WHAT DO THESE EVEN MEAN?
Click on one or scroll down to find out.
CRADLE TO CRADLE
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. To receive certification, products are assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. . A product is assigned an achievement level (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) for each category, with the lowest achievement category representing their overall certification level.
The USDA-certified organic food label ensures that organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. The National Organic Program (NOP) is a sub-group of the USDA. It develops the rules and regulations for production, handling, labeling, and enforcement of all USDA organic products. The regulations specify that at least 70% of product ingredients are organic and the other 30% come from non-prohibited practices (like GMOs). By becoming
USDA-certified organic, companies gain access to a new market of consumers who want food that has not been exposed to antibiotics or pesticides.
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation created Better Bee to promote pollinator conservation on farms and ranch lands. The rigorous production standards for this certification are divided into four categories:
Pollinator habitat- ensures the habitats are protected and meet the minimum amount of size and plant diversity
Pesticide migration- tracks the use of pesticides around the habitat(s)
Managed bumble bees- ensures bees are being used in the correct manner.
Record keeping- provides evidence of conservation.
The Better Bee seal guarantees consumers that their food products are benefitting pollinators.
SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) advances the production, procurement, finance and use of sustainable palm oil products. It develops, implements, verifies, assures and periodically reviews credible global standards for the entire supply chain of sustainable palm oil. Also, RSPO monitors and evaluates the economic, environmental and social impacts of the uptake of sustainable palm oil in the market. Lastly, RSPO engages and commits all stakeholders throughout the supply chain, including governments and consumers. There are eight principles that Roundtable on Sustainable
Palm Oil uses:
Commitment to transparency
Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
Responsible development of new plantings
Commitment to improvement.
Manufacturers and retailers partnering with RSPO-certified producers can negotiate prices and give manufacturers additional traceability to its palm oil.
CERTIFIED B CORPORATION
Certified B Corporations are any businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corporations are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Corporations that meet these standards are scored every few years on their environmental impact, charitable giving, and treatment of their employees, including wages and benefits. This certification not only benefits the corporation but shows consumers the company is acting in their best interest.
GREEN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) awards certifications based on: reduction of water and energy use in products and manufacturing, ingredient and product safety, reduction in packaging, and the brand's corporate social responsibility. Items like cleaning and beauty products, paints and coatings, appliances and electronics, textiles, building products, and food and beverages are all eligible for certification. The seal was developed to help consumers have an easier time sifting through the multitude of products that claim to be “green.”
WILDLIFE FRIENDLY CERTIFIED
Wildlife Friendly Certified farm and ranch lands adapt their management in response to changing conditions to allow wildlife and livestock to coexist. This protects endangered wildlife across the globe. Products cultivated on these farms and ranches are eligible to bear the Wildlife Friendly seal. This prestigious seal gives consumers reassurance that their products are being grown without destroying current habitats or contributing to extinction or endangerment of animals.
In order for a farm or ranch land to be certified it must:
1. Have native wildlife present
2. Provide useable habitat for native wildlife
3. Have key species protected
4. Management practices must be used to protect native animals and their
5. Producers should be educated about local wildlife and ecosystems
6. Animals (both those being raised and those that are native) must be treated humanely
7. Maintain grasslands and forests
Compostable or biodegradable certification is based on scientific standards that identify products that are truly compostable. The process of certification is based on American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) test methods and specifications, similar to European ones currently being used. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) uses three steps:
Educate customers or generators, municipalities, and composters of the benefits and availability of products and packaging certified to meet the ASTM standards
Testing methods meet requirements in ASTM D6400 or D6868, as well as research from suppliers, composters and academia around the world
Alliances with other organizations to further the best practices for use and recovery of compostable materials.
PCO 100% GRASSFED CERTIFIED
The PCO 100% Grassfed certification program was created to verify food products that are sourced from pastures. It applies to producers of ruminant livestock and handlers of meat/dairy products that are derived from ruminant livestock. The operations that produce livestock or associated products seek the certification. They must be certified or applying for organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program to even apply for the PCO 100% Grassfed Certification. The seal shows consumers the quality of the products they are purchasing.
CERTIFIED CARBON NEUTRAL
The Carbon Neutral Protocol was created and is managed by Natural Capital Partners.
We were the first to provide a clear set of guidelines for businesses to achieve carbon neutrality back in 2002, and every year since then we’ve continued our commitment to providing a robust framework for credible carbon neutral action.
The CarbonNeutral Protocol gives businesses a rigorous and transparent framework to deliver carbon neutrality for their business, products and/or activities with five clear steps: DEFINE what your emissions are; MEASURE your emissions types, sizes, and locations; TARGET commit to a target of net zero emissions; REDUCE your internal emissions and work toward your target; and COMMUNICATE your actions to stakeholders.
The Protocol is a publicly available document, so companies can reference it to demonstrate the credibility of their carbon neutral program. These companies reap the rewards of increased revenue, reduced costs, engaging stakeholders and reduced risks. For some, the most significant reason to become a certified CarbonNeutral® company is to be regarded as an innovative climate leader.
Well Building is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mental wellness. Companies use the classification under the Green Building Movement to advertise how clean their businesses are to consumers. It is required for companies to provide letters of assurance from the architects, contractors, building owners and mechanical electrical and plumbing to confirm the policies and inspections in place.
ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED
This program is a non-profit energy efficiency organization run by the Environmental Protection Agency.
ENERGY STAR products must meet the following qualifications:
1. Must contribute significant energy savings nationwide
2. Must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers
3. Energy efficiency is able to be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer
4. Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing
Being ENERGY STAR certified shows consumers which products are environmentally-friendly. Certified businesses are worth more economically, in terms of variables like rent and sale prices of the products.
The Rainforest Alliance (RA) is a non-profit organization that certifies sustainable agricultural operations. Specifically, these operations are: sustainable, promote strong communities, and minimize human impacts on the environment. Different types of farmers, foresters, and companies in the tourism industry can use the certification for marketing support, environmental assessments, as well as advertising with the RA seal. Effective planning and management, biodiversity conservation, natural resource conservation, improved livelihoods, human well-being, and sustainable cattle production can all be considered for the RA seal.
SMITHSONIAN BIRD FRIENDLY
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute’s certification seeks to preserve bird habitat and biodiversity in coffee plantations. To be considered, coffee plantation owners must:
Have a minimum canopy height with native trees
Have a minimum 40% foliage coverage
Have floristic and structural diversity
Have buffer zones
Have a current USDA Organic certification.
Plantations gain access to market price premiums through this certification. It also increases the biodiversity and the health of their plantations, which allows them to produce a higher quality product.
GREEN GLOBE CERTIFIED
Green Globe is a certification for sustainable tourism. Companies and organizations should seek this certification if they are committed to making positive contributions to the planet and its people. Green Globe-certified offers cost savings, connection to consumers who expect verified green credentials, better risk management, savings for energy and water resources, and a positive contribution to local communities.