There is a lot of "green" products in the market, they all claimed to be green, are they really "green"?
This is where green product certifications come in, what they do is to verify that a product meets specific standards. Green certifications offer a third-party validation, a way to determine a product meet environmental criteria specified in the standard of the certifying body. Obtaining a green certifications is voluntary process, hence green product certifications are showcases for manufacturers genuinely interested in being taken seriously by facility executives and consumers who want to purchase products with verified green claims.
Green certifications are a good indicator that specific environmental claims have been verified by a reputable authority. This really help purchaser who may not be a technical expert in any one area to buy a product with some level of confidence that it really has been tested, and the product really completes all the environmental issues expected. This also helps limit greenwash, i.e. manufacturers that use green as a hook to market products with little or no verification of their claims or others that emphasize the positive attributes while playing down less attractive attributes. Green Certifications help to bring consistency and ensure consumers really get what they want.
Some certifications are single-attribute, they only look at one particular criterion, like Energy Star, an energy consumption criterion certification. Other certifications look at several product characteristics that are known as multiple attribute certification. Some took a step further and examine a product's raw material, how it is manufactured, how it performs and what happens to it when it life is over. These are life cycle-based certifications. And there are certifications that also include performance standards as their criteria.
Good reputable certifying bodies develop their standards in an objective and consensus-based manner with a strong foundation of environmental science. Also their standards are open, transparent and easily accessible by the public, so the purchasers, without too much effort, should be able to identify what the specific criteria of the standard are and how the standard came into being. moreover, the standard should be stringent enough so that only the upper echelon of product in a certain product category can achieve the certification.
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a multiple-attribute certifications with life cycle based criteria and performance standard. Every two years, manufacturers must demonstrate good faith efforts to improve their products in order to have their products recertified.
EU ecoloabel is also a multiple-attribute certifications with life cycle based criteria and performance standard. it meets the ISO 14020 Type 1 requirements for ecolabels and EU Ecolabel criteria are developed and reviewed in cooperation of experts, industry, consumer organisations and environmental NGOs.
U.S. Green Seal, a nonprofit, third party organization that provides multiple-attribute certifications with life cycle based criteria and performance standard. They requires third party testing on standard and performance criteria, checking of manufacturing facility for quality control procedures and certified products are subject to annual recertification.
Canadian Environmental Choice program (Ecologo) are also a multiple-attribute certifications with life cycle based criteria and performance standard. Their standard is considered one of the most stringent in the world.
When green is a high priority, green certifications is valuable and important in the overall product selection process for facilities executives and consumers.