EcoStandard: Creating a culture of environmental excellence within SA’s building industry

EcoStandard, the first South African Eco label for products in the building and construction industry, aims to be the trusted certification body for the setting of environmental standards of excellence when rating a product, manufacturer and/ or service provider within our local building sector.

Currently there are no locally originated assessment tools available; hence the founding of EcoStandard. Registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO), it aims to design and launch the very first South African criteria and assessment tool, which will be third-party audited and verified to rate and certify the legitimacy of green claims.

Through this, EcoStandard intends to establish a portfolio of certified and rated products all of whom will have received an EcoStandard EcoProduct label. By providing both the trade and consumer market with clear and useful information through this portfolio, EcoStandard aims to assist in eliminating fraudulent and dishonest marketing claims.

Originally conceptualised and driven by Rayne Neave; founder of Eco Exhibit, a permanent exhibition space providing developers and builders with an opportunity to view eco-friendly products and services in one convenient setting, it has since been joined by Jefferas & Green, a diverse engineering and environmental consulting firm.  Their combined vision is to create a culture of environmental excellence in South Africa’s building industry by providing a trusted certification body.

The building industry has increasingly been moving towards sustainable development accompanied by market demand for eco products, materials and services.  However, the ability to distinguish between a legitimate eco product and one that is not remains a grey area, allowing for green washing to discredit the genuine supplier.  This is of huge concern within the professional building sector.

The initial target are “early-adopters” within the building and construction industry, namely companies who are already producing environmentally responsible products and have identified the need for a credible way of conveying this information to their consumers, via a third-party audit.

EcoStandard is confident that in setting high environmental standards, represented through a trusted brand mark, namely EcoStandard, it will help to decrease green washing whilst increasing the demand for, and confidence in, certified products and practices.  Their objective is to connect and engage with government, major corporations and consumers at large to encourage the need for all sectors to participate in the movement towards environmentally responsible consumerism and choices that will ultimately benefit people and planet.

By Gregg Cocking in