Learn more about trusted third-party ecolabels and certifications for sustainable goods and services.
B-Corp Businesses in Oregon have the ability to become certified as a Certified B Corporation, a certification that proves that your business is dedicated to using its unique business position to help solve social and environmental problems. ANY type of business can be certified if they qualify for this important and significant designation. To find out more about the qualification process, visit B Lab, the non-profit behind the certification, to take the challenge.
BIFMA ( Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) BIFMA is a not-for-profit organization that develops voluntary product and industry standards that support safe, healthy and sustainable environments; publish key industry statistics; advocate for legislation and government regulation that has a direct impact on the health of the industry; and facilitate meaningful dialog and education to support core services and the industry they serve.
The Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA) is an independent not-for-profit accreditation and standard setting organization. Their focus is promoting sustainable manufacturing practices, implementing advanced technologies free of chlorine chemistry, educating consumers on alternatives, and developing world markets for sustainability produced third party certified products and services. The CFPA has no financial interest in any manufacturer, company, of the products it certifies.
Cradle to CradleSM Certification provides a company with a means to demonstrate efforts in eco-intelligent design. Cradle to CradleSM Certification is a third-party sustainability label that requires achievement in multiple areas: * use materials that are safe for human health and the environment across their life cycles * product and system design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting * use of renewable energy * efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production * company strategies for social responsibility. Cradle to CradleSM certification is a four-tiered approach consisting of Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels. This certification program applies to materials, sub-assemblies and finished products.
EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) works in partnership with industry, environmental groups, and academia to reduce risk to people and the environment by finding ways to prevent pollution. For more than 15 years, through partnership projects, DfE has evaluated human health and environmental concerns associated with traditional and alternative chemicals and processes in a range of industries. These analyses have empowered hundreds of businesses to select safer chemicals and technologies. DfE focuses on industries that combine the potential for chemical risk reduction with a strong motivation to make lasting, positive changes.
Ecolabel Index - General database of ecolabels
Global directory of ecolabels. Provides a database of ecolabels that you can browse by county and product/industry sector. This tool can help identify legitimate labels and certification standards.
EcoLogo - Goods and services
EcoLogo provides customers – public, corporate and consumer – with assurance that the products and services bearing the logo meet stringent standards of environmental leadership. With THOUSANDS of EcoLogo Certified products, EcoLogo certifies environmental leaders covering a large variety of categories, helping you find and trust the world’s most sustainable products.
EcoWise - Prevention based pest control
EcoWise Certified practitioners employ a variety of common sense techniques to control pests effectively, minimizing the need to use pesticides. Pests are denied food, water, shelter and access to your home or facility, providing lasting control.
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. There is a section for finding products for business and government use that focused on commercial products that we are more likely to use and includes:
- Building products (roof products, windows, doors, skylights)
- Commercial Appliances (Commercial washers, vending machines, coolers)
- Commercial Food Service Equipment (Dishwashers, fryers, griddles, ice machines)
- Computers and Electronics (Audio/Video, battery chargers, computers, monitors, servers, TVs)
- Heating and Cooling (AC, boilers, fans, heat pumps)
- Lighting (Commercial LED lighting, CFLs, light fixtures, LED bulbs)
- Plumbing (Water heaters: gas, solar, high efficiency)
EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) - Computers and Electronics
Products registered in EPEAT must meet 23 required environmental performance criteria. They are then rated Gold, Silver or Bronze based on the percentage of 28 optional criteria they meet. Products are registered by country so you can see their registration details for wherever you buy products. EPEAT operates an ongoing verification program to assure the accuracy of the registry
Forest Stewardship Council - product search: wood products, paper, board
As a multi-stakeholder organization, FSC applies the directive of its membership to develop forest management and chain of custody standards, deliver trademark assurance and provide accreditation services to a global network of committed businesses, organizations and communities. FSC certification provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.
Green-e is an independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green-e offers certification and verification of renewable energy and greenhouse gas mitigation products.
GreenGuard - Healthy Indoor Environments
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments. All certified products must meet stringent chemical emissions standards based on established criteria from key public health agencies.
Green Seal - Goods and Services
Develops life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offers third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard. Areas of certification include:
- Household products
- Construction Materials
- Paints and Coatings
- Printing and Writing Paper
- Paper Towels, Napkins and Tissue Paper
An independent, non-profit certification program that promotes practitioners of effective, prevention-based pest control while minimizing the need to use pesticides. Evaluates and certifies both pest control professionals and buildings and facilities that meet high standards of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Green Shield Certified professionals use advanced pest management practices to provide lasting, effective pest control. Green Shield Certified's standards offer the assurance of proven, effective pest control methods conducted by knowledgeable professionals.
Just a social justice label
The International Living Future Institute’s™ JUST™ program is a voluntary disclosure program and tool for all types and sizes of organizations. JUST is, quite simply, a call to social justice action.
It is not a verification or certification program. Rather, the program provides an innovative transparency platform for organizations to reveal much about their operations, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments.
LEED rating system for buildings
LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
There are currently nine LEED rating systems
- New Construction
- Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance
- Commercial Interiors
- Core and Shell
- Neighborhood Development
The Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) require that all businesses buying, trading, or mixing products from certified farms must achieve SAN/Rainforest Alliance Chain-of-Custody certification in order to call their product Rainforest Alliance Certified. The comprehensive farm management standards and traceability system help ensure that certified ingredients and products bearing our little green frog seal can be traced back to well-managed farms or farm groups that protect workers, wildlife and communities.
RoHS (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances) - Electrical and Electronic Equipment
These EU Regulations implement EU Directive 2002/95 which bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
As the U.S does not have a similar regulation this site can provide guidelines for specifying acceptable levels of these substances in products that we wish to buy.
Skin Deep: Skin Deep focuses specifically on personal care products including makeup, deodorants, soaps and shampoos, and baby products. Scientists at the Environmental Working Group review the ingredients listed on the labels of various products and apply a rating system with confidence intervals based on availability of data on the hazards of specific compounds. You can look up a product in their database or browse through a variety of categories for information on toxicity and health concerns.
Salmon-Safe is an Oregon-based nonprofit that certifies urban and agricultural operations based on the protection of water quality and native biodiversity. Founded by a leading U.S. river and native fish conservation organization, Salmon-Safe has certified more than 350 West Coast farms, vineyards, dairies, corporate campuses, and other sites based on riparian habitat protection, elimination of chemical pesticides harmful to fish, restoration of wetlands, reducing run-off into streams, and other conservation practices.
The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) rates building products, lighting, fabrics, apparel, textiles and flooring. Its SMARTstandard reflects a manufacturer’s success in reducing more than 1300 pollutants; in using renewable energy as well as post-consumer recycled or organic materials; and in reusing materials to save energy, water, and other resources. Through this “life cycle assessment,” SMART encourages industries to achieve ambitious environmental goals that benefit society and the economy, too.
SmartWay - Transportation
In its simplest form, the SmartWay brand identifies products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. However, the impact of the brand is much greater as the SmartWay brand signifies a partnership among government, business and consumers to protect our environment, reduce fuel.
TCO Certified is the global, independent sustainability certification for IT products. Using TCO Certified in IT hardware procurement helps purchasers identify products that are verified to meet leading environmental and supply chain responsibility criteria. Compliance is independently verified in accordance with ISO 14024.
WaterSense - Buildings | Electronics | Retail Goods |
Launched in 2006, WaterSense is an EPA-sponsored partnership program that seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices. WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and utilities to bring WaterSense labeled products to the marketplace and make it easy to purchase high-performing, water-efficient products.
WaterSense also partners with irrigation professionals and irrigation certification programs to promote water-efficient landscape irrigation practices.
Third-Party Certifications: third-party certification means that an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has independently determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance. These labels don’t certify a product’s sustainability or quality overall, but are a good indicator that specific environmental claims have been verified. Green Seal, GreenGuard, and EPEAT are all examples of health and sustainability focused third-party certifications.
Veriflora: Veriflora is a certification program used in the flori- and horticultural industries. It applies standards based on resource conservation, sustainable crop production, and fair labor practices, among others. You can search for retailers by product or location on their website.
The Made in USA mark is a country of origin label indicating the product is "all or virtually all" made in the United States. The label is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).In general, goods imported into the United States must have a country of origin label unless excepted, but goods manufactured in the United States can be sold without any sort of "Made in the USA" label unless explicitly required. Requirements to label domestic content include automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products. Any voluntary claims made about the amount of U.S. content in other products must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy.
A Made in USA claim can be expressed (for example, "American-made") or implied. In identifying implied claims, the Commission focuses on the overall impression of the advertising, label, or promotional material. Depending on the context, U.S. symbols or geographic references (for example, U.S. flags, outlines of U.S. maps, or references to U.S. locations of headquarters or factories) may convey a claim of U.S. origin either by themselves, or in conjunction with other phrases or images.
Please note Assembled in the U.S.A. means that a product includes foreign made components that were shipped to the U.S.A. for assembly. For the "assembly" claim to be valid, the product's "last substantial transformation" also should have occurred in the U.S.A.
For more information please visit the following websites:
Federal Trade Commission
For a product directory go to Americans Working.org.
If you would like more information please contact your Sustainable Purchasing Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org/503-988-7995.