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October 17 is Global World Ecolabel Day, celebrating eco-labelled products and services that are independently verified to be more sustainable. Trustworthy ecolabels can help organizations make more responsible product choices, and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are designed to gather organizations from all parts of the world around shared priorities and ambitions, to be achieved by the year 2030: to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

By choosing more sustainable products, organizations can take responsibility, meet their own sustainability goals as well as contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The challenge is often how to distinguish more sustainable products from those that are simply “greenwashed”. Trustworthy ecolabels can help make responsible choices easier, leading to true environmental benefits.

TCO Certified includes criteria that are designed to contribute to meeting several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially around responsible production and consumption as well as worker rights. Using TCO Certified in IT hardware procurement helps make organizations part of the solution.

“With TCO Certified, generation 8, your organization can actively contribute to solving a number of sustainability challenges. Our criteria focus on solutions aligned with the UN SDGs,” says Clare Hobby, Director, Purchaser Engagement at TCO Development, the organization behind TCO Certified.

“As a purchaser, you have a powerful voice. Making your sustainability priorities clear has a direct effect on the way industry acts and can push social and environmental responsibility in the right direction,” she adds.

Many labels and standards claim they are proof of a more sustainable product. How do you know which ones to trust? To procure more sustainably, you need to consider a number of things. Criteria should be designed around the product’s sustainability impact from a life cycle perspective. To decide whether products actually meet the set criteria, compliance must be verified by an independent party.

Global Ecolabelling Network is a non-profit association of third-party ecolabels worldwide. These ecolabels are all Type 1 according to the international standard ISO 14024, with comprehensive, life cycle criteria and independent verification of criteria compliance. All members of GEN are reviewed regularly, to make sure that they comply with the guiding principles of ISO 14024.

GEN Board Chair Björn-Erik Lönn comments:

“Developing, purchasing and using products that meet the strict requirements of an ecolabel supports the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly, particularly Goal #12, Responsible Production and Consumption.”

“Small changes made by everyone can have a huge effect, making the much-needed bigger changes possible,” he continues.