ISO 16759 Racing Into the Final Furlong

medium_Laurel_2012.jpegThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

The news that ISO16759 (calculating the carbon footprint of print media) is galloping towards its final furlong prior to publication has caused a flurry of interest. We have recently been contacted by a number of European companies interested to be certified for compliance to this standard.

Certification is at once a good and a bad thing because the value of a certificate lies with the issuing authority and the ease with which it is achieved. An accredited body’s certification which is rigorous and difficult is far more credible that a certificate confirming competence in a particular vendor’s offerings. When it comes to certifications to the ISO 16759 standard, there are several options companies can consider.

The first is to demonstrate that your carbon calculator meets the requirements of the standard. This is likely to be one of the most common implementations of ISO 16759, and indeed is part of the purpose for which it has been written. ISO 16759 is not a carbon calculator. Rather, it states requirements for a carbon calculator used to work out the carbon footprint of printed products. This way carbon calculators certified to meet the requirements of ISO 16759 can be used to build data sets created within a common framework. This will hopefully encourage print buyers to make their media investment decisions based on sound facts and for the printing industry to measure its impact reductions over time.

Printers and print buyers can also get certifications for their own implementations of ISO 16759. They can follow the directions in the standard to do their own carbon footprinting studies and calculations. Such certifications can apply to individual print media products or the process that a printer or print buyer has set up.

We have already seen considerable interest in ISO 16759 but want to urge people interested in certification to be very careful who they work with. There are plenty of companies selling certificates for compliance to one standard or another. However only a few of these organisations are fully endorsed by a recognised authority, such as a national standards body or a government endorsed certifications body. Caveat emptor!

– Laurel Brunner

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