Standards, Certifications & Labels
At a Glance
Founded in 1989, Green Seal is a non-profit organization that develops life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offers third-party certification for those that meet the criteria of each standard. Product, service, and company categories are evaluated using a life-cycle approach to ensure that all significant environmental and social impacts are considered in the development of a standard, from raw materials extraction through manufacturing, to use and disposal. The main steps for each standard development project are public scoping, public review of the proposed standard, final stakeholder review, and issuance of the final standard.
The website contains a database for retailers and purchasers that enable them to quickly find Green Seal certified products.
Type of Entity
Focus of Evaluation
Substances, products, companies
Product Stage of Life Evaluated
Raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, consumer use, end of life
Air emissions, ecological health, energy use, material impacts, GHG's, human health, ozone depletion, social responsibility, water emissions, water use, worker health
Green Seal standards provide specific criteria and guidelines for manufacturers, service providers, and companies to work toward sustainability and Green Seal certification. Green Seal has issued 31 standards, with each criteria utilizing resources that determine compliance with the requirements of the standard e.g., California Prop 65 is used for reproductive toxins. Green Seal standards are developed with input from industry, government, public interest, private sector groups and consumers.
Green Seal also provides assistance to retailers seeking green purchasing practices. Assistance is tailored to each companies needs, but includes services such as: an analysis of current purchasing practices, developing priorities, and an action plan for purchasing, and developing standards for purchasing.
As Green Seal is meant to identify leadership performance, labels are awarded only to products that go above and beyond general governmental or industry compliance standards.
Product CategoriesAutomotive; Building Materials & Products; Cleaning & Janitorial Products (Residential & Commercial/Industrial); Health & Beauty, Cosmetics, Pharmacy; Paints & Coatings
Companies must supply data regarding a product’s components and the materials used. The evaluation process typically takes about six months. If a product or service fails to meet the requirements for certification, companies are often able to modify their original submissions in order to achieve certification.
When the evaluation is near completion, an auditor conducts an on-site inspection of the manufacturing facility or service location. Corrective actions must be addressed within 120 days of the audit report.
Cost of Tool
Fees are tiered based on sales revenue and the number of products a company wishes to certify. There are five tiers ranging from a $3,500 fee for a single product for companies with annual sales revenue less than $5 million to $9,500 for a single product for companies with annual sales revenue over $500 million. Discounts are available for companies certifying multiple products. Other fees include monitoring fees and travel costs for auditors. The complete fee structure is available for viewing at www.greenseal.org/Portals/0/Documents/Certification/GS%20Certification%20Fees%203-11.pdf
Auditing is required for products and services annually.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: Green Seal standards are created with input from a wide array of participants, including industry, government, public interest and private sector groups.
Examples of Retailers That Use It
Roundy's Supermarkets, Staples, Ace Hardware, Office Depot
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For More Information
Green Seal: (202) 872-6400, firstname.lastname@example.org