A great way to make sure that you’re buying eco friendly products is to look out for official certifications. You can use them to identify companies with sound environmental policies and avoid those at risk of greenwashing. They’re a really handy tool if you’re just getting started with eco friendly living.
Certifications are important because they help consumers to be armed with information about a product's environmental and social impact. By looking for certifications, you can make informed choices about the products you buy and choose options that align with your values.
Green certifications also encourage businesses to be more sustainable. They provide businesses with clear standards to aim for and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. By meeting these standards and obtaining certifications, businesses can stand out from their competitors and appeal to consumers who find eco friendly living important.
They also drive innovation, as they encourage businesses to develop new and innovative products and processes that are good for the environment. For example, the Energy Star certification has helped drive the development of more energy-efficient electronics, which has helped reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Lastly, they promote transparency and accountability. Certifications often involve third-party verification and auditing, which helps ensure that businesses are meeting the required standards. This promotes transparency and accountability and helps build trust between businesses and consumers.
So now that we’re all agreed that having eco friendly certifications is a positive thing, what are the main ones to look out for?
Eco Friendly Certifications
EU Energy Label
The Energy Label is required on a wide range of products sold in the European Union, as well as the UK. The label rates products on their energy efficiency. The most energy-efficient products are rated A, and the least efficient products are rated G. The label also includes a QR code that consumers can scan to access additional information about the product's energy efficiency and environmental impact.
It’s designed to help consumers choose more energy-efficient products and to encourage manufacturers to produce more energy-efficient products. It also provides a way for policymakers to track the energy efficiency of products across the EU and to set standards for energy efficiency.
The EU Energy Label is required on a wide range of products, particularly household appliances like fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and TVs. The label includes information about the product's energy consumption, as well as other useful information such as its noise level and capacity.
Energy Star is a certification program developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote energy efficiency in consumer products. Whilst it’s a US certification, the Energy Star label is recognised worldwide as a symbol of energy efficiency and is used by manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to identify products that are more energy-efficient than standard models. You might spot it on consumer electronics like laptops, TVs and printers.
GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard. It is a certification program for textiles made from organic fibres, such as cotton or wool. The standard was developed to ensure that textiles are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, from the harvesting of the raw materials to the labelling and packaging of the finished product.
The GOTS certification covers every stage of textile production, including the use of environmentally friendly dyes and chemicals, the treatment of wastewater, and the working conditions of the people involved in production. The certification also prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and certain hazardous chemicals, such as formaldehyde and heavy metals.
The GOTS certification is recognized worldwide and is considered to be one of the most rigorous textile certifications. It is used by textile producers, brands, and retailers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to provide consumers with a way to identify organic and sustainable textiles.
The FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council, is an international non-profit organisation that promotes the responsible management of the world's forests. The FSC provides a certification system that ensures that forest products are produced in an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible way.
The FSC certification system provides a way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to responsible forest management and to help consumers identify products that have been produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner.
The FSC certification system covers a wide range of forest products, including timber and non-timber forest products such as paper, packaging, and furniture. To receive FSC certification, forest management practices must meet strict environmental and social standards that are established by the FSC.
The FSC also promotes responsible forest management through its Chain of Custody certification system, which tracks the flow of FSC-certified products from the forest to the final product. The Chain of Custody system ensures that FSC-certified products are not mixed with non-certified products and that the FSC logo is only used on products that meet the FSC's strict standards. You’ll find the FSC logo on wood and paper products, from furniture to toys, books and notepaper.
The Soil Association Certified Organic
The Soil Association is a UK-based charity that promotes organic farming and sustainable land use practices. It’s the largest certification body for organic food and farming in the UK. They operate a certification program that covers a wide range of products, including food, textiles, health and beauty products, and farming services. The certification process involves a rigorous set of standards and criteria that products must meet to be certified as organic.
The Soil Association's standards for organic farming require that farmers use natural and sustainable methods to manage soil fertility, pests, and diseases. Organic farmers must also avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In addition to its certification program, the Soil Association also promotes sustainable land use practices and works to raise awareness about the benefits of organic farming. The organisation provides training and support to farmers who want to transition to organic farming, and it also provides education and information to consumers about the benefits of organic food and products.
By choosing products that are certified by the Soil Association, consumers can be assured that the products they are buying have been produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. Organic farming practices can help reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment, promote biodiversity, and support local communities.
The Leaping Bunny certification is a globally recognised certification program for cruelty-free products. It’s awarded by Cruelty Free International, a leading animal protection organisation that works to end animal testing for cosmetic and other consumer products.
In order to achieve certification, companies are required to meet strict criteria to demonstrate that their products are not tested on animals. The certification covers all aspects of a company's production process, including ingredients sourcing, formulation, and finished product testing.
Not only must a company demonstrate that it doesn’t conduct, commission, or allow animal testing on its products or ingredients, it must also implement a monitoring system to ensure that its suppliers and third-party manufacturers comply with the same standards.
The Leaping Bunny certification is recognized by major animal protection organisations worldwide, including the Humane Society of the United States and the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments. Consumers can look for the Leaping Bunny logo on products to identify products that are cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
By choosing products that are certified by the Leaping Bunny program, consumers can make a conscious choice to support companies that prioritise animal welfare and ethical production practices.
Overall, certifications play an important role in promoting sustainability and helping consumers make informed choices about the products they buy. They also provide businesses with clear standards to aim for and help drive innovation and continuous improvement. Simply put, they’re a great tool to help us reduce our impact on the environment.