Green Seal is an American non-profit environmental labeling organization that awards a "Green Seal of Approval" to products found to cause significantly less environmental harm than other similar products. The certification mark, a blue globe with a green check, identifies those products which are preferable, empowering consumers to choose products based on their ecological impacts.
To date, Green Seal has awarded its approval to 230+ products, and certifies products in over 50 categories including paints, water-efficient fixtures, bath and facial tissue, re-refined engine oil, printing and writing paper, energy efficient lighting, paper towels and napkins, household cleaners, energy efficient windows and major household appliances. As the only non-government agency, Green Seal has registered 101 members in its new Environmental Partners "green" procurement program for institutions, with over $5 billion in purchasing power.
Founded in 1989, the organization provides credible, transparent science-based environmental certification standards, helping industry, manufacturers, purchasers, and end users alike make responsible choices. Hundreds of products and services from major companies such as 3M, Benjamin Moore, and Andersen Windows have now been certified to meet Green Seal standards, and the number of major product categories covered by standards has increased to more than 40.
Green Seal develops environmental standards for consumer products through a public review process involving manufacturers, environmental organizations, consumer groups and government agencies. Products are certified only after rigorous testing and evaluation. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is the primary testing contractor for the non-profit.
Product evaluations are conducted using a life-cycle approach to ensure that all significant environmental impacts of a product are considered, from raw materials extraction through manufacturing to use and disposal. It follows the Guiding Principles and Procedures for Type I Environmental Labeling adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14024).
Once certified, products are subject to annual monitoring to ensure that it continues to meet the Green Seal standard. Any deviation is immediately brought to the manufacturer's attention and corrective action must be instituted within an appropriate time. Non-compliance may result in termination of the manufacturer's privilege to carry the Green Seal on its product.
In October, 2007 the city of Los Angeles, CA enlisted Green Seal to assist the County in the development of a procurement implementation project —helping them incorporate specifications to buy green products in priority categories with a five-year schedule of implementation. A wide range of product categories will be covered, from cleaning supplies and paper products to electronics and construction equipment.
As part of the Environmental Partners Program, the organization publishes a series of industry-specific Buying Guides, listing environmentally-preferred products and "how-to's" for developing and implementing environmentally-sound procurement policies. You can contact them if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation.