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“Greenwashing”: industry now able to provide independent proof for environmental claims

14 November 2023

With accusations of greenwashing increasing, industry has urgently needed independent proof that environmental and sustainability claims have been established based on agreed methodology and best practice.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

The IEC, through IEC Quality Assessment System (IECQ) is providing an independent verification service. This service, which covers net zero (based on ISO 14067), circular economy and hazardous substances use, is available to most industry sectors and for many products and devices which cater to homes, offices, manufacturing, communication and more.

While pressure for more environmentally friendly products, devices, manufacturing and operational practices has steadily grown over the past years, environmental claims by private organisations are facing increasing scrutiny with accusations of greenwashing on the rise. Often claims by companies are based on proprietary methodology that is not independently verified and can’t be easily compared.

IEC now offers new environmental services that are delivered by trusted, independent inspection and certification bodies who participate in IECQ which operates across more than 40 countries. The new “green portfolio” verifies environmental claims based on internationally recognised, standardised methodologies and best practice. These IECQ services focus on hazardous substances process management, environmentally conscious design (ecodesign) and carbon footprint declaration verification. They provide industries with independent verification that offers transparency and helps increase trust for environmental claims by regulators, public interest groups and consumers.

Initially introduced for the electronics industry, IECQ has made these services adaptable and customisable, allowing them to be effectively implemented across diverse electrotechnical or related industries such as energy, communications, healthcare, finance or transport.

“The decision to deliver these services more broadly, was approved by the IEC Conformity Assessment Board on 22 October in the context of the annual IEC General Meeting. They directly address the need to clearly and transparently demonstrate more sustainable practices across various industries and to instil confidence across international markets that products meet world-class standards for quality and sustainable practices”, said Chris Agius, IECQ Executive Secretary.

All IECQ certificates and verification statements are publicly accessible on the IECQ centralised online certificate system. “Having it all in one place enables manufacturers and service providers to easily demonstrate authenticity in real time and is available for instant public checking and confirmation”, added Agius.

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