The evaluation of the LONGTIME® reference system is carried out by a third party control organization and, in the event of success, allows a license to use the LONGTIME® environmental label to be attributed directly to the evaluated products. This allows the company to indicate to end users of its products that they are environmentally preferable.
The overall objective of environmental labels and declarations is to encourage and satisfy the demand for products with less environmental impact. Environmental claims must convey information that is accurate, verifiable and not misleading about the environmental aspects of the products concerned.
In this article, we demonstrate LONGTIME®’s compliance with ISO 14020 and ISO 14021 standards in a rigorous and transparent manner. In addition to the compliance aspects mentioned in this text, our transparency and the recurrent, valued and in-depth consultations of interested parties are fully integrated into a very CSR-oriented governance.
We also demonstrate that we meet all the principles of ISO 14024 and explain why we cannot be declared compliant to date. All of our communication materials allow all interested parties to evaluate and compare our methodology assertion with other potentially existing methodologies.
Our goals are simple:
- promote products with absolutely low environmental externalities in all major phases of their life cycle, and
- guide consumers to more reliable, robust and repairable products.
Durability and repairability and the associated environmental benefits are elements, concepts that are involved in a large part of the product life cycle.
How does LONGTIME comply with ISO 14020 and ISO 14021 standards?
Our environmental statement complies with the principles of the ISO 14020 series of standards and more specifically with the ISO 14021 standards corresponding to the type II label. But we go much further than the ISO 14021 standard by integrating the majority of the principles of the ISO 14024 standard dedicated to the type I label; the ecolabels.
Durability (reliability and repairability) and life extension are now clearly considered as environmental concepts. Public policies are working hard to improve production practices by imposing increasingly stringent regulations on these aspects.
(Ecodesign Regulation, Repairability Index).
The LONGTIME® label endeavors to inform the consumer about the durability, in a precise manner, on the basis of verified and relevant information, and must concern the entire product and not just one part or one sub-assembly.
The main objective of the LONGTIME® label is to provide information on the sustainable character of products and thus avoid the pitfall of losing the consumer in numerous criteria that can sometimes be hazardous.
Longtime is a label with an international scope that is, in essence, intended for all consumers on the planet. Regardless of geographical origin, it is not intended to encourage a national preference and cannot hinder international trade. The label, the reference system as well as all the documents related to the LONGTIME® certification process are translated into several languages and are accessible to companies throughout the world within the limits of the technical and human resources of the structure bearing the label. The name of the label was chosen to be understandable by a maximum of consumers around the globe.
The LONGTIME label:
In order to maximize the impact of LONGTIME®, we have been concerned, since the creation of the label, to promote maximum understanding of the information it conveys to the end users. The construction of the label respects all the principles of the ISO 14020 and 14021 standards.
The LONGTIME® label has been designed to be easy to read and to leave no doubt as to the meaning and scope of the LONGTIME® label for a consumer who is not familiar with the label. Because of its shape, the symbols it contains and its colors, our logo is easily recognizable among all others.
The label features the label’s logo, designed by an experienced graphic designer, Gilles Dussart.
We use a symbol that we have designed ourselves and that is distinct from all other symbols that currently exist, especially in the field of environmental claims, in order to avoid any risk of confusion or comparison with another environmental claim.
The logo represents an hourglass for the notion of time, gears to include the theme of manufactured products and a drop-shaped earth for the notion of impact on resources. These symbols, easily reproducible, are simple, universal and easily understood by all. We have also made sure that our labels do not contain any natural objects.
Our process includes the communication of a package of digital files allowing an optimal use of the label without any particular knowledge in computer science or graphic design.
The structure of the logo, its symbols and the label are perfectly adapted to the target product group. The minimum dimensions required allow even miniature products such as smartphones to be labeled while maintaining excellent readability.
Despite the strong overlap between the repair and recycling criteria, we did not want to introduce the Möbius loop as defined in ISO 7000 and represented by three twisted and linked arrows in the form of a triangle, since this is not the purpose of our environmental assertion. In addition, we have taken care not to use other symbols or numbers likely to mislead on the environmental claim conveyed by LONGTIME® (natural object, 100%…)
Explanatory information on the LONGTIME® label
The explanatory information on the LONGTIME® environmental label allows us to be 200% certain that our claim is not subject to interpretation or misunderstanding.
A field survey, carried out on blind consumers, has confirmed this position.
We have taken great care to exclude any vague or imprecise environmental claims such as “environmentally friendly”, “green” or even “sustainable” which are too generic and not very objective.
In addition to the logo, the label’s structure always includes a simple, clear and legible baseline “Designed to last” on the front, as well as a statement expressing the label’s independence from any corporation. It leaves no room for misinterpretation. These concepts are translated into international reference languages.
On the back, the label includes a short explanatory text to remove any doubt as to the scope of the label: “The LONGTIME® label guarantees that this product meets the requirements of longevity, repairability, quality of service.
The reverse side also includes the label’s Internet site allowing each interested party to consult, free of charge, the factual technical basis constituted by the 41 criteria of the LONGTIME® reference system as well as the prerequisites of the label. This link also allows all professionals to check the procedure and methodology for achieving the label.
All explanatory statements are very short. The “designed to last”, “Label Independent” and additional explanatory statements are all located on the label in close proximity to each other (front and back) so that they can be easily associated by the label reader.
Whatever the group of products bearing the LONGTIME® label, the formulations remain strictly identical and cannot be reformulated. It is therefore impossible to distort the meaning of the label and to suggest other environmental gains than those indicated by the LONGTIME® label.
The scope of the LONGTIME label
This characteristic of manufactured products is supported by numerous studies and scientific data which today largely corroborate this postulate.
Extending the life span is one of the effective means of eco-design to reduce the environmental impact of manufactured products. This is even more true for energy-related products, ERP* and EEE**. It is with this information in mind that the LONGTIME® label criteria were developed.
The inclusion of the notion of sustainability in our environmental claim, implying the evaluation of reliability, robustness and repairability, allows us to systematically influence positively the life cycle analysis of products. The extension of the life span almost systematically generates environmental gains. In rare cases, the balance between the reduction of impacts related to the manufacture and disposal of products generated by the extension of product lifetimes can be offset by the improved energy efficiency of new, so-called breakthrough products.
The labeling process does not therefore require an LCA study, since the consensus is that the production phases are very important in the life cycle of manufactured products.
However, in order to be certain that the LONGTIME® assertion is valid for the entire cycle, the label introduces requirements for the use phase (ecological, energy or pollutant emission threshold) based on the best market practices. No criteria are specifically aimed at the end-of-life phase, but the set of criteria concerning the accessibility of the different parts and the availability of technical information related to the repair clearly overlaps this phase.
The environmental assertion made by LONGTIME® is perfectly adapted to the families of products for which durability and reparability can really be a factor of reduction of ecological impact in the life cycle, and be evaluated, whatever the situation or context of use.
Note that our label does not state that the product carrying the LONGTIME® claim is comparatively superior to others because our awarding process is not based on comparative analyses between products but on compliance with the 41 criteria of the label. However, there is no doubt that the The specifications of the LONGTIME® label will place the labeled products among the best in their categories.
A label for innovative products:
The LONGTIME® label has also been designed to adapt to technological innovations and technological breakthroughs.
Special attention will be paid to the reliability of new technologies, but this is not a discriminating factor.
The requirements of the criteria are mainly expressed in quantifiable data, accessibility scales, availability time of spare parts in years, ceiling price of spare parts expressed in % of the price of the new product, access time to the after-sales service in days (non-exhaustive list); in order to give substance to certain descriptive or theoretical characteristics such as the durability or the reliability.
NB ” It should be noted that the ISO 14024 standard mentions the fact that claims concerning sustainability concepts cannot be established. We do not agree with this statement. LONGTIME® is the first method of measuring sustainability and it is therefore legitimate to make it explicit in our claims. We also note that other entities, such as AFNOR, use in one of their private labeling programs a claim of sustainability achievement.”
Construction of the LONGTIME® reference system:
In 2017, we launched the research and development work to create the first sustainability benchmark. During these two years of R&D, accompanied by the skills of Ecocert Expert Consulting, we have integrated the collective intelligence of all the interested parties in the sectors concerned: manufacturers, inspection bodies, repair service providers, environmental and self-repair associations, and many others.
Over the past two years, a balanced consensus has been reached on a set of objective, non-imposing criteria.
The process of participation in the evolution of the repository is open to all via registration.
We reaffirm our willingness to open the process of participation and continuous improvement of our methodology to all stakeholders.
LONGTIME® label regulations:
The LONGTIME® label is registered as a certification mark at the EUIPO and as such a Regulation of use is filed there.
All companies that are consistent with the perimeter of the label’s activities may apply for the LONGTIME® label. Whatever their size, VSEs, SMEs, ETIs and GEs can access the label in compliance with the process. The registration procedure is simplified and without major administrative constraints other than regulatory constraints and compliance with the label’s prerequisites.
The LONGTIME® label is a “product” and not a “brand” environmental declaration so as not to mislead.
The conditions of certification, which cover the entire certification process, are available free of charge on request.
Awarding of the LONGTIME® label:
The Longtime label is based on the methodological standards of the EN 45550 series, in particular, EN45552 EN45554 and on the modes of proof from the performance indicators of the industrial environment.
The evaluation is based on a methodology derived from quality and system & product certification. It is based on semi-quantitative, quantitative and qualitative data and combines system and product audits.
This methodology structured around tangible KPIs is perfectly suited to the label’s claim and provides relevant information not only on the final product but also on all important phases of its life cycle.
The information corroborating the compliance of a candidate with the principles of the LONGTIME® label is examined during an initial audit carried out by a third party control organization.
The inspection bodies, Apave Certification and Ecocert Environnement, have their own inspection grid. This grid gathers all the criteria of the LONGTIME® label, the different thresholds to be respected by the candidates (according to the group of products studied) as well as all the elements and information allowing him to appreciate the quality of the audited product.
The auditor traces on this grid all the elements and all the evidence allowing him to declare the conformity to each criterion.
The control grid reserved for control bodies is protected, as is the evidence of compliance provided by the candidates themselves. This information may be considered sensitive or strictly confidential.
The inspection body then decides whether to issue a certificate of conformity or not.
The certificate is issued for a maximum period of 3 years.
Clearly, the cooperative that manages the LONGTIME® label, Ethikis ad Civis, has absolutely no power to award the label and defers solely to the decision of the Control Body. Thus, Ethikis is not judge and party as it is often the case in the world of private labels.
This method of attribution allows us to clearly indicate the words “Independent Label” and “Product controlled by an independent organization according to the LONGTIME® standard” directly on the label. Thus, we inform that our environmental declaration goes far beyond a simple self-declaration and that it comes from a fully independent validation.
Evolution of the benchmark and sectoral annex :
A reference system must be constantly reviewed to absorb the latest regulatory and market developments and to constantly improve practices. In this respect, the LONGTIME reference system and its sectorial annexes are revised at least every 3 years. This pace is consistent with the technological innovations encountered in our product area.
We organize round tables with all the label holders to discuss different elements of the label and provide them with surveys to continuously improve the labeling process. We want to continue to promote collective intelligence, to draw on the expertise of our partners in the field and to share our knowledge with other stakeholders, and in particular with consumers.
The evolution of the V1 standard to a V2 standard is already the subject of a broad consultation with interested parties. Each entity is invited to send us by any means, in physical or remote meetings, by email, their feedback on questions dealing with the real substantive issues of the label such as the relevance of adding or removing certain criteria.
LONGTIME and communication:
Reducing the information asymmetry that exists between consumers and manufacturers regarding sustainability is one of the prerogatives of the LONGTIME® label.
In order to maximize the reach of our label, we deploy communication strategies adapted to our structure, including
- press release
- SEO optimization and natural referencing
- participation in trade shows, conferences, events related to our theme in France and abroad
- graphics with neural ergonomics
- Animation of social networks