One of the most influential movements of the 21st century without a doubt has been the promotion of all things “green,” with special attention to energy and environmental conservation, utilization of renewable resources and improved air and water quality. But with manufacturers slapping their “green” logo on everything from air conditioning appliances to construction materials, how can one avoid being misled by fake assurances?
There are many watchdog organizations that endorse those companies that properly meet environmental standards. Their symbols are often recognized around the world and enable the consumer or contractor to easily spot out the truly “greenworthy” commodities. Here is a rundown:
Green Seal is a private, non-profit agency which certifies various products, manufacturers and establishments as being environmentally sound. Although they impose a fee for their services, their credibility is recognized throughout North America.
The EcoLogo program began as a Canadian governmental standard, but is now regarded as one of the most strictest, scientifically-based environmental certifications around the globe. EcoLogo is authorized by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).
All timber products carrying the Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) seal have been harvested without the use of clear-cutting, but rather with careful consideration for the preservation of forestry. Other products which bear their seal include building materials made of recycled wood.
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) certifies indoor air quality standards and issues certification for materials such as recycled fiber, biodegradable products and organic produce. The SCS also guarantees compliance with forestry and water preservation requirements.
LEED Green Building Certification System ensures that all building structures have met the approval of environmental specifications, such as water and energy preservation, air quality and waste management.
The Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA) certifies that paper products have been bleached without the use of chlorine, a process with produces dioxin- a carcinogenic ingredient found in commodities such as coffee filters, toilet paper rolls and paper which is used to manufacture cigarettes.
Energy Star is a governmental agency which awards its logo to manufacturers which meet national standards for energy efficiency. A range of products, including electronics, appliances, home improvement and plumbing equipment carry their seal of approval.