Gallery: ECO LABELS 101: Green Certifications Explained!

CERTIFIED HUMANE RAISED AND HANDLED: Products raised with this label meet the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) program standards, which include nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors. Cages, crates, tie stalls are strictly forbidden. Slaughter is audited based on the American Meat Institute (AMI) guidelines. HFAC’s third-party inspectors verify each site annually.

FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED – Fair Trade certification is overseen by FLO International (Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International) and overseen by TransFair USA in the United States. It validates ethical practices for producers and handlers a growing range of products, including bananas, honey, oranges, cocoa, coffee, shortbread, cotton, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, nuts and oil seeds, quinoa, rice, spices, sugar, tea and wine.

CERTIFIED VERIFLORA SUSTAINABLY GROWN - Veriflora certifies sustainably-grown cut flowers and potted plants. It assesses crop production, ecosystem management, resource conservation, energy efficiency, waste management, fair labor, community benefits, product quality, safety, and purity.

ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED - The Animal Welfare Approved label guarantees consumers that animals were raised outdoors. Approved by the USDA, this food label is given to family farmers practicing high-welfare husbandry outdoors on pastures or ranges. The World Society for the Protection Animals has rated these standards “most stringent” for two years running.

WHOLE TRADE GUARANTEE - The Whole Foods grocery retailer gives this label to products that meet their standards for ethical trade, environmental impact, and quality.

USDA ORGANIC - In accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the National Organic Program (NOP) housed within the USDA set criteria for the processing and handling of food. Some of these standards include the absence of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The NOP provides a worksheet to help define all of the variables in their organic labeling.

FSC CERTIFIED (Forest Stewardship Council) – This certification accredits forest managers, manufacturing companies, and controlled wood products that exhibit responsible consumption of forest products. FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and the certification is completely voluntary.

SCS CERTIFIED calCOMPLIANT – Specifically focused on composite wood products, this label verifies that standards set by the California Air Resources Board are being met. Compliance requires that the producers or plywood, particleboard, MDF, and other composite products meet the limits for formaldehyde emissions.

RAINFOREST ALLIANCE CERTIFIED – This certification body has a variety of verification services for wood products under their SmartWood program. This program includes the FSC Certification standard, but has other specific compliance categories that concern supply chains, carbon validation, reclaimed and recycled wood, and logging.

PROCESSED CHLORINE FREE & TOTALLY CHLORINE FREE – These accreditations from the not-for-profit Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA) are meant to distinguish paper products that do not use chlorine or chlorine compounds in the processing. Chlorine-free processing can aid in keeping rivers and water supplies clean. The Processed Chlorine Free label is reserved for recycled content paper with at least 30% post consumer content.


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  1. Inhabitat Tours the Inc... September 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    [...] Healthy Home 2010 kitchen is equipped with Energy Star and Water Sense certified fixtures and appliances, including a Miele induction range and separate steam oven, which [...]

  2. lea bogdan July 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Hi All! Lea Here. An update to my post. I just found a very extensive eco-label database that you might be interested in.

  3. WNYC Gets LEED Gold for... June 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    [...] the live taping of WNYC’s shows, and it keeps sustainability in mind from the ground up. With FSC-certified wood, low-VOC finishes, recycled drywall, and a bike room with showers, the Greene Space is just about [...]

  4. cglennon April 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Great information, but useless. Why useless? Because consumers do not want to leave an ecommerce website to research the latest and greatest certification. Consumers want the information at the point of sale, blog post or wherever the products is features. No PDF or single website will solve this. Why? Because consumers want more than just an explanation. They want a relationship with the manufactures; how ways the product manufactured, is it sustainable, why did you choose this green certification? The solutions will come when manufactures start to leverage marketing platforms that deliver information consumers want, where they want it and when they want it. That includes social media. Don\’t me consumers go to Twitter, Youtube and blogs. Bring that information to them!

    Chris Glennon
    SmartSymbols Marketing Platform

  5. Abby from the Rainfores... April 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Very helpful post! I work for the Rainforest Alliance and just wanted to share that in addition to work in forestry (which is how we started) we also have a very prominent sustainable agriculture program. You can find the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on coffee, tea, cocoa, bananas and more.

  6. JL grillo April 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    This is an amazing posting INHABITAT!

    I think you should consider making it a PDF and distributing it through websites like FMLink or IFMA. There are many people in the Facility Management field who would greatly benefit from a synopsis of this information.

    Thank you for collecting and organizing this information.

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