What are Ecolabels and Green Certification Programs?

Eco-labels are often affixed to products by manufacturers to indicate to customers that the products meet certain standards for a green certification program. These standards can be developed by private entities, by public agencies under their authorities, or jointly by stakeholders and experts from the public and private sectors.  Some certification programs are self-certifying, some require a “third party” to document that standards were met, and some are non-third party labeling programs (e.g, Design for the Environment (DFE)). A few of the most widely used certifying organizations employed by the Commonwealth include:

Self-Certification:
Independent, Third Party Certification:

 

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Benefits of Eco-Labeling

Certification programs help to differentiate your product or service as environmentally preferable. It allows you to include a logo or "ecolabel" on your product's label and other marketing materials. Ecolabeling is an effective tool to market your product to green consumers and is one Commonwealth identification method for certain products for state contract. However, be careful of false or misleading uses of environmental terms in product advertising and labeling (sometimes referred to as green washing). Environmental marketing claims are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission's Guides to the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides). The Green Guides apply to all forms of product and service marketing to the public, including advertisements, labels, package inserts, promotional materials, and electronic media.

Resources

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council: A national non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future, is working to develop guidance to organize eco-labeling.

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