Common core criteria harmonise standards worldwide

Eco-labelling acceptance has been growing worldwide as a market-based instrument to promote pollution prevention and sustainability. Each national programme reflects differing domestic environmental priorities, so to avoid potential trade barriers and to facilitate more sustainable production worldwide, it is helpful to develop mutual recognition programmes and common core criteria. GEN is taking the lead in this.

How are common criteria developed?

  1. An Initial Research Report gathers product information, technical characteristics and checks global development trends. An initial life cycle analysis is made, and existing global criteria compared.
  2. Sub-product categories are scoped for inclusion (for example, divide washing machines into categories of commercial and residential.)
  3. Elements of existing criteria are separated into "core" and "non-core" portions. (For example, power consumption is the core element of criteria for televisions.)
  4. Detailed specifications/requirements are listed for each core element. (For example, identify power consumption specifications at TV's "ON Mode", "STANDBY Mode", and "OFF Mode".)
  5. Testing and verification methods are set for each specification. (For example, decide how to verify mixing ratios of recycled materials.)
  6. Common Core Criteria are agreed and an action plan proposed. Members are encouraged to adopt the criteria as national standards and to sign mutual member recognition agreements.