– Frequently asked questions

Answers to frequently asked questions

Find answers to questions about using TCO Certified, the criteria and verification methods. If something isn’t covered, please contact us and we’ll gladly help you. Another way to stay up-to-date is to subscribe to our newsletters.

About TCO Certified

IT products come with a number of sustainability challenges throughout their life cycle:

  • Human rights violations occur in the factories.
  • Hazardous substances are used both in products and their manufacture.
  • Products can often have a shorter life span because of poor ergonomics, low quality and when they are not able to be repaired or upgraded.

TCO Certified is the world’s most comprehensive sustainability certification for IT products. Criteria in TCO Certified drive social and environmental sustainability throughout the IT product life cycle and compliance is independently verified, both pre and post certification. TCO Certified is available for 11 product categories: displays, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, desktops, all-in-one PCs, projectors, headsets, network equipment, data storage products and servers.

The purpose of TCO Certified is to drive progress toward more sustainable IT products. Organizations that buy IT products can use TCO Certified as a tool for specifying relevant and current sustainability criteria. The certification also helps the IT industry structure their work with sustainability and offers a platform for continuous improvement.

It means that the criteria in TCO Certified cover both environmental and social responsibility criteria throughout the product life cycle, and that the certification meets the requirements of an ISO 14024, Type 1 Ecolabel. Independent verification organizations review and verify that products meet all criteria in TCO Certified. Criteria and verification methods are science-based and are developed in an open process with our international network of stakeholders.

Learn more about TCO Certified

We certify specific product models. Brands cannot be certified.

The certification system in TCO Certified is regularly reviewed, both internally and externally, for accuracy and consistency with the principles in ISO 14024 for Type 1 Ecolabelling. The system has also been assessed by the Global Ecolabelling Network as part of the GENICES peer review process.

All verification of criteria is handled by independent verifiers accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025. Each test and verification body is reviewed regularly, both by TCO Development and independent accreditation organizations.

No. As TCO Certified is a complete sustainability certification, all certified product models have been verified to meet the full set of criteria for that category. TCO Certified Edge is a supplemental certification that can be added to certified models, for those leading edge products showing superior performance in select sustainability criteria.

No. The correct name of the certification is “TCO Certified”. This name should be used consistently wherever the certification is mentioned. “TCO label” refers to earlier generations and is obsolete. Our brand book offers guidance on how to use the TCO Certified brand correctly, including terminology and general facts.

The organization behind TCO Certified is TCO Development. We have worked with independent certification of IT products since 1992, and are based in Stockholm, Sweden with regional presence in Asia and North America. TCO Development is owned by TCO, a non-profit organization.

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Criteria in TCO Certified

TCO Certified includes a comprehensive set of sustainability criteria that cover social and environmental responsibility throughout the product life cycle. Criteria go beyond legislation and industry standards and include socially responsible manufacturing, engagement in conflict minerals initiatives, user ergonomics, extended product life, reduction of hazardous substances and more. TCO Certified also supports the circular economy by demanding that products are durable, repairable and upgradable. To keep driving progress, a new generation of criteria is released every three years.

Learn more about the criteria in TCO Certified.

To create long-term sustainability benefits, criteria must be up-to-date, challenging and possible to meet and verify. We regularly evaluate which criteria are most important for driving real sustainability progress. A new generation of TCO Certified is released every three years, to meet new sustainability challenges and keep pace with advances in technology.

Learn more about the criteria in TCO Certified.

Criteria cover labor laws, ILO’s core conventions, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Energy Star’s energy efficiency requirements and go beyond RoHS to regulate hazardous substances.

Criteria and verification methods are science-based and are developed in an open process with our international network of stakeholders that includes users, buyers, brands, manufacturers, researchers, NGOs and subject matter experts.

Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up to date with our criteria development process.

To make it possible for purchasing organizations to challenge the IT industry with relevant and updated sustainability criteria, a new generation of TCO Certified is released every three years. This allows us to address the most pressing sustainability challenges and stay current with the latest technology developments.

A new generation of TCO Certified is launched every three years. TCO Certified, generation 9 will be launched by the end of 2021.

The best way to stay up to date with our criteria development process is by subscribing to our regular Technical Update newsletter. All updates, changes and clarifications are also published here.

Use in in purchasing

The IT products you purchase can come with social and environmental risks. TCO Certified is a powerful tool for helping you take greater responsibility for sustainable development through procurement. IT products are a large budget item for many organizations. Steering the budget for IT purchases towards sustainable alternatives can therefore make a big difference.

Specify TCO Certified in your purchasing contracts and request that the vendors show valid product certificates as proof of compliance.

Make your sustainability focus clear for vendors by including it in the contract name, eg: “Procurement of more sustainable notebooks”. In case your preferred models are not yet certified, give your vendor a qualification period (e.g. 6 months) to apply for TCO Certified.

To get started, follow our step-by-step guide or contact us for free tips and support.

Worldwide. There are no regional variations of criteria, verification or certificate validity.

TCO Certified covers office IT products and data center products. In total, the certification is available in 11 product categories: displays, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, desktops, all-in-one PCs, projectors, headsets, network equipment, data storage products and servers. A number of criteria are common for all products, with the addition of product-specific criteria where relevant.

IT products have complex, global supply chains with many subcontractors. Technology development is fast-paced. This means that both extensive resources and a high level of expertise are needed to set relevant product criteria and verify that they are met. TCO Certified is a complete and comprehensive solution, with criteria that balance environmental and social responsibility, as well as follow-up throughout the entire life cycle of the product.

Read more about how TCO Certified can make sustainable procurement easier