Corporate sustainability: 6 environmental certifications useful for a company’s success

Investing in environmental certifications is most important because it enhances your Green Identity by creating authority and trust with consumers

Investing in environmental certifications is most important because it enhances your Green Identity by creating authority and trust with consumers.

Environmental certifications are labels, in technical jargon better known as eco-labels, that certify the environmental sustainability of a good or service.

The creation of these certifications is closely linked to the change that communication is having toward the consumer.

The importance of environmental certifications today

Thanks to the advent of the “consumer-actor” phenomenon, that is, the consumer who actively acts and is able to make informed choices in his or her own interest and in the interest of the community, certifications are acquiring an indispensable role.

Growing awareness of sustainability issues has greened the communication strategy of various entities.

This for companies is an unmissable opportunity because they will be able to show their commitment in the eyes of their stakeholders. But, most importantly, they will be able to convey communication that is clear, transparent, easily understandable and based on standardized and internationally normed models.

Not to be forgotten, eco-labels do not only certify environmental sustainability, but there are ad-hoc certifications and tools that can monitor the social and economic impact of the Life Cycle of products.

Avoiding greenwashing through certifications

Certifications are very useful in combating the practice of Greenwashing, which is that corporate communication strategy aimed at building a deceptive positive image in terms of environmental impact.

The ultimate goal of companies applying this communication lever is to divert the attention of the masses from the negative environmental repercussions due to their own activities.

Eco-labels are used as a means of verifying and authenticating the sustainability of corporate production processes.

Within the world of eco-labels there are several categories. There are mandatory ones, for example energy labels for household appliances, but also voluntary ones. In the latter case, it is the companies themselves who decide whether or not to certify a good or service.

Within the set of voluntary labels, according to ISO 14020, three categories of certifications are enclosed:

  • Environmental Labels Type I – ISO 14024;

  • Environmental Self-Declarations Type II – ISO 14021;

  • ISO Environmental Product Declarations Type III – ISO 14025.

The 6 certifications useful for your business

The following are the 6 certifications that will be useful to make a business’s communication greener.

1. LCA – Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an analytical and systematic methodology that assesses the environmental footprint of a product or service, throughout its entire life cycle.

Indeed, the calculation ranges from the stages of extraction of the raw materials constituting the product, to its production, distribution, use and final disposal, returning the environmental impact values associated with its life cycle.

Equally through LCA techniques, the environmental footprint of a service can be calculated, accounting for the footprint of everything needed for the delivery of that same service.

2. S-LCA – Social Life Cycle Assessment

Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) is a method used to assess the social impact and the positive and negative impacts of products throughout their entire Life Cycle.

It differs from other social impact assessments because it focuses only on one product or service. S-LCA is important within a company because it helps to improve social performance regarding products at different stages of their Life Cycle. Thus bringing process and product innovations and winning new market shares.

3. LCC – Life Cycle Costing

Life Cycle Costing (LCC ) is a tool used to calculate the economic cost of the entire Life Cycle of a product or service.

It takes into consideration all stages starting from the processes prior to production, up to its disposal.

With a view to effective management for production that succeeds in minimizing production costs, the LCC method allows linking quantitative data related to the costs of a product or service, and time, within the pre-production, production and disposal process.

The ultimate goal is to achieve better economic sustainability of one’s product or service. Performing an LCC analysis on their processes helps companies estimate, in monetary terms, the cost of their tangible and intangible resources.

4. EPD – Environmental Product Declaration

The Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a document that provides information about the environmental performance of a product or service.

It is an environmental label that describes the impact that product or service has on the environment. I detail: the resource and energy consumption, the extent of air emissions, waste generation, and discharges to water bodies.

The notions contained in an EPD statement are:

  • objective, because they result from analyses carried out using a scientific method;

  • comparable, because they facilitate comparison between equivalent products or services;

  • credible, because they are produced in accordance with ISO standards.

5. Ecolabel

The Ecolabel is a registered European label that certifies, according to EC Regulation 66/2010, environmentally friendly products and services offered by companies.

Certification can be applied for, on a voluntary basis, by any company or business operating in one of the 28 countries of the European Union.

The advantages of this certification are countless. In fact, it not only helps improve the environmental performance of production processes. But also gives, to the companies that obtain it, more visibility from an economic and market point of view.

6. Cradle to Cradle

This is a holistic approach that takes into account economic, industrial and social aspects in order to create systems that are not only efficient. But that also aim to minimize waste. This is why it is an essential tool for the Circular Economy.

In fact, Cradle to Cradle is an approach to systems design that transforms production processes by likening used materials to natural elements that are capable of regeneration.

In industry, especially U.S. industry, C2C is widely spread. And, companies often obtain this certification to have a competitive advantage in terms of Brand Reputation over their competitors.

Why are eco-labels so useful for a company today

We have come to the conclusion of this summary regarding the most well-known eco-labels in the field of environmental sustainability. As mentioned in the introductory section, eco-labels are a key element for consumers. Who, increasingly want to know whether the product they are buying meets authentic canons of sustainability.

An investment, to provide for obtaining certifications for your business products or services, that will also benefit your Green Identity. Thus creating authority for your brand.

Most importantly, you will gain a huge competitive advantage by distinguishing yourself as a modus operandi from all those companies that use Greenwashing methods. These, over time can harm the company’s image.

Read also: LEED certification for green buildings: what is it and the requirements to obtain it

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