Use of The Eco Label Logo

In South Africa, there is an ISO standard which has been adopted that we would recommend being used as a basis to develop the claim.  The SANS 14021:1999/ISO14021:1999 (Environmental Labels and Declarations) standard can be purchased online from the South African National Standards and provides generic guidance and specifically supports the development of the following claims:

  • Compostable;
  • Degradable;
  • Designed for disassembly;
  • Extended life product;
  • Recovered energy;
  • Recyclable;
  • Recycled content;
  • Reduced energy consumption;
  • Reduced resource use;
  • Reduced water consumption;
  • Reusable and refillable; and
  • Waste reduction.

It should be noted however that the claims mentioned above are not in any way superior to other environmental claims. The reason for their selection is due to the fact that they are currently widely used.

In addition, ISO TS 14067 (International Technical Specification on Product Carbon Footprints) can be used as a suitable technical specification for Carbon Footprints of products which can also be referred to as Type II environmental labels.

Within the South African context, there is a need to respond to climate change with both mitigation and adaptation actions.  This can be achieved provided that the claims meet the requirements and criteria of ISO14021. In addition to the claims mentioned above, the following could also qualify for Type II environmental labels:

  • Greenhouse gas sequestration linked to the planting of trees;
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation linked to the use of worm bins or compost facilities and
  • Greenhouse gas emission reduction associated with grid electricity through the installation and use of renewable energy.

Under ISO 14021, all claims must be backed by bona fide and readily available third-party information. This supporting information must be made available to the Carbon Protocol of South Africa for review, although it will not be made public.

The Carbon Protocol of South Africa platform will provide a template for these claims and host them on the organisation’s active website.

Governments often regulate these types of claims independently under consumer protection legislation. This is not yet the case in South Africa but in Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a guideline for consumer protection for businesses entitled “Green Marketing and the Trade Practices Act: 2008”, this document places the following responsibilities under Self-declared Environmental Claims and the Carbon Protocol of South Africa would like members to subscribe to these 5 principles:

  • be honest and truthful;
  • detail the specific part of the product or process it is referring to;
  • use language which the average member of the public can understand;
  • explain the significance of the benefit; and
  • be able to substantiate the claim.

The responsibility for evaluation and provision of data associated with or supporting self-declared environmental claims remains with the claimant.  Prior to making the claim, evaluation measures shall be implemented by the claimant to achieve reliable and reproducible results necessary to verify the claim. The evaluation shall be fully documented and the documentation retained by the claimant for the purpose of the information disclosure and should be made available to the Carbon Protocol of South Africa.  The Carbon Protocol of South Africa will review the supporting document but this would not be considered as a verification or an endorsement of the claim.

Requirements for using the Carbon Protocol Type II Environmental/Eco label Self-declaration platform are:

  • Endorse the mission of the Carbon Protocol of South Africa to take positive actions towards a low carbon and climate resilient society;
  • Pay the annual membership fee; and
  • Provide both the Self-declared Environmental Claim (which will be posted on the organisation’s platform) and the supporting evidence (that will remain confidential).