Certification and Markets: An Newsletter (Nov 2012)

Nov 2012

The US Government Updates its Eco-label Guidance – Cautions use of "eco-friendly"

Earlier in the year we reported on activity within the US Federal government on assessing eco labels and claims made in sustainability standards.  The US government’s views on standards’ credibility is important as they are the world’s largest procurer of goods and services with a multi-trillion dollar annual spend.  In an October press release the US Federal Trade Commission announced it has issued revised Green Guides “designed to help marketers ensure that the claims they make about the environmental attributes of their products are truthful and non-deceptive”.  A key revision was to instruct companies marketing products not to make broad claims such as “eco-friendly” and there is specific guidance on claims related to recycling and waste disposal.  The guide contains new sections on carbon offsets, non-toxic claims, “made with renewable energy” claims and the use of certificates and seals of approval.  See the Guides here.

Water Stewardship Standard Progresses

The AWS (Alliance for Water Stewardship) moved a step forward in the formulation of a global standard for water use.  The beta standard will be released in early 2013 and the content can be viewed here.  The group states the standard will be:

  • A fully operational (or "implementable") version of the AWS Standard, intended for testing and a final round of feedback
  • Released in February, 2013 in English followed by translations in various languages
  • Based around six steps and 33 Core Criteria, with four water stewardship outcomes (called principles in the first draft) embedded throughout the Standard
  • Aligned with a basic plan-do-check-act cycle to help ensure integration into Environmental Management Systems
  • A platform to integrate current leading thinking from related stewardship efforts (metrics, tools, guidance, etc.)
  • Still based around three performance levels (AWS Core, Gold, and Platinum), but will also employ a point system in addition to core criteria at each level
  • Tested throughout the world during 2013 by different sectors in different types of catchments.

Asia Pulp and Paper Certified Nine Pulp Mills

Asia Pulp and Paper  is one of Asia’s and the world’s leading paper manufacturers.  In the last few months, it has announced its nine paper mills gained certification to the Indonesian domestic forestry standard, SVLK.  The company has long clashed with international environmental groups like Greenpeace over its forestry operations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.  The global certification of its mills to Indonesia’s standard SVLK is unlikely to provide APP with any real marketing or PR benefit in global forestry supply chains where FSC, SFI and PEFC based standards dominate with over 50,000 certifications between them globally.

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