Green Business Bureau Blog
Eco-friendly Businesses and Green Certification
The aggressive promotion of Environmentally Preferred Products or simply Green Purchasing compels many companies to initiate green practices within their businesses. The company and the community both benefits from this growing trend. Companies become more energy efficient and cost-effective in running their business and the same time the community benefits from environmental protection parallel to health and safety.
However, there are some companies that claim they are a green business but do not actually set up green methodologies. Some just wants to ride with the popularity of green businesses that are reaping massive support from consumers. On the other hand, there are companies particularly small ones that implement green policies and yet unable to market their products due to lack of sales campaign.
Consumers are becoming more and more educated on greening households, schools, buildings, products and services. Any company that help deviate from emission of greenhouse gases deserve green purchasing power. According to the National Health Institute website, Green Purchasing is characterized by:
…products and services that conserve energy and water, minimize generation of waste and releases of pollutants; products made from recycled materials and that can be reused or recycled; energy from renewable resources such as bio-based fuels, solar and wind power; alternate fuel vehicles; and products using alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals, radioactive materials and bio-hazardous agents.”
In order for businesses to prove their green efforts, they turn to third party green certification programs. Below is a list of different types of green certification that a company can avail. These are:
Diverse Products Certification
Green Seal Environmental Standards and Certification comprise diverse products and scope. Their categories include (1) construction materials, equipment and systems (2) facility operations, maintenance and services (3) hospitality, lodging and food service (4) home products and services (5) office products and communication (6) personal care and consumer packaged goods and (7) transportation and utilities. Green Seals provides the Green Seal Certification Mark for packaging of product or service, promotion and advertising by awarding an official letter and certification.
Scientific Certification Systems provides certification on industries involved in (1) agricultural production (2) food processing and handling (3) forestry (4) fisheries (5) flowers and plants (6) energy (7) green building (8) consumer and business product manufacturing and (8) corporate social responsibility.
Non-US certification programs
Global EcoLabeling Network is a third party non-profit association of third party organizations involved in (1) environmental performance certifications (2) products and services certifications and (3) eco-labelling programs all over the world. The network aims to improve, promote and develop eco-labelling of products and services.
Product Based Certification
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design more popularly known as LEED is a program of the US Green Building Council. USGBC is a nonprofit community of leaders that works to make green buildings available to everyone. LEED provides certification to commercial and institutional projects that are registered under LEED rating system. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system applied to residential and commercial building types. USGBC states:
“LEED works throughout the building lifecycle – design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fit out, and significant retrofit. And LEED for Neighbourhood Development extends the benefits of LEED beyond the building footprint into the neighbourhood it serves.
Specific Environmental Concern Certification.
Energy Star is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. The program helps save money and protects the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Energy Star certification is categorized into:
(1) Home – Energy Star household products, Energy Star certified homes for acquisition and tools and resources in home improvements
(2) Business – Energy management strategy that measures business current energy performance, goal settings, savings monitoring and rewarding improvements. It also provides energy performance rating system to partner businesses. It is used by 80,000 buildings across the country to date.
Qualified products and services earn the Energy Star logo seal. Among the products include air conditioners, printers and faxes, computers, light bulbs etc. Energy Star recommends stores and businesses that sell these products and services.