February 2009 Web Exclusive Article

Green Watch

  • Writer: Lisa Rackley

Organizations and companies monitor environmental responsibility

The following companies and organizations can help you separate companies with environmentally responsible practices from those that make misleading or outright fraudulent claims. The information is courtesy of Terrachoice Environmental Marketing, which helps clients evaluate their positioning in the marketplace and their communication with consumers on environmental issues. To learn more go to www.terrachoice.com.

Many of these certification organizations follow guidelines developed by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and the Office of Consumer Affairs in Canada. These guidelines are now called ISO 14020 and 14024 and are set by The International Organization for Standardization.

CHLORINE-FREE PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION
This independent, not-for-profit accreditation/standard-setting association promotes sustainable manufacturing practices and educates consumers on chlorine-free product alternatives. The organization, registered in 1994 in Illinois, certifies paper and tissue products among others. www.chlorinefreeproducts.org

ECOLOGO
EcoLogo, a government program established in 1988 in Canada and now used throughout North America, provides a market incentive to manufacturers and suppliers of environmentally preferable products and services in more than 120 product categories (about 7,000 products are certified). Now managed by Terrachoice Environmental Marketing in Reading, Pennsylvania, its guidelines (ISO 14020 and 14024) are similar to the U.S. Energy Star program. www.ecologo.com

ENERGY STAR
Energy Star is arguably the most recognized logo and rating program for energy efficiency in the United States because of its relevance in certifying appliances. It’s backed by the federal government’s energy-efficiency criteria for a wide range of products in more than 40 categories. Contact Ann Bailey at 202-343-9023 or bailey.ann@epa.gov. www.energystar.gov

EPEAT
This company ranks computers (desktop and laptop) and computer monitors in bronze, silver, and gold categories based on more than 50 environmental criteria. The EPEAT registry lists more than 600 products from 23 manufacturers. Contact Sarah O’Brien at 802-479-0317 or Sara.obrien@ifdf. www.epeat.net

GREENGUARD ENVIRONMENTAL INSTITUTE
This independent, non-profit organization oversees the Greenguard Certification Program, which establishes acceptable indoor air standards for products, environments, and buildings. Greenguard’s mission is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air quality. The institute receives guidance and leadership from an advisory board of independent volunteers who are experts on indoor air quality, public and environmental health, building design and construction, and public policy. The association’s website features an index of products for home building, including non-off gassing adhesives, sealants, and furniture. www.greenguard.org

FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
FSC certifies wood products obtained from well-managed forests. It also certifies environmentally preferable papers based on multiple attributes. www.fscus.org

GREEN SEAL
This independent, non-profit organization promotes the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services. It operates under ISO 14020 and 14024 labeling laws and is a founding member of the Global Ecolabeling Network. Green Seal standards have been recognized and used by the federal and many state governments and other entities. Contact Linda Chipperfield at 202-872-6400 or lchipperfield@greenseal.org. www.greenseal.org

GREEN-E
The Green-e program certifies sources of renewable electricity and renewable energy credits generated from clean energy sources such as wind, solar, or small-scale hydroelectric power. It also certifies products that were manufactured in facilities using renewable energy. Contact Jennifer Martin at 415-561-2104 or jmartin@resource-solutions.org. www.green-e.org

SUSTAINABLE FURNISHINGS COUNCIL
(FORMERLY THE SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE COUNCIL)

SFC promotes sustainable practices among manufacturers, importers, retailers, designers, and consumers with a tagging program that identifies good sources. It’s membership is approaching more than 300 companies. www.sfcgreen.org