Product Stewardship for Manufacturers
Eco-label programs are certification programs in which a product, process, or management system is certified to meet specific environmental criteria as established by an assessment body. Manufacturers wishing to achieve certification to an eco-label program may enjoy marketing advantages because the certification positively differentiates their products as environmentally sound.
Typically, the assessment organization will certify the product/process and upon approval, allow the applicant to use a logo on the product label, packaging, and/or advertising. Independently, a manufacturer can label their products with non-certified, specific, environmental information, which is another form of eco-labeling.
There are many international eco-labeling entities that certify products for their country, and for manufacturers who sell products in their country. Additional programs certify performance-specific features such as the energy efficiency or indoor air quality emissions of various products or processes.
Eco-labeling programs have influenced product design in the areas of life-cycle impact, durability, hazards, recyclability, and more. The criteria differ for each program and can cover the product itself, and in addition, the processes used to manufacture the product, or other life-cycle impacats. Examples include efficient use of fossil fuels, reduction of greenhouse gas emission, conservation of resources, concentration restrictions on substances such as heavy metals and toxins.
Determine which ecolabeling standard(s) you want to meet
Reason: Many programs exist; internationally-based, or categorically-based, so it depends on the markets you are trying to target
Eco-labeling can influence product design: Apply Design for Environment (DfE) and lifecycle (LCA) tools and principles to existing or new products so they will meet the criteria
Reason: DfE and LCA will applications will help meet most ecolabeling criteria
Self-certify your product(s), packaging, and processes before third-party validation
Reason: Confidence in your product
Design your product labels, product literature, and advertising to include the logo from the accredited program
Reason: Many of the certification logos do have a high level of market recognition
Get your approved product listed, as certified, in as many environmental purchasing catalogs, websites, and databases as possible
Reason: Maximize existing marketing opportunities for environmental products