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European standards

Integration of environmental aspects in standardisation

Standards can deal with the technical aspects of almost any product, service or process. They are nearly always voluntary but play a crucial role in the design, manufacturing, packaging and end-of-life stages when used. They can also deal with the efficient use of natural resources. Consequently, standards can have an impact on the environment.

As a useful economic and social tool, standardisation has the potential to play a larger role in protecting the environment. For example, products of the future should use fewer resources and should meet environmental requirements throughout their whole life cycle. Standards which take environmental requirements into account for the whole life cycle of products, processes and services can contribute to improving the environment. They might also lead to cost reduction, more innovation and competitive advantages.

There has, in recent years, been an increased focus on the role that standardisation, as a voluntary tool, can play in protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development. In many documents published in the last few years, the Council and the Parliament have acknowledged the need to integrate environmental aspects into standards.

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