Any label that attempts to certify or distinguish a product or service in terms of environmental issues. The ISO 14021-14025 standards outline four different categories of eco-labels:
Type I labels are product seals licensed by governments or third party private entities based on multiple criteria regarding lifecycle impact, such as the US-based Green Seal or Sweden’s Nordic Swan. Type I seals can vary substantially in their criteria, which may or may not be known or understood by customers.
Type II labels are informative, self-declaration seals about the environmental qualities of a product, such as “contains 75% recycled paper.”
Type III labels offer quantified product information based on a life cycle assessment. These labels are best for comparisons between products or services. There are few examples of Type III labels in use. One in development is the Reveal label.
Type IV labels are single-issue seals licensed by companies or organizations. Examples include: the Leaping Bunny (signifying no animal testing), the Good Housekeeping seal of approval, Underwriter’s Laboratories insignia, and the Forest Stewardship Council seal.