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The purpose of LCA in environmental labels and concepts of products

18th discussion forum on Life Cycle assessment


This very interesting Discussion Forum showed the different points of view of basic science and applied science in practice concerning environmental labeling and the lacking comparability between them. Practitioners and consumers stated the large amount of labels. At this point environmental key-parameter models like the one presented for green electricity could be an option. For LCA-researchers it was clear that environmental labeling ought to be connected to an LCA or a comparable environmental valuation method. ISO offers four types of labels and if every label on the market would be ISO-conform and declared as such, comparisons would be much easier. Practitioners from companies stated that a lot of environmental data about there products gained from LCA or similar methods is available, but that the consumer is not yet interested in this kind of information. But in any case their companies will go on issuing environmental declarations for products, hoping that in the long run consumer’s interest and choice will include environmental performance. The discussion in the panel also showed that social aspects are not preferably integrated in an environmental declaration but separate in a social declaration because the evaluation methods are totally different. In any case, the interest of the consumer in the social circumstances of the production of goods is steadily increasing.

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  1. ISO 14020 Environmental Labeling

  2. ISO 14021 Environmental labels and declarations — Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labeling)

  3. ISO 14024 Environmental labels and declarations — Type I environmental labeling

  4. ISO 14025 Environmental labels and declarations — Type III environmental declarations

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Correspondence to Andrea Weber Marin or Marion Tobler.

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Marin, A.W., Tobler, M. The purpose of LCA in environmental labels and concepts of products. Int J LCA 8, 115–116 (2003).

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