Verifying “green” claims

Source: https://etech.iec.ch/issue/2023-06/verifying-green-claims?utm_source=IEC+e-tech&utm_campaign=71dd4382d0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2023_12_21_03_34&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-71dd4382d0-%5BLIST_EMAIL_ID%5D

Date: 08-01-2024

Today, sustainability is a global priority for industry at large. As companies incorporate more sustainable approaches, it is also important to evidence these “green” claims to foster credibility. Discover how IECQ’s services help by enabling verification of such environmental claims.  

Companies across various industries have started advertising the sustainable approaches they integrate in their production process to stand out favourably to their customers. However, sometimes in trying to advertise the sustainable aspects of their products, it is easy for such claims to cross over into “greenwashing” territory.

In such scenarios, tools that can analyze the veracity of these claims are needed to help establish trust and ensure that the companies advertising their products as eco-friendly meet the proper international standards. The IEC through its IECQ system provides services that allow verification of claims of carbon footprint of a product, in accordance with international standard ISO 14067, providing confidence in the claims made by organizations regarding their environmental performance.

Beware of greenwashing

Carbon footprint claims are perhaps one of the most common indicators that companies use to reflect their efforts towards more environmentally friendly practices. But in many cases, there is a need to check the claims of “green practices”. The methodologies used by different organizations to arrive at the claims might differ and therefore the outcomes may not be comparable. 

In order to avoid misrepresentations, a verification of environmental claims is essential.

Benefits of verifying carbon footprint claims

A carbon footprint is a measure of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, organization, event or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Measuring and reducing their carbon footprint is one method organizations adopt to act on climate change.

Independent verification can benefit an organization in proving its claims to regulators, public interest groups and organizational peers:

  • Increased credibility and transparency – Independent verification provides assurance that the carbon footprint calculation and reduction efforts are accurate, reliable, trustworthy and in keeping with international standards. It increases credibility and transparency among stakeholders.
  • Improved efficiency and cost savings – An independent verification helps identify areas for improvement in a company’s carbon management and reduce the risk of over- or underestimating emissions. In many cases, it can also lead to improved efficiency and cost savings.
  • Enhanced reputation – Companies that have undergone independent verification of their carbon footprint often see an improvement in their reputation as responsible environmental stewards.
  • Increased accountability – Independent verification provides a higher level of accountability and helps ensure that organizations are meeting their commitments to reducing their carbon footprint and addressing climate change.

The standard that the claims need to live up to

The IECQ carbon footprint of product verification statement is a service based on ISO 14067, Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – Requirements and guidelines for quantification.

The standard categorizes the calculation of the carbon footprint of a product or service into three main stages:

  • Direct emissions from the manufacturing process, including the production of the product components, assembly and packaging
  • Indirect emissions from the energy used during the product's use, such as electricity consumption during operation
  • Emissions associated with the end-of-life stage, including transportation, disposal and recycling

To calculate the carbon footprint of a product, ISO 14067 provides a standardized methodology for assessing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each stage of the product's life cycle. This includes using established data sources and calculation methods to estimate emissions from different processes and activities, as well as considering relevant factors such as product use patterns and end-of-life management practices.

IECQ carbon footprint of product (CFP) claim verification

IECQ offers a service that allows companies and manufacturers to verify that their carbon footprint claims are calculated using the correct process, methodology, and registers in accordance with the international standard ISO 14067.

Initially introduced for the electronics industry, IECQ has made these services adaptable and customizable, allowing them to be effectively implemented across diverse electrotechnical or related industries such as energy, communications, healthcare, finance or transport.

All IECQ certificates and verification statements are publicly accessible on the IECQ centralized online certificate system. Having it all in one place enables manufacturers and service providers to easily demonstrate authenticity in real time and is available for instant public checking and confirmation.

IECQ also offers a suite of other certification and verification services which support circular approaches, promote implementation of environmentally conscious design and help manage and reduce the use of hazardous substances. These services contribute to responsible consumption and production of electronics, ensuring better energy access while helping to reduce the amounts of waste generated.

 

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