Decoding Green Labels
With Thanksgiving in t-minus 2 days, the official start of the Holiday Shopping Season is right around the corner. Last year on the Alaska Conservation Blog we brought you ‘Tips for a Green Holiday’. This year we are going to dive into the world of green labels to tell you exactly what that ‘eco-friendly’ label on your purchase means. This year, make sure you shop with your conscience instead of just your wallet!
Energy Star- Products with an Energy Star label must meet energy efficiency requirements set forth by the EPA. In addition to being energy efficient, products must also deliver the features and performance that consumers expect. If the product costs more than its contemporaries, the additional investment must be recoverable through utility bill savings in a reasonable period of time.
Green Seal- Green Seal is an independent non-profit that certifies products and services. Although the standards are different depending on the type of product or service being measured, Green Seal takes a holistic approach taking into account environmental impact, sustainability, and social values. Green Seal products have a lower impact on the environment and human health throughout their life cycle than their competitors.
Greenguard- Greenguard Environmental Institute aims to ensure healthy indoor air. Greenguard certified products are screened for over 10,000 chemicals by an independent third party. These products meet some of the world’s most comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Green Good Housekeeping Seal- The well-known Good Housekeeping Seal goes green. Like Green Seal, the Good Housekeeping Seal looks at the overall impact of a product on the environment as well as the safety and quality of the product itself. It evaluates the company’s corporate sustainability and social responsibility efforts. This seal comes with a hefty price tag, however, with companies paying a large certification fee in addition to advertising in Good Housekeeping’s magazine. So don’t expect to find products from smaller companies listed here.
SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) – Seals from either of these entities can be found on wood and wood products. SFI and FSC promote sustainable and responsible forestry practices and environmentally appropriate harvests to ensure the biodiversity and productivity of world forests.
EcoLogo- Started in Canada but now prominent world-wide, EcoLogo compares products and services with others in the same category, using scientifically relevant criteria that reflect the environmental impact throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.
Fair Trade- Fair Trade certified products come from farmers and workers who received fair compensation, have safe working conditions, and protect their environment.
GreenStar- GreenStar works with businesses to promote waste reduction, energy efficiency, energy conservation, and pollution prevention. When you see the GreenStar label on Alaskan businesses, you can be sure they employ environmentally friendly practices.