Ecolabelling is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification and labelling that is practised around the world. An ecolabel identifies products or services proven to be environmentally preferable within a specific category.

In contrast to arbitrary “green” symbols or claims made by providers, GEN members offer credible labels certified by an impartial third party for products or services that have been independently determined to meet transparent environmental leadership criteria based on life cycle considerations. A GEN member ecolabel on a product or service means it is certified against a science-based standard. Requirements and product categories can differ but all standards address multiple environmental and health issues which can include toxicity, air quality, energy and water use, recyclability, use of natural resources, and other areas of concern.

A GEN member ecolabel on a product or service means it is certified against a science-based standard.

GEN member programmes have attained the status of Type 1 according to ISO 14024:2018 Environmental Labels and Declarations—Type 1 Environmental Labelling. Find more information on the ISO principles here.

Types of Ecolabels

Type I environmental labelling” is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the “ISO 14024:1999 Environmental labels and declarations – Type 1 environmental labelling – Principles and procedures” Guidance Standard as “A voluntary, multiple-criteria based, third party program that awards a license which authorizes the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations.”

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How are Ecolabels different?

Standard criteria must:

  • be developed in a transparent process open to the public
  • address multiple key environmental and health impacts over the product life cycle
  • be attainable, verifiable and measurable
  • consider the performance of the product
  • be published and available for inspection by anyone
  • be updated regularly to represent environmental leadership

Related resources

GEN Ecolabels for Business

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GEN Ecolabels for Consumers

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Ecolabelling Overview






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