New ISO standard to reduce environmental impacts of products and services

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ISO has published a new standard in the ISO 14000 family designed to help organizations reduce the adverse environmental impacts of their products and services.

Every product or service has an impact on the environment during all stages of its lifecycle, from extraction of resources to end-of-life treatment. The goal of ecodesign is to integrate environmental aspects into the design and development of products and services so as to reduce their environmental impacts and continually improve their environmental performance throughout their lifecycle. The result: cleaner products and services and a greener planet.

The newly published ISO 14006:2011, Environmental management systems – Guidelines for incorporating ecodesigngives “how to” guidance to product and service organizations on incorporating ecodesign into any environmental, quality or similar management system.

It will help organizations establish, document, implement, maintain and continually improve their management of ecodesign as part of an environmental management system (EMS). It applies to those environmental aspects of an organization’s products and/or services over which it has control or influence.

Integrating ecodesign offers several advantages:

  • Economic benefits, e.g. through increased competitiveness, cost reduction and attraction of financing and investments
  • Promotion of innovation and creativity, and identification of new business models
  • Reduction in liability through reduced environmental impacts and improved product knowledge
  • Improved public image
  • Enhancement of employee motivation.

Martin Charter, Convenor of the working group responsible for ISO 14006, comments: “The new standard has been developed to help organizations implement ecodesign in a flexible and practical manner. The goal is for organizations to use these principles in order to design and develop more advanced, profitable and sustainable goods and services.”

ISO 14006:2011 is applicable to any organization, irrespective of their size, geographical location, culture, or complexity of their management systems, and no matter how simple or complex the product or service.

The new standard is intended to be used primarily by organizations that have implemented an EMS according to ISO 14001, whether or not they have a quality management system according (QMS) to ISO 9001. It can also be useful for other organizations without a formalized EMS or QMS but which are interested in reducing the adverse environmental impacts of their products.

ISO 14006:2011 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 1, Environmental management systems, working group WG 4, Guidelines in ecodesign. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details).