Look Closer

Avoid Greenwashing with Life Cycle Ecolabels

You want to do the right thing to help people and the planet. But where do you go to purchase and consume more sustainably ̶ to find truly green products and services? Who can you trust?

As demand for sustainable products increases, many companies are quick to call themselves “green.” But are they really "good" and how do we know?

To be sure the products you choose can be trusted and have a proven environmental benefit, look for life cycle ecolabels.


Some Products Only Seem Green

Product Life Cycle 

Start with GEN

The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) is a non-profit association of leading life cycle ecolabelling organisations worldwide. GEN develops, promotes and supports its members by fostering cooperation, information exchange and standard harmonisation among its members and other ecolabelling programmes. The members of GEN set and publish life cycle-based environmental standards or criteria and certify products and services that meet the standards. To protect the environment and global health, GEN and its members provide information to help make purchasing decisions and choices easier by choosing life cycle ecolabelled-products.

Subscribe to our quarterly digital newsletter, GENews to learn more about life cycle ecolabels and how your choices can make a difference for your health and the health of our planet.


What are Life Cycle Ecolabels?

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Life cycle ecolabels are proof that a product or service has met the highest environmental requirements across all the stages of its life—including extraction of the raw materials, how it’s made, its use and how it is recycled.
Life cycle ecolabels can be found across the world and are part of a global movement to make a difference for people and planet with every purchase.

All GEN member life cycle ecolabels must meet best practice environmental standards and are classified as Type 1 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)14024:2018. These true life cycle ecolabels are

• awarded by an independent and unbiased third party
• voluntary, not regulatory
• open and equitable to all potential applicants


How are Life Cycle Ecolabels Different than Other "Green" Labels?

Unlike other “green” labels or claims that might only meet one aspect at one time, life cycle ecolabels show that a product or service has been certified against science-based standards specific to its category across its entire lifetime.

See the wide variety of product and service categories GEN members have standards for here.


Why Choose Life Cycle Ecolabels?

• CREDIBILITY | proven environmental benefits
• ACCESSIBILITY | recognised by a worldwide market
• RELEVANCE | address multiple environmental issues
• INSPIRATION | model sustainable consumption to others
• DIFFERENTIATION | provides competitive advantage

Criteria can differ across categories and regions, but all life cycle-based ecolabels address multiple environmental and health attributes, including issues such as toxicity, air quality, energy use, recyclability, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogens.

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Find Life Cycle Ecolabels Near You

GEN provides links to its members' standards so that you can find the products that carry their life cycle ecolabels in your region and make purchasing decisions that are healthier for you and the planet.


Webinar: Fighting Greenwashing in the Retail Sector

Join us 11 November 8:00-10:00 GMT to learn about strategies to combat greenwashing claims in the retail sector. Register


Report Helps IT Buyers Avoid Greenwash and False Claims

GEN Full Member TCO Development, whose life cycle ecolabel TCO Certified focuses on certifying IT products, recently released a report to help IT buyers worldwide accurately verify social and environmental aspects of their purchases. With 40% of environmental claims found to be false or misleading independent verification is key to assuring sustainable procurement efforts. Since the purchase of IT is one of the largest purchase categories for governments, institutions and businesses the impacts to the supply chain of becoming more sustainable can be significant. This report provides purchasers tools to avoid common greenwashing and support their sustainability efforts.

Download the report Impacts and Insights: Navigating the Sustainable IT Revolution.

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Do you want to know more?