VIDEO: Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information
Providing information about the sustainability of products and services is a challenge for many companies and organizations. In order to help them achieve more effective and reliable communication with consumers, UNEP and the Akatu Institute developed a video presenting the Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information that is now launched by the One Planet network Consumer Information Programme.
The Guidelines aim to set a common ground for effective product sustainability information to consumers. They represent a global guide on making effective environmental, social, and economic claims on product-related sustainability information. They were developed in response to a call for a practical instrument to counter the proliferation of diverging and unchecked product sustainability information tools, which can lead to consumer confusion and undermine trust in credible standards, labels, and claims. Trustworthy and clear claims facilitate the empowerment of consumers by enabling better consumption choices. The document includes a comprehensive set of high-level principles for users to follow and guidance on how to apply them. They cover fundamental and aspirational principles and can be applied in both developed and developing countries, and by companies of all sizes.
The video presents the 10 principles that make up the Guidelines and provides concrete examples for each of them. The first five principles are called Fundamental Principles. They are the initial steps to provide clear and reliable information on sustainability attributes. The other five, the Aspirational Principles, are complementary steps to develop an increasingly effective communication capable of sensitizing consumers to the importance of making more sustainable choices.
“The Consumer Information Programme acts as a global platform to foster the provision of quality information on goods and services and to promote effective strategies to engage consumers in sustainable consumption. While the demand for sustainable products continues to grow, consumers are often still unable to make informed choices. The Guidelines are a powerful tool for providing product sustainability information in a credible and effective way.” Nils Heuer, CI-SCP (UNEP)
“Akatu studies and researches show that consumers want to improve their well-being and reduce the negative impact of their consumption choices. For this, they need the support of companies, as they need them to provide information about the sustainability attributes of their products and services. The Guidelines point out ways to improve communication between brands and consumers”, says Helio Mattar, Akatu's CEO.
Providing reliable information that guides consumers' decision-making is crucial for companies or organizations that want to lead and accelerate the transition towards Sustainable Consumption and Production policies and practices. The need for a shift towards responsible consumption and production is recognized internationally by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through goal 12.8 which aims to ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature by 2030.
With this in mind, the Guidelines put forward two objectives:
- to establish minimum requirements that must be met when providing product sustainability information to consumers
- to encourage ambition, improvement, and sustainability leadership over time.
A road-testing report further confirmed that the principles are easy to comprehend and have the potential to help organizations improve the communication tools they employ. The application of the Guidelines can indeed make claims more reliable, consistent, and clear for consumers.
Watch the video here
Read the report “Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information”
For more information visit the Product Sustainability Information Hub
The video was developed as an output of the Advance SCP project. This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.