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Certifications: what are they all about?

I was recently working on a new product brochure from Print Solutions and I found myself navigating the world of ‘certifications’. The list of certifications for each industry is wide and when the same product has different industry applications it can get complicated!

Thinking about this I have started putting together some industry certifications and labels to understand a little deeper how to present the right features to the right customer needs!

I have selected 5 main paper and plastic industry certifications I encountered. See the list below:

  1. ISO 9001
  2. ISO 14001
  3. FSC 
  4. CE Marking
  5. VOC Free

Let us start with the ISO’s.  They are international standards agreed by experts, it works like a formula that describes a way of doing something, from products to delivering a service or supplying materials. ISO is an organization that stands for International Organizations for Standardization.

This standard basically helps manufacturers to make things work as they should. There are two ISO’s that we need to understand in our industry:

1.     ISO 9001

This is the Quality Management ISO. ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and can be used for any organization, regardless of its field or size.

This standard is based on several quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

ISO 9001 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services.

See more about ISO 9001 principles here

2.    ISO 14001

This ISO standard is part of the ISO 14000 family and it is about Environmental Management Systems. It maps out a framework that a company can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It is also designed for any type of organization and it can provide assurance to company management and employees that environmental impact is being measured and improved.

Having a product that comes from a company ISO 14001 certified or having this certification itself is a competitive advantage and builds trust with your community.

See here the key benefits for ISO 14001.

Moving on from ISO standards, there are many other organizations there to help us to measure, understand and improve many other aspects of manufacturing, such as:

3.   FSC

This well-known organization stands for Forest Stewardship Council and many products hold the FSC Recycled certification. The FSC system allows businesses and consumers to identify, purchase and use wood, paper and other forest products made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources.

When you buy a products with FSC’s logo on it, you have the confidence that you are buying from a forest that meets the FSC requirements and you are helping to keep them alive for the next generations.
Find more about it here.

4.  CE Marking

CE marking indicates that a product has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet European safety, health and environmental protection requirements. This label is only obligatory for products for which EU specifications exist and require the affixing of CE marking.

There are two main benefits CE marking brings to businesses and consumers within the EEA: 

  • Businesses know that products bearing the CE marking can be traded in the EEA without restrictions.
  • Consumers enjoy the same level of health, safety and environmental protection throughout the entire EEA.
Learn more about it here.

5.   VOC Free

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds; they are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products such as printing inks and organic solvents. Once these chemicals are
indoors, they are released into the air we breathe bringing potential health risks. When outdoors, VOC’s play a significant role in the formation of ozone and fine particulates in the atmosphere.

When a product is VOC free it means, VOCs have not been intentionally added to the product. The presence of VOCs at that level does not cause material harm that consumers typically associate with VOCs, including but not limited to, harm to the environment or human health.


Next month we are going to cover a little bit more about certifications including the ISEGA, EU Ecolabel, Nbs Plus and more!
And, if you are looking for products with certain labels or certifications, contact your sales rep or send us a message about it!

Naue Tunes,
Digital Marketing Assistant.