Development of Framework towards Standardized Assessment Criteria for Eco Products and Services

Recent estimates suggest that there are over 431 existing ecolabels in 246 countries and 25 industry sectors (www.ecolabelindex.com) marking consumer products in nearly every product category, and the number is growing rapidly. Each eco-label is based on certain criteria that encompass environmental, social and ethical attributes. Some ecolabels however overly state the criteria, some harbor ambiguities and some ecolabels suffer from incompleteness and inconsistency. This leads to poor acceptance of ecolabels and misinterpretation, thereby leading to poor market influence.

There is a need therefore to review eco-labels in an analytical framework to identify a set of common core criteria.The common common core criteria could then be used to develop product specific ecolabels so that the product-specific criteria in turn enjoy consistency as well as coverage. Harmonization in the product specific category is also expected to reduce trade related distortion.

This project was aimed to propose a framework towards developing harmonized criteria for ecolabels as applicable to products and services.This framework was developed giving due considerations to the various existing ecolabels and green purchasing guidelines used in various countries.Focus of this research was twofold; firstly, to understand the criteria used by existing ecolabels on a global basis and the second, to distil the criteria to draw on set of common common core criteria.

In all 143 ecolabels and green public procurement policies of 23 countries were analyzed. The study resulted into arriving at eight common core criteria for products and services.

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