Sustainability labels – A maze or good orientation?
For more and more companies and consumers, but also for administrations, sustainability has developed into a decisive purchasing criterion. At the same time, associations and legislators have tightened the requirements with regard to sustainability criteria. The various sectors are subject to a wide range of requirements, which are defined in corresponding standards. There are currently over 260 active standards in 194 countries and 15 sectors. (https://www.ecolabelindex.com/) These are intended to serve as a guide for consumers when selecting products.
Certification only after testing and compliance with standards
How can one tell which standards and norms a company complies with? One possibility is sustainability labels, which are awarded after successful certification. Ecolabel Index, the world's largest directory of environmental labels, currently counts 455 ecolabels in 199 countries and 25 industry sectors. (https://www.ecolabelindex.com/). Each label stands for clearly defined standards, which have been checked for compliance by an independent body. This certification process involves a detailed examination of whether all the standards associated with the label are met. This can relate to the use of chemicals or to working conditions, compliance with human rights and much more. They are not mandatory, but may only be used if compliance with the standards is proven. In this way, decision-makers and consumers can be sure that the conditions associated with the label are met, even without conducting their own checks. At the same time, the label communicates what ecological and social advantages this product has over products without a label. In this way, they influence purchasing decisions, especially among critical consumers, but also in tenders. This is because companies and the public sector are also paying increasing attention to the impact of their actions when making purchasing and rental decisions.
Labels at CWS: Orientation and sustainable commitment
CWS also uses various labels to show which products and services meet which sustainability criteria. We rely on recognised labels that have a reputation for setting high standards and thoroughly checking the norms. They are also selected with regard to the industries and markets in which we are active.
With the labels, we address both decision-makers and consumers. The aim is to give them the assurance that they are choosing sustainable products and services. The labels also prove that sustainability is our business model. At the same time, the audits as part of the review to acquire a label show us where we can still improve. In this way, they contribute to our business model in two ways.
Which sustainability labels are relevant for us and which requirements are associated with them will be presented in upcoming articles.