Environmentally certified products

The environmental certification of products is currently covered by the following international standards. In the UK BRE Certification has launched a scheme for assessing the Environmental Profiles of construction products.

ISO 14020: Environmental labels and declarations - General principles

States that environmental labels and declarations are one of the tools of environmental management. They provide information about a product or service in terms of its overall environmental character.

•Environmental labels and declarations shall be accurate, verifiable, relevant and not misleading.

•Based on scientific methodology.

There are 9 principles.

ISO 14021: Environmental labels and declarations Self-declared environmental claim - Type II environmental labelling

This standard specifies requirements for self-declared environmental claims, including statements, symbols and graphics, regarding products.

•Selected terms commonly used in self-declared environmental claims (designed for disassembly, recyclable, reduced energy consumption, etc.)

•An environmental claim that is vague or non-specific or which broadly implies that a product is environmentally beneficial or environmentally benign shall not be used.

•When a self-declared environmental claim is made, the use of a symbol is optional.

•The claimant shall be responsible for evaluation and provision of data necessary for the verification of self-declared environmental claims.

ISO 14024: Environmental labels and declarations - Type I environmental labelling - Principles and procedures

This standard establishes the principles and procedures for developing Type I environmental labelling programmes, and the certification procedures for awarding the label.

•Ecolabelling body: third party body, and its agents, which conducts a Type I environmental labelling programme.

•Licensee: party authorized by an ecolabelling body to use a Type I environmental label.

•Certification: procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements.

•License: document by which an ecolabelling body grants to a person or body the right to use the label for its products or services.


ISO/FDIS 14025: Environmental labels and declarations - Type III environmental declarations - Principles and procedures

This standard establishes the principles and specifies the procedures for developing Type III environmental declaration programmes and Type III environmental declarations"

•Type III environmental declarations present quantified environmental information on the life cycle of a product (based on independently verified LCA data, LCI data or information modules in accordance with the ISO 14040 series) to enable comparisons between products fulfilling the same function.

•Type III environmental declarations are primarily intended for use in business-to-business communication, but their use in business-to-consumer communication is not precluded.

•Type III environmental declarations are intended to allow a purchaser or user to compare the environmental performance of products on a life cycle basis.


ISO 14040: Environmental management Life cycle assessment - Principles and framework

This standard specifies the general framework, principles and requirements for conducting and reporting life cycle assessment studies.

(1) Life cycle assessment (LCA) Compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental Impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle

(2) Life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) Phase of LCA involving the compilation and quantification of inputs and outputs, for a given product system throughout its life cycle

(3) Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) Phase of LCA aimed at understanding and evaluating the magnitude and significance of the potential environmental impacts of a product system

(4) Life cycle interpretation

(5) Reporting

(6) Critical review


ISO 14041: Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Goal and scope definition and inventory analysis

This standard specifies the requirements and procedures necessary for the compilation and preparation of the definition of goal and scope for LCA, and for performing, interpreting and reporting a LCI analysis"

(1) The goal and scope definition phase determines why LCA is being conducted and describe the system and the data categories

(2) LCI involves the collection of the data necessary to meet the goals of the defined study

ISO 14042: Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Life cycle impact assessment

This standard describes and gives guidance on a general framework for the life cycle impact assessment phase of LCA, and the key features and inherent limitations of LCIA.


(1) Classification/characterization/weighing

(2) Impact category (class representing environmental issues of concern to which LCI results may be assigned: ex. GWP)

(3) Category indicator (quantifiable representation of an impact category: ex. CO2 in GWP)

(4) Category endpoint (attribute or aspects of natural environment, human health or resources, identifying an environmental issue of concern)


ISO 14043: Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Life cycle interpretation

Describes the final phase of the life cycle assessment (LCA) procedure, in which the results of a life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) and if conducted of a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), or both, are summarised and discussed as a basis for conclusions, recommendations and decision-making in accordance with the goal and scope definition.

(1) identification of the significant issues based on the results of the LCI and LCIA phases of LCA

(2) evaluation which considers completeness, sensitivity and consistency checks

(3) conclusions, recommendations and reporting

ISO/FDIS 14044: Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Requirements and guidelines

This standard specifies the requirements and provides guideline for LCA" (New version of ISO14040)

ISO 14050: Environmental management - Vocabulary

Contains definitions of fundamental concepts related to environmental management, published in the ISO 14000 series.

(1) Environmental aspect: element of an organization's activities, products or services that can interact with the environment

(2) Environmental impact: any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization's activities, products or services

(3) Environmental performance: results of an organization's management of its environmental aspects

ISO/TR 14062: Environmental management - Integrating environmental aspects into product design and development

This standard describes concepts and current practices relating to the integration of environmental aspects into product design and development, where "product" is understood to cover both goods and services.

(1) The goal of integrating environmental aspects into product design and development is the reduction of adverse environmental impacts of products throughout their entire life cycles.

(2) In striving for this goal, multiple benefits can be achieved for the organization, its competitiveness, customers and other stakeholders. The object of the ISO 14000 Series is industrial products (Services are also included, but not Buildings)

ISO 15686-6: Buildings and constructed assets - Service life planning - Part 6: Procedures for considering environmental impacts

This standard describe how to assess, at the design stage, the potential environmental impacts of alternative designs of a constructed asset.

(1) The assessment of environmental impacts of a design option should be performed in parallel with technical and economic assessments.

(2) In order to make meaningful comparisons of options, their functional equivalency should be determined.

(3) Requirements regarding environmental impact may be expressed in terms of use of materials, use of energy, use of water, emission of substances, including hazardous and toxic emissions, and use of land and impact on biodiversity.

(4) LCA is a technique for assessing the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product by LCI, LCIA and LC Interpretation.

(5) When implementing LCA in Service Life Planning (SLP), it is anticipated that, in most situations, the LCA will not be performed within the procedure.


Therefore the above requirement can seldom be met in practice. Rather, existing data sets should be considered and combined in order to model the current design option.


To allow this kind of approach, it is a precondition that the applied LCA data sets are following an LCA routine that is conforming to the ISO 14040 series, and that it is harmonized further than the requirements of these standards. To allow the application of LCA-based information in the context of SLP, information is required to meet requirements following a harmonized programme conforming to ISO/TR 14025 or sector-specific requirements conforming, for example, ISO/DIS 21930*("Environmental Declarations of Building Products" prepared by WG3 of ISO/TC59/SC17 : Building construction/ Sustainability in building construction).


* ISO/DIS21930: Type II LCA environmental declaration of building products contents of declaration: environmental impacts (CO2 etc.), use of resources and generation of waste, emissions to water, soil and indoor air and others (biodiversity etc.). This forms the basis of the work of CEN/TC350.

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