Environmental criteria are one of the crucial processes in defining what is a green product and what is not. The criteria support the consumer and producer to identify more sustainable products and services across different dimensions such as materials and energy use, waste and wastewater, chemical substances, and recyclability. Environmental criteria address priority impacts throughout the life cycle of the product, based on an evaluation of scientific evidence and international best practices, where applicable. The criteria are developed with and adhere to the principles of transparency and voluntary consensus, and represent a balance of stakeholder interests.
As part of the implementation of activities under the SCP Outreach project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, GIZ together with the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan organized the environmental criteria development workshop for selected products such as Cement and TMT rod between 24-26 October 2022 in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. Through the workshop, knowledge and expertise from Thai experts, the Pollution Control Department of Thailand (PCD) and the Thai Environment Institute (TEI), were transferred to enable the government officers of relevant agencies in Bhutan to develop the environmental criteria for selected products.
During the workshop, the participants were trained on Life Cycle Thinking and ISO 14024 as principles of criteria development. Materials and energy use, as well as GHG emissions, were defined as the major environmental hotspots for drafting criteria. Moreover, the verification method and certification process were discussed, and more support was sought from the project as Bhutan still has limited knowledge and experience in these issues.