Created by the Carbonfund.org Foundation, the certification means that a product is carbon neutral, achieved by a company reducing or offsetting related emissions.
LG is taking both tacks for shrinking the carbon footprint of its products, including an $18-billion investment by its parent LG Group to research and develop energy efficient and renewable energy products. The results will be on display next year, when LG will release the first products in six categories -- an LCD TV, an LCD computer monitor, a refrigerator, a clothes washing machine, an LED lamp and several solar panel products -- to carry CarbonFree certification.
"For customers in the know, who are environmentally conscious, who understand the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, understand how carbon fits into our world, I think (the certification) it going to be meaningful," said John Taylor, LG's vice president of public affairs and communications
To determine the emissions caused by each product, LG had life cycle analyses conducted for specific product models, looking at everything from the extraction of raw materials to product disposal.
One model from each product category was considered, except for solar panel products; LG had a few solar items analyzed.
"We wanted to choose something that was a representative sample of our product line, and also something that is attractive to our customers," Taylor said. The CarbonFree products include a 42-inch TV and 26-inch monitor.
The products will carry the CarbonFree label due to carbon offset projects that LG will fund. The company has not yet announced what specific projects will contribute to making the products carbon neutral.
The offsets, Taylor said, build off of the carbon-cutting work LG has already already done in areas like reducing materials, hazardous substances and factory greenhouse gas emissions. "At this stage, these products reflect the progress we've made, and are very energy-efficient products," he said.
As for what happens to products once consumers scrap them, LG is working with the E-Stewards Initiative to promote and expand responsible e-waste recycling. In being named the first Global e-Stewards Enterprise, LG has committed itself to give preference to E-Stewards certified recyclers around the world.
Taylor said LG's tactics will include a mix of looking at its current recyclers and figure out what it will take for them to get certified as well as looking for new recyclers.
E-Stewards certification of recyclers means they don't export e-waste to developing countries, account for toxic materials passing through their supply chain, monitor worker health and safety, and don't send toxic materials to landfills or incinerators, among other issues.
While not directly connect to the U.S. government's recently-announced national e-waste strategy, LG's actions on e-waste fall in line with the strategy's goal of getting companies to commit to using and promoting certified responsible recyclers.
LG TV image CC-licensed by robertengmann/Flickr