Overview of ISO 14021 rules for Self-Declared Environmental Claims

This guide only provides an overview of the requirements set in the ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims.  For a comprehensive list of requirements, refer to the full text of ISO 14021 and its current amendments.

No vague or non-specific claims (eg “environmentally friendly”, “eco-friendly”, “green” etc…). Such words can be used if qualified by specific claims with evidence or third-party verification (such as Global GreenTag once approved).

No self-declared claims of achieving sustainability.

Avoid claims of “. . . free” (e.g “formaldehyde free”, “phthalate free” etc…). They can usually not be demonstrated to be literally true because the substance in question may be present in the product due to contaminants and background levels. Instead use “No added . . .”, which can be verified.

If the claim can be misinterpreted or misunderstood, always include an explanatory statement along the claim. An explanatory statement will always be required unless the claim is valid in all foreseeable circumstances with no qualifications.

All self-declared environmental claims must be:

  • accurate,
  • verifiable,
  • not misleading,
  • substantiated,
  • specific,
  • unlikely to result in misinterpretation or misunderstanding,
  • true to the final product AND also take into account the entire product life cycle.

An environmental claim is not considered verifiable (and therefore will not be compliant) if it can only be verified using confidential information. Information required to verify claims must be either be released to the public or disclosed upon request to any person seeking to verify the claim (such as Global GreenTag wherein it enables you to make claims verified by Global GreenTag).

Documentation for verifying claims include (non exhaustive list):

  • standard or method used;
  • documentary evidence, if the claim cannot be made by testing the finished product;
  • test results, if necessary to verify the claim;
  • third-party certification/verification.

Specific environmental claims (Compostable, Degradable, Recyclable, Recycled Content etc…) and comparative claims must follow specific rules set in the standard.

For a comprehensive list of requirements, refer to the full text of ISO 14021 and its current amendments.

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