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Greener Choices Home > Eco-labels center > What makes a good eco-label?

Did you know?
The "free-range" label doesn’t necessarily mean the animals went outdoors.

"Fair Trade Certified" means more than paying producers a fair wage.

Meat labeled as "natural" can contain artificial ingredients.

What makes a good eco-label?

Generally, the best eco-labels are seals or logos indicating that an independent organization has verified that a product meets a set of meaningful and consistent standards for environmental protection and/or social justice.

Here are five key criteria we use to evaluate label claims and certifying groups:
Meaningful, verifiable standards: Eco-labels should have a set of environmentally meaningful standards. These standards should be verifiable by the certifying group or another independent inspection organization.

Consistency: An eco-label used on one product should have the same meaning if used on other products. Standards should be verifiable in a consistent manner for different products.

Transparency: The organization behind an eco-label should make information about organizational structure, funding, board of directors, and certification standards available to the public.

Independence: Certifying organizations and their employees should not have any ties to, and should not receive any funding, sales fees, or contributions, from logo users except fees for certification. Employees of companies whose products are certified, or who are applying for certification, should not be affiliated in any way with the certifier.

Public comment: All certification standards should be developed with input from multiple stakeholders including consumers, industry, environmentalists and social representatives in a way that doesn't compromise the independence of the certifier. Industry representatives, for example, can play an important advisory role without having direct financial, decision making or management ties to the certifier.
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