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Green Certification Guide

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Third Party Certification labels by reputable companies are a good way for consumers to make purchasing decisions. 

Many of these companies have been around since the early 1990s and their endorsements are a result of extensive research and testing.

 So, look for these labels as you shop or vacation to insure that the companies you support are doing their part for the planet and your health and well-being.

 

Health Certification

usda_th11. USDA National Organic Program
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/

This is the official site for organic certification through the United States Department of Agriculture.  There are six main commodity programs, Cotton, Dairy, Fruit and Vegetable, Livestock and Seed, Poultry and Tobacco. Their website provides a listing of Accredited Certifying Agents and an application to become a certifier.
Learn how to get my product certified as Organic (Link on Right)

qai_th12. Quality Assurance International
http://www.qai-inc.com/2_1_0_0.php

QAI is an independent third party certifier of organic food systems.  They test and certify each element including land, farming practices, processing and packaging, distribution, and retail and restaurant purchase points. They act as guides for their clients throughout the process by offering clear concise and efficient steps towards certification.  

ocia_th13. Organic Crop Improvement Association
http://www.ocia.org/

OCIA is one of the first and largest organic certifiers in the world.  They are non-profit and member owned. They provide certification to producers, processors and handlers from over 20 countries worldwide.

rain_forest_alliance_th14. Rainforest Alliance
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/certification.cfm?id=main

This organization offers a third party certification of companies, cooperatives and landowners that produce consumer products and grow, market, and distribute food.
They work closely with the tourism industry to promote environmental responsibility and utilize sustainable business practices while contributing to their local communities.

ccof_th15. CCOF Certified Organic
http://www.ccof.org/

CCOF is an Accredited Certifying Agent that also offers marketing and public relations support.  They are politically involved with the protection and advocacy of government policies that promote organic agriculture.

Green Business Certification

green_building_th11. US Green Building Council - LEED
http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=64

USGBC developed LEED, a third party green building certification system geared towards both the individual homebuilder and community development contractors. It’s flexible enough to apply to all building types – residential and commercial.  Its certification assures potential buyers that each step, from design to completion and beyond has been monitored and the finished product will meet all sustainable housing standards.

scientific_certification_th12. Scientific Certification Systems
http://www.scscertified.com/

SCS does it all.  They certify agricultural production, food processing, forestry, fisheries and green building projects. They work with individuals, small businesses and large commercial enterprises. They provide scientific certainty to many of the green labeling adopted by some of the largest retailers in the country and the world.

energy_star_th13. Energy Star
http://www.energystar.gov/

Energy Star is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s certification that a product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of energy. Their website offers lists of products that meet these standards, making it easy for the consumers to shop green.

green_e_th14. Green-e Certified
http://www.green-e.org/

Green-e is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions. It’s logo on a consumer product certifies that renewable energy sources were utilized in the production and distribution of the product.

eco_green_award_th15. Eco Green Award
http://www.ecogreenaward.com/

The Eco Green Award is given to businesses in the hospitality industries. It indicates to the consumer that the facility is committed to energy efficiency and recycling efforts.

eco_broker_th16. Eco Broker
http://www.ecobroker.com/

Are you looking for a green real estate broker?  Well you’ve come to the right website. It brings together consumers, real estate brokers, and green business all in one directory.

green_restaurant_th17. Green Restaurant Association
http://www.dinegreen.com/

A national non-profit organization that provides the restaurant industry with an affordable way to become more environmentally responsible. Certification has proven to be an important distinction to communicate the credible and real changes that any restaurant has accomplished.

green_business_th18. Green Business Certification
http://www.gbcertified.com/home09.asp

The green audit evaluates the green initiatives of a business in ten key categories. A green certification from this company assures that the business does all that’s possible and necessary to protect the environment.

green_advantage_th19. Green Advantage
http://www.greenadvantage.org/

The goal of Green Advantage is to bring consumers and certified green building professionals together.  They were established by an EPA grant with additional funding from the Nature Conservancy.  They offer ongoing training to the industry and continuing educational programs for the consumer.

eco_crown_th110. Eco Crown Hospitality
http://www.ecocrown.com/

Eco Crown is green certification for hotels, resorts, B & Bs, lodges, vacation homes and restaurants.  The big on-line travel retailers recognize them as one of the main sources for green recommendations. They provide green audits to resort management and work closely with the hospitality industry to improve their green standards.

green_seal_th111. Green Seal
http://www.greenseal.org/

Green Seal issued its first environmental standards in 1991 – 1992, making them one of the oldest environmental certification programs in the country.  Established as a leader in the green movement, they have had a great deal of success marketing to large institutional purchasers including government agencies and universities.

Fair Trade Certification

fair_trade_th11. Fair Trade Certified
http://www.transfairusa.org/

The trade marked Fair Trade Certified label carries with it the guarantee that quality and competitively priced products not only exist, but readily available to the consumer.  They have been certifying  fair trade coffee since 1999 and are a leader in this market.

flo_th12. Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO)
http://www.fairtrade.net/

This organization works with other fair trade labeling companies on a global level.  They have set many of the standards for fair trade and organize support from producers around the world.

leaping_bunny_th13. Leaping Bunny
http://www.leapingbunny.org/

Look for a Leaping Bunny logo before buying cosmetics and you’ll be assured of cruelty free merchandise. A trip to their website will allow you to shop many cruelty free partners.

certified_humane_th14. Certified Humane
http://www.certifiedhumane.org/

What leaping Bunny does for cosmetics, Certified Humane does for farm animals.  If you’re not ready to give up meat, but support humane livestock handling definitely check out this site.  So look for their label when you shop your local meat counter.

veri_flora_th15. VeriFlora
http://www.veriflora.com/

Everyone loves to give and receive flowers, but have you ever thought about how their raised?  Veriflora does.  They promote quality flowers, while sustaining the environment and the people who work the industry. A Veriflora label mean certified sustainable practices in all areas of the floral industry.

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Comments

  1. Adam Canow  July 28, 2009

    You should add Green Business Bureau to your list. Here is their website: http://www.gbb.org

  2. Beth  August 9, 2009

    Thank you for this excellent article. You may also want to alert readers to Animal Welfare Approved, the program lauded for two years by the World Society for the Protection of Animal (WSPA) as “the most stringent” of all third-party certifiers.

    Visit http://www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org for a searchable AWA product database as well as comprehensive, transparent information about the non profit program, offered FREE of charge to family farmers.

    Thank you.