EcoStandard – The Story…

EcoStandard is the first South African ecolabel for building products that was designed by South Africans for the South African market – a truly home-grown initiative. EcoStandard was founded as a Non-Profit Organisations by EcoExhibit and JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd in 2009. EcoStandard identified the need for an eco-label as there was no way to distinguish legitimate claims and greenwash.

Research and Development

In the early stages of developing the tool a significant amount of research was conducted into existing international tools and it was soon realised that it was not going to be possible to import an already developed tool into the South African market. South Africa has very limited, if any, lifecycle data (i.e. energy, water, waste, etc.) to base a tool on and it would not be realistic nor fair to the South African market to use international data. 

A survey was conducted amongst various affiliates to the building industry in September 2012. The overall perception was that there is a need for an eco-label for building products.

The Assessment Tool was developed using the principles of the Life Cycle Analysis (an assessment from Cradle-to-Grave and in line with the guidelines established by ISO 14024).

  • ISO14024 is a Type 1 environmental labelling programme which is “voluntary, multiple-criteria-based third party programme that awards a licence which authorizes the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations” (ISO14024: 1999, p1).

EcoStandard decided to consider a Cradle-to-Cradle approach and therefore includes ‘recyclability’. It is important to ensure that the technical materials of the product are maintained in the resource economy which requires appropriate design principles right from the start.

Testing and Pilot Programme

A Pilot assessment phase was undertaken which included assessments of Icologie, L.E.D Lighting SA and Xanita. Based on results and feedback the assessment and evaluation criteria were further refined and adjusted.

After review by the technical committee the final assessment tool was made available to the Board for approval.

Once the Board members reviewed and approved the final tool, EcoStandard was officially launched on 22 August 2013. The launch included the first EcoProduct official certification hand-over to Xanita whose X-Board scored a 4-star rating.

Product certification schemes are assessed against the criteria stipulated in the GBCSA Product Certification Scheme – Assessment Tool

Product certification schemes, after assessment by the GBCSA, are categorised into three categories A, B and C, according to the following point thresholds:

Level A (25 – 37)

Level B (18  – 24)

Level C (8 – 17)

GBCSA Product Certification Scheme – Assessment Tool

EcoStandard has been validated on the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Product Certification Scheme – Assessment Tool and our EcoStandard 4&5 Star Rating is considered a Level A Certification.

All three categories A, B and C, are according to the GBCSA’s point thresholds:
Level A (25 – 37)
Level B (18 – 24)
Level C (8 – 17)