EcoLabel Standard Program

Green Business Opportunities for the Global Plastic Card Industry

At a glance: The first global green card standard

  • A voluntary and expandable program responsive to innovation and change
  • ICMA acts as an independent third-party organization providing guiding standards and credibility
  • Complies with ISO international principles for environmental labels
  • Criteria parameters currently include:
    • Reduced materials
    • Recycled content
    • Compostable
    • Biobased content
  • Assurance levels include:
  • Declared or registered
  • Verified or certified
  • Licensed use of ICMA EcoLabel logo on submitted cards

Setting the Global Standard for Environmentally Intelligent Plastic Cards

In response to growing consumer and card issuer demand for green transaction and identification cards, the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA) EcoLabel Standard Program provides a determination of the environmental performance of a manufacturer’s cards through a third-party ecolabeling certification program.

ICMA’s Green Task Force developed the EcoLabel Standard Program through an open process involving card manufacturers, personalizers, suppliers and issuers internationally. The ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program initiates measurable criteria for assessing the environmental impact of cards for ICMA EcoLabel certification and conforms with global ISO principles for environmental labeling.

Opportunities for a greener bottom line

As businesses seek market advantage by responding to consumer environmental concerns, ecolabeling has evolved as a method of identifying a product’s environmental integrity. However, without guiding standards and verification by an independent third-party, manufacturers’ environmental claims may be questioned by consumers.

The ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program establishes third-party credibility that a green card product is an environmentally preferable alternative. A comprehensive ICMA EcoLabel Standards Program criteria document titled Indicators for the Environmental Impact of Cards is also located on this website, and should be referred to for comprehensive complete criteria and technical information. EcoLabel registration is also available on this website.

EcoLabel criteria

In general, the current ICMA EcoLabel criteria include:

  • Reduced materials (minimum of 25%)
  • Recycled content (minimum 25% threshold)
  • Compostable (municipal and home)
  • Biobased content (minimum of 40%)

Assurance levels

  • Declared: Manufacturer registers and declares the card meets ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program criteria without third-party assessor verification. These cards are “registered.”
  • Verified: Manufacturer registers and provides verification the card meets ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program criteria by a recognized third-party assessor. These cards are “certified.”

It is the responsibility of the issuer of an ICMA EcoLabel certified card to conduct any third-party authentication of manufacturer claims, as well as comply with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and other brand issuing organizations’ requirements.

ICMA: Greening the marketplace

In addition to licensing member manufacturers, certifying card products and administering ICMA EcoLabel usage, ICMA will:

  • Provide best practices to manufacturers contemplating application for EcoLabel licensing and registering/certification of their products
  • Disseminate ICMA EcoLabel information to the public and the card industry
  • Represent the interests of ecolabeling in international meetings and forums

The card manufacturing industry faces a rapidly changing global marketplace and is looked to for leadership on technological and socio-economic issues such as environmentally friendly card products. This is an industry issue which can build recognition of the card industry as a whole for its environmental intelligence and its commitment to leadership through environmentally responsible manufacturing initiatives.

Benefits of ICMA EcoLabel Standard Program Licensing

  • Ability to place approved EcoLabel logo on qualified cards at the issuer’s request
  • Licensee logo placed on all manufacturer corporate communications conveying a “green” image to customers
  • ICMA website listing in a dedicated EcoLabel licensee section
  • Manufacturer-driven public relations
  • Inclusion in ICMA industry and consumer EcoLabel public relations

Click for the full Program Manual