This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018
Environmental impact is becoming an increasingly important issue across the globe. Environmental certification of products or services generally indicates that the product or service minimises its negative impact on the environment in comparison to similar products or services. This is generally accomplished by meeting certain third-party standards, e.g. an independent certification process to ensure that timber is harvested in a way that protects the forest ecosystem or an organic certification standard that prohibits the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.
Environmental or 'green' certifications therefore act as an independent guarantee for consumers. Misleading, false, meaningless or unclear information can result in consumers losing confidence in environmental claims and labels in general, can lead to unfair competition and discourage companies from making truthful claims. For these reasons, the EU-wide Ecolabel scheme was introduced in 1992, going beyond the pre-existing, national ecolabels that are often only recognised within national borders.
Businesses that use environmental certification schemes benefit by:
- Demonstrating environmental responsibility
- Reducing costs
- Attracting new customers
- Complying with environmental legislation
- Working towards internationally-recognised environmental guidelines (such as ISO 14001 or Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) and other management schemes.
For the purposes of this question, it might be the case that an entire company, certain products or services, or the production method are certified. In this context, all types of companies can benefit from using environmental certifications.