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New ISO tool to help cutting-edge green technologies reach markets

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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ISO has just published a new standard to help companies that are developing innovative environmental technologies reach new markets. ISO 14034:2016, Environmental management – Environmental technology verification (ETV), will provide independent verification of the performance of new environmental technologies. This will help manufacturers prove the reliability of their performance claims and help technology purchasers identify innovations that suit their needs.

Verifying performance is a key step for market acceptance of green technology innovations. With proof of performance credibly assured, innovations can expect an easier market access and/or a larger market share and the technological risk is reduced for technology purchasers.

We spoke to Benoit Desforges, Convenor of the working group responsible for the development of ISO 14034, to find out why green technologies need to be verified and in what ways the new standard will impact businesses and benefit sustainability.

Why does the performance of green technologies need to be verified?

New environmental technologies can make a significant difference in terms of resource and cost savings, but often face serious market obstacles because they are innovations which, by definition, are not yet able to demonstrate a successful track record. ETV aims to change this by providing verified evidence to confirm the performance claim of the environmental technology and differentiate the innovation from other competing technologies.

What does ISO 14034 aim to do?

ISO 14034 reflects an international consensus that standardization of the performance verification process is an effective way of establishing the global credibility of innovative environmentally sound solutions.

The new standard features specific sections on verification principles, accepted testing practices and reporting requirements, to help create a level playing field for technological innovators and encourage greater market acceptance of innovative technologies. This helps build vendor credibility and buyer confidence by providing the marketplace with the assurance that environmental performance claims are valid, credible and supported by high-quality, independent test data.

How can businesses use ETV (ISO 14034) to verify claims?

The global economy requires independent, quality-assured data on the performance of innovative technologies. Business leaders and public organizations must balance the requirements for change and adaptation against the risks of adopting innovative solutions. Equally important, industry and utilities need effective, scalable technologies to improve their environmental performance, address emerging regulations and meet stakeholder expectations. Lastly, when going to market, entrepreneurial technology companies need streamlined options to demonstrate and validate their innovative technologies and service offerings.

What are some of the benefits of the standard to industry?

ISO 14034 is designed to deliver multiple benefits that enhance confidence in the selection of technologies demonstrating an environmental added value. These include:

  • Levelling the playing field for technological innovators
  • Harmonizing the ETV process across international boundaries
  • Providing credible, independent assessment of innovative environmental technologies
  • Enabling informed decisions when identifying and selecting suitable technologies
  • Achieving sustainable environmental targets that benefit citizens around the world

ETV paves the way towards technology performance assessments where sustainability and innovation are inextricably linked. Benefits are expected from the international recognition of verifications and the progressive emergence of an eco-innovation marketplace that promotes performance-based competition and the greening of public procurement.

In what ways will ETV (ISO 14034) be used, and by whom?

First and foremost, ISO 14034 informs independent verifiers on how to conduct quality-assured verification of an environmental technology. ETV helps technology vendors provide objective and trustful data on the performance of an innovative environmental technology. For technology buyers and investors, ETV is a reliable source of information on which to base purchasing decisions and better manage technology and investment risks. Finally, ETV provides policy makers, regulators and other stakeholders with clear information on the performance achievable by new environmental technologies.