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Ecolabels and their Role in Mitigating Climate Change

  • Published on October 7, 2022

A new White Paper published by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) examines the critical role of lifecycle ecolabels in mitigating climate change. It draws on recent data and expert opinion to highlight the importance of continuing to fight climate change, with ecolabels as a powerful tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The paper provides insights into the catastrophic impacts of human-induced climate change, with it being attributed to causing recent devastating heatwaves, bushfires, floods, and droughts, and mentions it will likely get worse without drastic measures. The paper also indicates that unsustainable products significantly contribute to human induced climate change, with products associated with material production accounting for about 23 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The paper demonstrates that genuine lifecycle ecolabels that employ third-party certification can play a significant global role in mitigating climate change by fostering the creation of sustainable products and services, assessed against science-based environmental criteria. For example, many GEN member lifecycle ecolabels have standards relevant to the green building sector, covering products, materials and services that reduce the building and construction industry's significant climate footprint. For instance, Australia's only GEN member, GECA, has developed standards for cement and concrete, construction and demolition waste collection services, and steel. These are critical carbon hotspots for Australian buildings and infrastructure.

GEN's paper also highlights the opportunities for lifecycle ecolabels to further embrace and integrate climate-relevant criteria into their standards.

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