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GREEN LABELING


 

GREEN LABELING STANDARDS

"Truth in labeling" is a huge, growing field.  Of course, not every company that provides a sustainability scorecard is going to be fully forthcoming and consumers MUST be aware of what is termed "greenwashing" by many companies.

Among factors that should be included in rating a company's "greenness" are as follows:

  • General Overview-    Does the company produce organic, natural, healthy, products.  Do they practice "fair trade" policies in their global exchange operations?   Are sustainable agricultural and business practices a part of the corporate or company plan?
  • Environment-   Are products and services produced healthful and in a manner that provides the most protection possible of the planet, its people, animal, plants,and the environment?  Are energy saving, water saving,  waste-reducing, recycling practices paired with sustainable and energy-efficient market delivery practices (bio-diesel, electric, hybrid vehicle fleets)?
  • Health-   Are products, natural, certified organic, non-GMO, healthy, chemically free, vegetarian-vegan, free of pesticides, antibiotics, and synthetics, gluten-free, fresh, and do products nourish, hydrate, and energize consumers?
  • Social-   Fair trade certified,  Equal exchange practices, Holistic and wellness standards for employees, financially conscious, partnering with charities, environmentally protective, healthy facilities, fully disclosing ingredients in products or hazardous component content, implementing safe, quality community impact, humane treatment of animals, respect for trees, plants, and wildlife surroundings, donates to environmentally sensitive and humane non-profit organizations, and sourcing as much domestic product as possible
  • Products / Services-   Organic, fair-trade, equal-exchange,  gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian, GMO-free, nutritious, environmentally-sensitive harvesting and delivery to market, non-petroleum based packaging, low-carbon market delivery systems

How does this site determine which companies are worthy of being the "green stuff" that we place on our on-line yellow pages?  Each product, service, company, organization, or individual is vetted using the criteria above.  Since eco-labeling is a process that is evolving, it is our policy to include products, services, and organizations that are making their best effort to not only be "green" now, but to be following "best practices" to evolve with the growth of science and knowledge to become better at what they do.

For example, transportation emissions leave such a massive carbon footprint that they could drop the "greenest" company from the list of an environmental purist.  Shipping giants such as FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service do not have "green" fleets (and frankly, we couldn't afford their charges if they all suddenly switched over to green fleets and increased their charges).  However, all are reducing their carbon dioxide output by adding electric, hybrid or alternative fuel-capable vehicles to their fleets.  This is a responsible environmental response.  Besides, what an environmental nightmare it would be to suddenly be faced with the disposal of hundreds of thousands of petroleum-fueled vehicles!

Often maligned mega-retailer  Walmart has announced a plan to put "eco-labels on ALL its products - but this will take years.  A first step is the Sustainability Consortium they formed with 90 other organizations  to first study the range of inputs and outputs that need to be addressed and weighted.  

Below is information on ecolabelindex.com and other systems currently providing information on "green labeling."

 

 
 

  Ecolabel Index is the largest global directory of ecolabels, currently tracking 432 ecolabels in 246 countries, and 25 industry sectors.
     

   

   

Green Home Certification & Education Programs

There are two kinds of green residential programs: national programs and local programs. National programs (listed below) offer green building certification and/or education nationwide.  Local programs are provided by organizations that have a defined geographical focus whether it be a metropolitan area, a county (or counties), statewide or regional. 

     
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 Building Performance Institute  (BPI)  

We are a leading developer of technical standards for home performance and weatherization retrofit work that are recognized across North America. From these standards, we’ve developed training programs,professional credentialing for individuals and company accreditation – including quality assurance programs - that help raise the bar in home performance contracting.

As an independent, not-for-profit organization, we help to create sustainable, green-collar jobs in local communities – jobs that cannot be exported – while helping to improve the comfort, health, safety, durability and energy efficiency of America's existing houses. We are a leading developer of technical standards for home performance and weatherization retrofit work that are recognized across North America. From these standards, we’ve developed training programs, professional credentialing for individuals and company accreditation – including quality assurance programs – that help raise the bar in home performance  home performance contracting.

     
     C4   CALIFORNIA CENTRAL COAST CHAPTER

California Central Coast Chapter USGBC (C4) is a collaborative effort of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to form a regional U.S. Green Building Council Chapter to address the unique environmental opportunities and challenges specific to that bio-region. This collaboration has emerged from a 15 year history of increasingly overlapping, and shared efforts toward the common goal of creating sustainable communities in the context of our shared scenic landscape of smaller urban areas surrounded by agricultural lands and coastal boundary.

As a regional conduit for sustainable design our mission is to facilitate collaboration and be a unified voice for the tri-county California Central Coast region, to preserve and improve a unique quality of life and to promote a healthy and prosperous environment

     

 

 

The Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval.

Green Label Plus for carpet and adhesives is an enhanced program that sets higher standard for carpets and rugs; and ensures that customers are purchasing the very lowest emitting products on the market. Using scientifically established standards, the Green Label Plus program symbolizes the carpet industry’s commitment to a better environment for living, working, learning and healing.

     
  Energy Star

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

When looking for a new home, look for one that has earned the ENERGY STAR. To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.

     
 

 FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED

Fair Trade U.S.A. ensures that farmers are treated and paid fairly.  The organization started certifying coffee in 1998 and now certifies more than 100 product categories. In 2009, the organization helped generate $48 million in additional income for farmers.

  • The Fair Trade Federation does not certify individual products, but instead evaluates an entire business.
  • The FTO Mark, launched in 2004 by World Fair Trade Organization, and identifies registered fair trade organizations.
  • UTZ CERTIFIED is a coffee certification program that has sometimes been dubbed "Fairtrade lite"
  • Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification is a direct trade alternative to the Fairtrade certification.
  • Whole Trade Guarantee, a purchasing initiative launched in 2007 by Whole Foods Market
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    Global Organic Textile Standard

    The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain of organic textiles and requires compliance with social criteria as well 

         
       

     Green-E Energy

    The Center for Resource Solutions, a national not-for-profit, started Green-e Energy in 1997 to certify renewable-energy utility programs.

    Consumers who know it:  21%

    Consumers who use it:  7%

    Green-e tracks each megawatt hour of renewable electricity.

         
      The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. In keeping with that mission, GEI certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a free resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments. 
         
       

    BUILD IT GREEN

    Build It Green is a membership supported non-profit organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient homes in California. Established in 2003, we offer a comprehensive package of local government support, professional training, collaboration forums, consumer education, and green product marketing to a range of stakeholders. Three strategic objectives guide our work:                                                     Drive policy development—we partner with government to establish  credible and accessible green building policies that promote private sector innovation and provide consistent guidelines statewide.                        Increase supply of green homes—we train building professionals on latest best practices and connect green product suppliers with consumers. Stimulate consumer demand—we build awareness of the benefits of green building by providing GreenPoint Rated as a trustworthy, recognized brand for green homes.

         
       

    Green Seal Certified

    Developing life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offer third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard. Green Seal has been actively identifying and promoting sustainability in the marketplace, and helping organizations be greener in a real and effective way since 1989.                                       Our Mission: Green Seal is a non-profit organization that uses science-based programs to empower consumers, purchasers and companies to create a more sustainable world. Our Vision:  A Green Economy. One that is as sustainable as possible--renewable, with minimal impact--so that our environment, all forms of life and our natural resources are protected and our social needs and values are honored.

         
       

     LEAPING BUNNY CERTIFIED

    The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics launched the Leaping Bunny Program in 1996 to help consumers choose products made without new animal testing.

    Products that say "not tested on animals" may refer only to the end product; Leaping Bunny Certified means that every ingredient is cruelty-free.

         
       

    level 

    level® is the multi-attribute, sustainability standard and third-party certification program for the furniture industry. It has been created to deliver the most open and transparent means of evaluating and communicating the environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment. Taking into account a company’s social actions, energy usage, material selection and human and ecosystem health impacts, level® addresses how a product is sustainable from multiple perspectives. Certified Products.  This searchable database feature allows the identification of all products presently level certified and includes information pertaining to each.

         
         

    LEED for Homes Certification Program

    LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes, including affordable housing, mass-production homes, custom designs, stand-alone single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, suburban and urban apartments and condominiums and lofts in historic buildings

         
       

    USDA ORGANIC

    The label launched in 2002 with the National Organic Program, both the result of 1990's Organic Foods Production Act.

    Like Energy Star, the government gives this label a trust boost.  it took 10 years to write the standards, and now third-party certifiers make sure that the tens of thousands of organic farmers nationwide adhere to them.

    ORGANICS DEFINED

    USDA organic food has been produced through approved methods "that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of  resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity."

    Organic food must be grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, drugs and hormones.  Meat and dairy  producers may not administer antibiotics to animals except for medical necessity.  Organic food cannot be irradiated or genetically engineered.

         

     

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    Links from YourEcoTeam.com are not endorsements or validation of any claims made by their hosts regarding "green" products or services. Each link is responsible for its own marketing. You are encouraged to report inconsistencies, 'greenwashing,' or false claims through our contact page.

     

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