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Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information

Published in 2017 by
  • UN Environment (United Nations / intergovernmental organizations)
  • International Trade Centre (United Nations / intergovernmental organizations)

Type of document: Training materials, toolkits

Global guidance on making effective environmental, social and economic claims, to empower and enable consumer choice.

The Guidelines offer value chain and public sector professionals clear guidance on making effective, trustworthy claims to consumers, on product-related sustainability information. They are applicable to all regions and companies of all sizes.

Further information

Sustainable products are a growing business opportunity, especially for emerging and developing countries. Still, challenges impair the rapid growth of green markets. Besides the malpractice of greenwashing, key barriers to sustainable consumption include the uncoordinated proliferation of diverging and/or unchecked product sustainability information tools and the resulting mistrust and confusion among consumers, as well as information providers. A key challenge is the lack of international guidance and agreement on how to convey consumer information. The Guidelines aim to address this through a comprehensive set of high-level principles, ranging from fundamental to aspirational, and guidance on how to apply them. They aim to be useful to developed and developing countries alike, and implementable for companies of all size. The target audience includes providers of information, as well as those that regulate and analyze consumer information (e.g. governments, certification bodies, NGOs). The development of the Guidelines was supported by the German government through the International Climate Initiative.