Gallery: IS IT GREEN?: Eco-Labels and Certifications


We all know it: Green is the new black. One of the many manifestations of the environmentalist trend/movement is that labels and certifications designed for the environmentally-conscious consumer have been proliferating like mad. Even if you’re savvy enough to know about LEED and FSC, there are dozens of lesser-known eco-labels. It’s hard to derive information from a label you’ve never seen before, but you may be able to figure out which category of label you’re looking at – government, proprietary, or independent agency. I’m taking this week’s Is It Green to blitz through some of these and give a little context to those logos.

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  1. net_efekt September 8, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Have just read Cradle to Cradle – and think it is a must-read. It shows that business can be profitable – yet save the planet.

  2. sephari March 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    This post was very helpful to me in finding good info on the web about green and organic. We sell green and organic things from developing countries, and people often express to us they are worried about the distance it has to travel (and the gas that is consumed). Perhaps a blog or some suggested sites on that would be very helpful too.
    Thank you,

  3. Jorge Chapa December 7, 2008 at 2:32 am

    This is where I have to also mention Green Star and BREEAM. We tend to focus a lot on LEED ratings as the only measure of green buildings. These other two are also extremely relevant to the built environment, and both of them being their own mature systems. BREEAM is the granddaddy of all the building rating systems and has been in use mainly in England for more than 15 years. Green Star is the Australian rating system which has been running for 5 years and has been successfully deployed in South Africa and New Zealand as well. All three systems, LEED, BREEAM and Green Star are a good method for measuring the performance of green buildings.
    For more info, see and

    Why yes, I have to plug what I do on my daytime work hours :)

  4. kathcasey December 5, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    There’s a new, independent label: ecobly. This is a label that describes products that are made with sustainable materials that are sourced locally, many of them are 100% recycled. No Imports! No offshoring! All made in the US with green materials that are found within their region.

    Check out Try a 100-mile holiday! Buy all your gifts within your region, made with local materials — a very sustainable HO HO HO!


  5. Ben C December 5, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Cradle to Cradle is an awesome book. I did’nt know they had started a labeling program. A friend of mine is working them to help cities restructure the way subdivisions are built for maximum efficiency. I recommend that book to everyone. It is the future.
    Ben C

  6. Milieunet December 5, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Here you can find the official Cradle to Cradle label:

  7. Lloyd Alter December 4, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    you make the point about green label plus that “indoor air quality is a small component of the environmentally sound life.” You can say the same thing about energy star, which grants the label if a product used 20% less energy but doesn’t care how it is done. In houses, the best way is to seal them up tight, but they do not demand fresh air or a heat recovery ventilator, so making a house energy star can in fact make it toxic. There is a lot more to green than just energy.

  8. Mike Chino December 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Hi CWilson,
    Thanks for calling attention to this important point! We’ve updated our post to reflect this information.


  9. CWilson December 4, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    USGBC and LEED are NOT government agencies, one of the major faults with LEED is that people think that it is some sort of government stamp when it is just an independent agency. This in no way discredits the influence, importance, or message of LEED, but should be recognized by anyone involved in building under LEED standards.

    From the USGBC website:
    “The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation.”

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