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Certifications to Look Out for When Purchasing Your Next Sustainable Product: What They Stand for

by Gayatri Varun on May 24, 2023

Certifications to Look Out for When Purchasing Your Next Sustainable Product: What They Stand for

In our modern world, consumers  are growing increasingly conscious of the effects their decisions have on the natural environment. This leads many to seek out eco-friendly products to shrink their carbon footprint and help pave the way for a cleaner future for our planet.

However, with a vast array of products available, determining those in line with your values can be quite the challenge. One reliable method is checking for certifications and accreditations on the products.

Certifications and labels serve as indicators that a product meets certain standards and have gone through tests that qualify them to be good for the consumer with the least impact on the natural ecosystem. It is wise to familiarize yourself with these certifications before purchasing something like a handbag or any other item.

The benefits of sustainable products for our planet:

Sustainable products have captured the hearts of many, thanks to their remarkably low to negligible impact on the environment. By reducing the dependency on single-use plastic bags, they minimize the amount of plastic waste ending up in landfills and our oceans.

Eco-conscious bags, such as those made from upcycled materials or organic cotton, require fewer resources during their production. One can make a positive difference by selecting sustainable products such as handbags and travel accessories from sustainable brands like Green Hermitage – reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more flourishing planet.

How to make sure your purchases align with your values?

When shopping for sustainable products, it's essential to clearly understand what you're looking for. Start by identifying your values and what's most important to you.

Do you care about reducing waste, supporting ethical labour practices, or using renewable energy sources? Once you have a clear idea of your priorities, you can search for products that align with those values.

Understanding certification labels on sustainable products:

There is a way to identify sustainable products, look for certification labels. These labels indicate that a product has met certain standards and has been independently verified by a third-party organization.

While the specific criteria for each certification may vary, they all aim to ensure that products are environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

The most common certifications to look out for:

In general, there are roughly eight categories of labels for sustainable certifications. 

These are: 

(i) General/other, 

(ii) Animal welfare, 

(iii) Better textiles, 

(iv) Organic, 

(v) Climate neutrality, 

(vi) Fair to folk, 

(vii) Oceans, and 

(viii) Packaging. 

All the categories have multiple certifications. Let’s discuss those briefly.

 

  • General/Other:

icon  EU Ecolabel:


The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary certification scheme that aims to identify products and services with a lower environmental impact than similar products and services. It is awarded to products and services that meet strict environmental and performance criteria set by the European Union.

  B Corporation:


B Corporations are for-profit companies that are certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

These companies are dedicated to using their business as a force for good and are committed to creating positive impacts on their workers, communities, and the environment.

  Better Cotton Initiative (BCI):

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global non-profit organization that promotes sustainable cotton production. This initiative also focuses on reducing the use of harmful chemicals and improving working conditions.

  Rainforest Alliance:

It’s an international non-profit organization that works to conserve biodiversity. They ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behaviour. The organization is known for its certification program. It verifies that products have been sourced sustainably from farms, forests, and other ecosystems.


  Cradle To Cradle Certified:

It is a holistic and rigorous sustainability certification program that evaluates products and materials based on their impact on people and the environment. The certification assesses products based on five categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Achieving Cradle to Cradle certification indicates that a product is designed with sustainability in mind, from the materials used to the production process and beyond.

 

  Animal Welfare:

 Leaping Bunny:

Leaping Bunny is a cruelty-free certification program that helps consumers identify products that have not been tested on animals. The program requires companies to meet strict standards to ensure that their products are free from animal testing at all stages of production. By looking for the Leaping Bunny logo on products, consumers can make a conscious choice to support brands that are committed to ethical and humane practices.

Certified Vegan:

Certified Vegan products are those that have been verified by a third-party organization to not contain any animal-derived ingredients or be tested on animals. This certification is becoming increasingly popular.

More people choosing this to adopt a vegan lifestyle or reduce their impact on the environment. By looking for the Certified Vegan label on products, consumers can feel confident that they are making an ethical and sustainable choice.

The Vegan Trademark:

The Vegan Trademark is a globally recognized symbol for products that are free from animal products and animal testing. It assures consumers that the product has been thoroughly checked and meets the strict vegan standards set by The Vegan Society.

Whether you're a strict vegan or simply looking to reduce your impact on the environment, The Vegan Trademark is an easy way to identify products that align with your values.

  PETA-Approved Vegan:

PETA-Approved Vegan is a certification given by PETA to fashion, beauty, and homeware brands that are 100% vegan. This certification assures consumers that the products they're purchasing are not made from animal products and were not tested on animals.

By choosing products that are PETA-Approved Vegan, consumers can feel confident that they're making a compassionate and ethical choice for animals.

Better textiles:

  OEKO-TEX:

OEKO-TEX is a groundbreaking technology designed to shield against harmful substances and microorganisms. Engineered to repel liquids, resist staining, and prevent bacterial and viral growth, OEKO-TEX offers peace of mind for items such as clothing, upholstery, and various other surfaces.

  Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS):

As a premier certification for organic textiles, GOTS encompasses all production stages from fiber to final product. Compliant textiles are manufactured using organic materials devoid of harmful chemicals while adhering to ethical, environmentally-friendly practices. This globally recognized certification instills confidence in consumers seeking genuinely organic and sustainable goods.

It also ensures that the production is socially responsible and environmentally friendly. This certification is recognized worldwide and provides consumers with the confidence that they are buying truly organic and sustainable products.

  GRS (Global Recycled Standard):

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certifies that products employ recycled materials while upholding specific environmental and social standards. GRS validation confirms the composition and content of recycled materials in an item and attests to adherence to ethical, sustainable principles throughout the supply chain. Consumers opting for GRS-labeled goods can take pride in their eco-conscious choices.

Organic:

  USDA Organic:

The USDA Organic certification ensures that products are made without the use of harmful chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The certification also requires that products are made with at least 95% organic ingredients.

  EU Organic Logo:

The EU organic logo is a familiar sight on organic food products across Europe. It is a symbol of the high standards that organic farmers and producers must meet to gain certification.

The logo guarantees that the product has been made with respect for the environment, animal welfare, and human health. If you see the EU organic logo on a product, you can be sure that it meets strict regulations and has been independently certified as organic.

  Climate Neutrality:

Climate Neutral:

Climate Neutral is a certification program that helps businesses measure, offset, and reduce their carbon emissions. By partnering with Climate Neutral, companies can take concrete steps towards sustainability and address the urgent need to combat climate change.

Consumers can also support sustainable practices by choosing to purchase from Climate Neutral certified brands. Join the movement towards a more sustainable future with Climate Neutral.

  Climate Partner:

It is a leading provider of climate action solutions. They help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and achieve climate neutrality. With their expertise in carbon offsetting, they enable companies to offset their unavoidable emissions by supporting certified climate projects worldwide.

Climate Partner also provides software solutions for carbon footprint and sustainability reporting. Partnering with them can help businesses take meaningful action towards a sustainable future and show their commitment to climate protection.

Carbon Credit Gold Standard

Gold Standard sets the standard for climate and development interventions to quantify, certify and maximise their impact – creating value for people around the world

Fair to Folk:

  Fair Trade:

Fair Trade represents a social movement determined to create enhanced trading conditions for producers in developing nations. By advocating for fair compensation, improved working conditions, and eco-friendly production methods, you too can foster these values by choosing Fair Trade products, contributing to the reduction of global poverty. Independent organizations typically certify such products to ensure adherence to Fair Trade principles.

Popular options include coffee, chocolate, and apparel. By supporting Fair Trade, we can collectively produce a positive global impact and establish a more balanced worldwide economy.

Fair for Life:

Acting as a social and fair trade certification initiative, Fair for Life guarantees the ethical treatment of laborers, farmers, and entire communities. The program also encourages eco-conscious practices and responsible sourcing. With an array of Fair for Life certified items such as food items, cosmetics, and textiles, consumers are empowered to promote social accountability paired with environmental preservation.

  WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization):

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) operates as an international community of fair trade organizations with common objectives – fostering fair employment conditions, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and equitable prices for producers in developing countries. WFTO also commits to certifying and assisting fair trade enterprises.

SA8000:

The SA8000 social accountability standard champions ethical and fair workplace environments focusing on areas such as child labor, forced labor, and discrimination avoidance. To become SA8000 certified, companies must adhere to these guidelines while submitting to audits. This certification demonstrates their dedication to social responsibility.

Oceans:

  Marine Stewardship Council (MSC):

A global non-profit entity, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) strives to promote eco-friendly fishing procedures around the world. Setting benchmarks for sustainable fishing while granting certifications to fisheries that comply has made the MSC label a symbol of assurance for consumers that their seafood originates from sustainable sources.

Packaging:

  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organization promoting responsible forest management. FSC-certified products are environmentally and socially responsible.

  Compostability Label by European Bioplastics:

European Bioplastics' compostability label indicates that a product will break down into natural elements within a specific timeframe. It ensures that products can be composted in industrial facilities without harming the environment. The label also guarantees the absence of harmful substances and microplastics in the product.

OK Compost:

OK Compost is a certification program that ensures compostable products break down in a commercial composting facility. It's a global standard that promotes sustainable waste management practices.

Compostable products marked with the OK Compost logo can be safely composted and turned into nutrient-rich soil for plants. Choosing OK Compost labelled products can lower waste and benefit our nature.


Other certifications:

  Blue Sign:

 The bluesign standard is a globally recognized seal, ensuring that products uphold environmental, health, and safety standards without sacrificing functionality, quality, or design. By embracing bluesign, both you and your suppliers demonstrate dedication to sustainable practices.

  ISO:

Achieving ISO certification signifies that a company operates according to international standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This seal of approval is granted by a third-party organization and assures customers of a company's commitment to excellence.

  Eco Mark:

An Eco Mark on a product symbolizes its environmentally friendly nature. When paired with an ISI mark, it indicates that the item adheres to both the environmental criteria and the quality requirements outlined in the relevant Indian Standards.


Our certifications:

As Green Hermitage offers eco-friendly and sustainable products, our consumers can find that we have certain certified products labels. It shows our ethics, morality, also, most importantly, the trust that our valuable customers have in us.

We are PETA-Approved Vegan, Good Market Global Approved, USDA Organic,Global Recycle Standard for our products. 

Conclusion:

To make informed choices when buying sustainable products, it's crucial to look beyond marketing claims and recognize what certifications truly represent. Products with credible certifications can make a real difference for our environment and contribute to a better future for our planet.

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