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Environmental communication

After improving the environmental performance of a product, the results should also be communicated on the market. Possible advantages are a better corporate image, environmental awareness raising, an increased market share, etc. The ISO standards differentiate between three different types of environmental communication:

  • Type I: Eco-labels certified by an independent third party (ISO 14024)
  • Type II: Self-declared environmental claims (ISO 14021)
  • Type III: Environmental product declarations (EPD) based on LCA results (ISO 14025)

The table shows the characteristics and application areas of the three different types:

Type I - Eco-labels - ISO 14024 (e.g. Blue Angel)

Type II - Self-declared environmental claims - ISO 14021

Type III- Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) ISO 14025

Target audience
B2CB2C, B2B, PublicB2B, Public
Communication method
Eco-labelText and symbolEnvironmental profile data sheet
ScopeWhole life cycleSingle aspectsWhole life cycle
Use of LCAnoyesyes
Advantages- Easily identifiable
- Credibility through third party
- Product specific requirements
- Market oriented
- Flexible approach to market needs
- Detailed data via common method
- Credibility via scientific quantitative data
Disadvantages- No detailed information
- No linkage to company's unique efforts
- Relatively low credibility
- No life cycle scope
- Complexity of LCA results
- Uncertainty regarding back ground data
- Not easy to comprehend
Typical application areas- Home use products
- Simple function products
- Low-priced products
- Applicable for all products- High complexity
- High-priced products
- Long lifetime and length of use


Additional Information

The International EPD System is a global program for the dissemination and implementation of EPDs. The website provides both data bases for Product Category Rules, PCRs - which are "how-to" rules for the provision of LCAs - and EPDs.

Example EPD of the Flexity Outlook Valencia (PDF), developed during the research project Mechatelligence for Light Rail Vehicles, for a tramway of the company Bombardier transportation.