)

a. Provide independent verification processes;
b. periodically conduct program performance measurement and program evaluation; and
c. regularly publish the governance system and list of certified entities in an accessible format.

3. Certifiers (for companies that certify entities have met a given ecolabel)

a. Be independent of categories 1 and 2;
b. have the technical ability to perform the verification;
c. be accredited by a relevant certifying standard;
d. monitor entities’ compliance with the standard over time; and
e. have dispute resolution mechanisms in place.

The guide also covers best practices for other relevant stakeholders including governments, retailers, product manufacturers, institutional and commercial buyers, NGOs and other interested stakeholders.