Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is Basic Environmental Awareness Enough to Make Environmental Claims?

In relation to what I wrote earlier, establishing an EMS based on ISO 14001 does not require a highly technical set of environmental programs but more emphasis is done in the commitment of top management to improvements and adhering to a clear environmental policy.

However, branding a company as environmentally compliant without reference to any standard is blatantly a practice of Greenwashing. Though most local companies are not aware, a specific standard is present in the ISO 14000 series that gives specific/systematic guidelines on how to integrate the results of implementing an EMS into the product labeling or eventual marketing of the outputs of the production process.

ISO14020:2000 was developed to ensure that environmental claims are done in a responsible and technologically validated and verifiable manner.

Mere environmental awareness in not enough, oftentimes results of a Life Cycle Analysis is essential to know that what is being claimed by a specific product indeed is validated and verified.

A few moments ago while watching the news, I heard a congressman marketing the merits of a specific renewable energy source and dismissing the contribution of others. What came into my mind, given the corrupt nature of most traditional politicians, is that this congressman may have had a "kickback" in the investment and marketing efforts of the said renewable energy technology (mere impression only, no claims).

It is neither ethically nor empirically correct to simply dismiss the benefits of other renewable energy sources and proclaim one source as the best unless a full benefit-cost analysis is presented in due diligence.

As common consumers we would never fully know unless we take the full effort to research further on what are the impacts of certain products to our health, safety and the environment.