With so many competing products on the market, how can we clearly understand the environmental performance of the products that we buy.
One way is by looking for ecolabels, which act as a sign of the environmental credentials of products. However, there are so many logos on a wide range of products competing for our attention, how do we know which logos are able to help in our purchasing decision making based on environmental principles.
There is an app for that – The Ecolabel Guide.
This episode looks at the Ecolabels and the use of the EcoLabel Guide app to help to inform your product purchasing decisions. Stay until the end and these is a bonus resource to help you find out more about Ecolabels.
First, lets look at what is an ecolabel…
What are Ecolabels?
Ecolabels are logos, labels or marks, which are used to identify products that conform to recognized environmental standards.
Not all ecolabels are equal with three types of Ecolabel described in the relevant ISO 14020 series.
Type I Ecolabels
The most demanding ecolabelling called Type I Ecolabels covers the environmental performance over the life-cycle of the product and is delivered in accordance with ISO 14024:2018 and will have been overseen by an Accreditation Body to ISO/IEC 17065:2012.
Type II Ecolabels
Other labels, called Type II, may be self-declared without independent certification or external oversight. These environmental claims should be treated with caution as they may been “greenwashing”, where the product may be promoted on its environmental characteristics when they may not be confirmed on closer examination. ISO 14021:2016 can help to ensure that self-declared Ecolabels are not simply “greenwashing”.
Type III Ecolabels
Type III Ecolabels are Environmental Labels and Declarations (ELD) in conformity with ISO 14025:2006 & represent the environmental performance of a product based on information derived from the evaluation of life cycle of the product.
How to download and install the Ecolabel Guide?
The app can be found in the App Store for Apple devices and in Google Play for Android devices.
Here is an outline of the download from the App Store for Apple devices with a similar process for Android devices.
You can open the App Store and search for the Ecolabel Guide and bring up the apps page showing some screenshots of the app.
Further clicking on the entry in the App Store give the option to discover more about he app before downloading it, such as its Version History ranging from v1.1 to the current version at 2.3.2, the screenshots in greater detail and some additional text about the Ecolabel Guide and Ecolabeling in general.
Clicking on the download logo in the top right of the screen starts the download and install onto your device.
When the install process has been completed, the download logo changes to an blue Open button, which can be clicked to open the Ecolabel Guide.
How to use the Ecolabel Guide?
With the Ecolabel Guide open, there are three Menu items:
Clicking on the About item, opens up options to explore the background to the app including:
Each Item gives further information by clicking on the topic heading, such as the further information on the Ecolabel Guide, How to use the app including the scanner, the individual Ecolabel Profiles & the Ecolabels Directory, the Methodology used in the Ecolabel Guide & Contact Us information about the developers of the Guide.
How to use the Scanner?
The Scanner function is a very useful component of the app as it allows you to use the camera on your smartphone to scan any ecolabel and for the app to bring up further information about the specifics of the Ecolabel as well as access other Ecolabels within the same product category, such as “wood and paper”.
ISO Environmental Labels Guide
As a bonus to this article, ISO have published a useful guide on the International Standards that support ecolabeling, which is a resource that can further your understanding of ecolabelling.
A copy of the ISO Environmental Label Guide can be downloaded here
So, to summarise:
I hope that you found this article useful to advance your understanding of Ecolabels, the use of the Ecolabel Guide & how they can help with the purchase of environmentally friendly products, leave a comment in the box below, if this article has help you.
If you enjoyed this article, you should check out our YouTube Channel – EMSmastery, where you can watch our videos, such as our video accompanying this article on How to use the Ecolabel Guide App and subscribe in our YouTube channel for new videos released each week.
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