Green Certifications


The Animal Welfare Approved label guarantees consumers that animals were raised outdoors. Approved by the USDA, this food label is given to family farmers practicing high-welfare husbandry outdoors on pastures or ranges. The World Society for the Protection Animals has rated these standards “most stringent” for two years running.


BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) more info

BREEAM is another system for measuring the sustainable architecture, but this program isdifferentiated from LEED in many ways. The most recognizable difference is that it is based on legislation in the United Kingdom, but is it being used worldwide.



Products raised with this label meet the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) program standards, which include nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors. Cages, crates, tie stalls are strictly forbidden. Slaughter is audited based on the American Meat Institute (AMI) guidelines. HFAC’s third-party inspectors verify each site annually.



Veriflora certifies sustainably-grown cut flowers and potted plants. It assesses crop production, ecosystem management, resource conservation, energy efficiency, waste management, fair labor, community benefits, product quality, safety, and purity.


Cradle To Cradle Certification

Organization: McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC (MBDC) – For-profit

Focus: Measures achievement in environmentally-intelligent design in commercial products and building products

Products: Consumer products, sub-assemblies and materials

Method: Certification includes requirements for: Product/Material transparency and human/environmental health characteristics of materials, Product/Material reutilization, Production energy, Water use at manufacturing facility, and Social fairness/corporate ethics. This means using environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting; the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency; efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production; and instituting strategies for social responsibility. A candidate product can be certified as a Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum product



These labels issued by the Carpet and Rug Institute indicate that carpet, carpet backings, cushions and adhesives emit low amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). The Green Label Plus is given to those carpeting products that exceed the green building requirements dictated by California schools which focus on post-consumer content, VOC emissions, the absence of PBDE flame retardant, life cycle assessment, and recycling.


DARK SKY more info

The International Dark Sky Association issues this seal of approval to outdoor lighting fixtures that minimize glare, reduce light trespass, and therefore do not pollute the night sky. Light pollutionwastes energy, disrupts wildlife, and also obstructs views for astronomers and scientists.



Organization: U.S. Department of Commerce

This certification is given for tuna caught using purse seine fishing methods within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. It ensures that fishing did not involve the deliberate netting or circling of any dolphins. More info at Dolphinsafe.govFor this specific oceanic region the process is verified by an observer from the National Marine Fisheries Service.



The EnergyGuide label is required for all appliances and it estimates the amount of energy that the product will use. It provides information about whether the usage is below the average for that type of product and also estimates a yearly operating cost.


Energy Star Label

Organization: The US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy

Focus: Energy efficiency for products and buildings

Products: Appliances, light commercial HVAC, office equipment, lighting, exit signs, external power adapters, roof products, room air cleaners, transformers, water coolers, windows and doors, skylights

Method: Manufacturers submit data that proves a product meets standards.

-Products: to qualify, products for residential and commercial use in 60 categories must be 10–25% more efficient than required by the federal standard while providing top performance and innovative features compared to similar, standard products. Some examples:

* Qualified refrigerators are at least 15% more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.

* Qualified TVs consume 3 watts or less when switched off, compared to a standard TV, which consumes almost 6 watts on average.

* Office equipment that qualifies automatically enters a low-power “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity.

* Qualified light bulbs (CFLs) use two-thirds less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and must meet additional operating and reliability guidelines.

* Qualified furnaces offer a rating of 90% AFUE or greater, which is about 15% more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard.

-Buildings: To qualify for the ENERGY STAR, a building or manufacturing plant must score in the top 25% based on EPA’s National Energy Performance Rating System. To determine the performance of a facility, EPA compares energy use among other, similar types of facilities on a scale of 1-100; buildings that achieve a score of 75 or higher may be eligible for the ENERGY STAR. The EPA rating system accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations.



Fair Trade certification is overseen by FLO International (Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International) and overseen by TransFair USA in the United States. It validates ethical practices for producers and handlers a growing range of products, including bananas, honey, oranges, cocoa, coffee, shortbread, cotton, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, nuts and oil seeds, quinoa, rice, spices, sugar, tea and wine.


FLOOR SCORE more info

Floor Score was developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction withScientific Certification Systems (SCS) to test and certify hard surface flooring and flooring adhesive products for compliance with rigorous indoor air quality and low-VOC emissions requirements.


FSC Certified

Organization: Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and the certification is completely voluntary.

Focus: Certification for forests and wood-based products

Products: This certification accredits forest managers, manufacturing companies, and controlled wood products that exhibit responsible consumption of forest products.

Method: FSC Certification for forests: Forest landowners or managers can contact an accredited FSC certifier to be assessed against the FSC standard approved for the region where the forest is located. If the forest management operations meet guidelines, the landowner signs a certification contract to commit to continue practicing forestry in a certifiable fashion. The certification contract’s duration is 5 years. These 5-year audits are supplemented by annual audits to verify that the terms of the contract are being followed. Chain of Custody (COC) Certification for wood-based products: For companies who manufacture or trade certified products, a different form of certification applies. To assure the credibility of claims on products, materials are tracked as they leave the forest and become products down stream. Like any inventory control system, COC allows products to be segregated and identified as having come from an FSC-certified forest.

Categories: FSC 100%. FSC Mixed Sources, FSC Recycled


Green America’s Green Seal Of Approval

Organization: Green America is a non-profit organization

Focus: Green Seal Product performance, life-cycle and product-specific features

Products: Chillers, cleaners, paints and coatings, windows and doors

Method: Manufacturers submit a request for certification. Data is tested on environmental and performance criteria. The manufacturing facility is visited to check quality control procedures. Products are subject to annual recertification. To receive a Green Seal of Approval and become a member of Green America’s Green Business Network, businesses must submit an application, or be pre-qualified by Green America’s Screening Team. Each applying company is investigated to determine its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and significant action in terms of this commitment. Companies must demonstrate that they:

– Focus on using business as a tool for positive social change.

– Are “values-driven,” as well as profit-driven.

– Are socially and environmentally responsible in the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their offices and factories.

– Are committed to and employ extraordinary and innovative practices that benefit: 1) workers, 2) communities, 3) customers, and 4) the environment.


Green Label & Green Label Plus

Organization: Carpet and Rug institute

Focus: Indoor air quality

Products: Carpet, adhesives and cushion materials

Method: Products are tested by an independent laboratory. Products are tested quarterly for total volatile organic compound emissions and annually for 13 specific chemical emissions.


Green Seal Label

Organization: Green Seal is a non-profit organization

Focus: Product and service Life-cycle

Products: Construction Materials, Equipment and Systems, Facility Operations, Maintenance and Services, Hospitality, Lodging, and Food Service, Home Products and Services, Office Products and Communications, Personal Care and Consumer Packaged Goods, Transportation and Utilities

Method: Green Seal accepts applications for certification. Test data is gathered for the environmental and performance requirements outlined in the applicable Green Seal standard. The manufacturing facility is visited to evaluate quality control procedures. This ensures that the current product is representative of future production. Once certified, products are subject to annual monitoring to ensure that the product offered for sale continues to meet the Green Seal standard. Any deviation is immediately brought to the manufacturer’s attention and corrective action must be instituted within an appropriate time. Non-compliance may result in termination of the manufacturer’s privilege to carry the Green Seal on its product. Green Seal’s standards identify sustainability leadership performance levels and practices for products and services. Product or service categories are evaluated using a life-cycle approach to ensure that all significant environmental impacts are considered in the development of a standard, from raw materials extraction through manufacturing to use and disposal. Such an evaluation involves thorough, state-of-the-art scientific evaluations using internationally accepted methodologies.

Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free More info here

Organization: Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics

CCIC guarantees consumers that no animal tests were used in the development/production of the product. The CCIC makes sure to validate each license with on-site audits of a company’s manufacturing process. The Leaping Bunny logo can be found on cosmetics, pet products, household cleansers, and personal care products.


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) more info

LEED is a U.S. Green Building Council program that promotes sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, sustainable materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The program is based on a system that awards silver, gold, and platinum certification levels based on the amount of points that a project is able to garner by employing green building strategies.


LEVEL more info

The Level certification is based on standards created by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA). The standards address a company’s social actions, energy usage, material selection, and human and ecosystem-wide health impacts.


LIGHTING FACTS more infoLighting Facts is a initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy to labelsolid-state lighting (SSL) — mainly LEDs — to display performance metrics in a manner similar to how food nutrition labels work. The program seeks to guard against exaggerated green claims and help consumers to understand how lights compare on reliability, output, color consistency, and energy usage.



Products eligible for NSF Registration include all compounds used in and around food establishments (nonfood compounds), such as disinfectants and lubricants, and those used for pre-processing of food proprietary substances, such as fruits/vegetable washing agents. NSF Registration assures inspection officials and end users that your formulation and labels meet appropriate food safety regulations.



Globally uniform testing and certification system for harmful chemicals in textile raw materials, intermediate and end products

what is the certifying body?

what is the process?

-Certification is obtained by application in writing from the manufacturer to one of the authorized test institutes or official offices around the globe. The samples submitted are tested exclusively in the member institutes in Europe and Japan in order to ensure a consistently high level of testing.

-Raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of processing throughout the manufacturing chain, including accessories, are tested and certified.

-Certification applies for one year, and the manufacturer must sign a declaration of conformity stating that the successfully tested textile samples will correspond with the quality of products manufactured or sold throughout the entire certification period.

-Oeko-Tex institutes regularly carry out product controls on the market to ensure compliance with the required criteria.

what are the guidelines?

-A product is allocated to one of the 4 product classes based on intended use. The more intensively a product comes into contact with the skin, the stricter the human ecological requirements it must fulfill.

– The test for harmful substances includes:

– substances which are prohibited by law, such as carcinogenic dyestuffs

– substances which are regulated by law, such as formaldehyde, softeners, heavy metals or pentachlorophenol

– substances which are known to be harmful to health, but are not yet regulated or prohibited by law, such as pesticides, allergy-inducing dyestuffs or tin-organic compounds

– parameters such as colorfastness and a skin-friendly pH-value, which are precautionary measures to safeguard consumers heath

what are the categories?

-Oeko Tex Standard 100

-Oeko Tex Standard 1000

-Oeko Tex system

what distinguishes the categories?

-Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certifies textile products only if all components meet the required criteria without exception.

-The Oeko-Tex system permits the use of source materials which already have certification. Responsibility for the human ecological quality of the products always remains with the party who has made qualitative or chemical changes to the product in the manufacturing process. This means that manufacturers of ready-made clothing, as the final link in the production chain, are also able to have their collections certified at a manageable cost.


Processed Chlorine Free & Totally Chlorine Free

Organization: The Chlorine Free Products Association {CFPA} is an independent not-for-profit accreditation & standard setting organization, incorporated in the state of Illinois.

Focus: Paper processing

Products: Virgin and recycled paper products that do not use chlorine compounds in the processing.

Method: PCF audits require a chain of custody for all raw materials, measures the impact of a manufacturing process on the environment: water and energy use, chemistry, carbon gas releases, reviews environmental policy and permit compliance, reviews ethical management practices and compliance, financial performance, product stewardship, public information, funding of research and development, and employee recognition. Once the audit is complete, PCF is able to plug the numbers in to provide a ranking on a Sustainability Index. Only processes, or products that are manufactured free of chlorine chemistry are identified with the TCF {Totally Chlorine Free} or PCF {Processed Chlorine Free} Trademarks.


Rainforest Alliance Certified

Organization: The Rainforest Alliance

Focus: Environmentally Responsible agricultural and forestry practices.

Products: Wood and agricultural products

Methods: Farms and forestlands that meet the rigorous, third-party standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. This certification body has a variety of verification services for wood products under their SmartWood program. This program includes the FSC Certification standard, but has other specific compliance categories that concern supply chains, carbond validation, reclaimed and recycled wood, and logging.



There are many different recycling symbols used on products ranging from glass to corrugated cardboard, but the symbols on plastic products are the hardest to understand. The symbols do not necessarily mean the product is recyclable — they just identify what type of plastic the product is made from. Check with your local authorities to see what is available for recycling in your area.

Number 1 PET or PETE (polyethelene terephthalate) – Probably the most commonly-seen plastic label, this is found on soda and water bottles. The material can be easily recycled into polar fleece and carpet fibers.

Number 2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene) – Used for milk jugs, shampoo bottles, household product bottles, and cereal box liners. It is generally recycled into products like plastic lumber, floor files, and detergent bottles.

Number 3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – clear food packaging and other translucent things like cleanser bottles. This material is not readily recycled, and its manufacturing is really bad for the environment because it releases harmful toxins — so stay away from it if you can!

Number 4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) – This is the second most common plastics label, and it is found on plastic shopping bags and frozen food bags. Where accepted, it can be recycled into products like trash can liners.

Number 5 PP (polypropylene) – This plastic is not widely accepted for recycling, and is used for bottle caps, drinking straws, food containers, and medicine bottles. Because it is harder and more heat resistant that other plastics, when is it accepted for recycling it can be made into brushes, brooms, ice scrapers, and even signal lights.

Number 6 PS (polystyrene) – Found in CD cases, egg cartons, plastic plates, and utensils, polystyrene is pretty hard to recycle. Where it is accepted, the material can be made into insulation and packaging materials.

Number 7 Everything else – This ambiguous label is for all plastics that do not fit into any of the other categories.



-green building products

-food agriculture products

-forestry: SCS Independent Forest & COC Cert..




The VOC criteria for Indoor Advantage certification is based on emission criteria established by theBusiness and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association‘s (BIFMA) standard for low-emitting office furniture systems and seating. Indoor Advantage Gold certification includes other product categories such as paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, carpet, insulation, wall coverings, and other interior products.



Organization: The Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)

This certification validates that a product contains pre-consumer or post-consumer materials. As defined by SCS, pre-consumer material has been diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Materials generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process (such as rework, regrind or scrap) are excluded. Post-consumer material is generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of a product that can no longer be used for its intended purpose.


SCS Certified calCOMPLIANT

Organization: The Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and California Air Resources Board

Focus: Indoor air quality – formaldehyde emissions

Products: Composite wood products – plywood, particleboard, MDF

Method: The Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) Indoor Advantage™ certification program employs product selection, collection, handling, and testing protocols that were developed by the California Department of Health Services indoor air quality research staff in accordance with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) Furniture Emissions Standards. SCS evaluates manufacturers’ internal processes and quality control systems to determine the number of product samples that must be collected and tested in the laboratory. Samples are wrapped and packaged as prescribed by the California Department of Health Services and the BIFMA standards so as to preserve their chemical integrity. Collection, handling, and shipping are documented using internationally recognized chain-of-custody procedures.




Governing Organization: Greenguard Environmental Institute

Focus: Indoor air quality

Covered Products: Adhesives, appliances, ceilings, cleaning systems, flooring, insulation, office equipment, office furniture, paint, textiles and wallcoverings

Certification Method: Independent labs test product within one week of being manufactured. Product undergoes 96 hour emissions test. From data gleaned from the test, emission levels are projected out several months. Products are subject to annual recertification.



Sustainable, Sustainable Silver, Sustainable Gold & Sustainable Platinum ratings are given to building products, fabric, apparel, textile & flooring coverings that meet rigorous standards for life cycle assessment and green practices throughout the supply chain.



Organization: Forest Stewardship Council

Focus: Chain of Custody certification – assures wood comes from certified forests

Products: Any product that uses wood in its manufacturing process

Method: Certification completed by third-party organizations, including SmartWood and SCS



Underwriters Laboratories, one of the country’s largest certification bodies, now offers a service to validate a variety of sustainable claims.


USDA ORGANIC more info

In accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the National Organic Program (NOP) housed within the USDA set criteria for the processing and handling of food. Some of these standards include the absence of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The NOP provides a worksheet to help define all of the variables in their organic labeling.


WATERSENSE more info

This label is issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for products that are 20% more water-efficient that average products in the same category. The products must also perform as well or better than their less efficient counterparts in categories such as toilets, faucets, urinals, and showerheads.



The Whole Foods grocery retailer gives this label to products that meet their standards for ethical trade, environmental impact, and quality.

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