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Proving the Reliability of Labels and Slogans on the Sustainability of Products and Services

Ente Italiano di Normazione (UNI)

Businesses have long understood that focusing on sustainability can be profitable and win over the trust of consumers, who are increasingly attentive to social and environmental issues. Ethical claims are an immediate and effective tool for reaching the market.

Italy has taken a step forward to ensure that these claims can be trusted with the adoption and publication in Italian of the international technical specification UNI ISO/TS 17033 “Ethical claims and supporting information – Principles and requirements”. The publication contains principles and requirements for developing and declaring ethical claims and providing supporting information. UNI, the Italian Standardization Body, and ACCREDIA, the Italian Accreditation Body, have now published the “Prassi di Riferimento” UNI/PdR 102:2021 “Ethical claims of responsibility for sustainable development – Application guidelines to UNI ISO/TS 17033:2020”, which identifies the elements that an organisation must consider when declaring an ethical assertion of responsibility for sustainable development.

The purpose of the publication is to provide organisations with a structured and shared path in the elaboration and declaration of ethical assertions that focus on sustainability issues.

“When you look at the way that products are advertised, one would be left with the impression that all companies and products have suddenly become sustainable. But is this true? Does the company itself say so, or has anyone verified these claims?” comments Emanuele Riva, Deputy Director General of ACCREDIA and IAF Vice-Chair. “The verification and validation of the claim ensures that a statement is not only true and unambiguous, but it covers all the elements relating to sustainability (i.e. social, environmental and economic aspects) that are most relevant to the reference context. Objective data, declared results and achieved objectives are verified. This is a critical tool that can protect consumers, who can now believe what they are told and make an informed choice. Now there is a reliable and impartial way to verify advertising claims on sustainability.”

UNI/PdR 102:2021 is available for download in English and Italian here.

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