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Green Seal’s Environmental Standards & Certification. The Role of Standards Setting Processes: Defining "What is Green?" NPPR Webinar March 5, 2009 Mark T. Petruzzi VP of Certification & Strategic Relations About Green Seal, Inc.

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Green seal s environmental standards certification

Green Seal’s Environmental Standards & Certification

The Role of Standards Setting Processes: Defining "What is Green?"

NPPR Webinar March 5, 2009

Mark T. Petruzzi

VP of Certification & Strategic Relations

About green seal inc
About Green Seal, Inc.

  • Celebrating 20th Anniversary - 1989-2009

  • 501(c)(3) non-profit

  • Science-based

  • Environmental mission through exclusive focus on environmentally responsible products and services

  • Product standards and technical reports

  • Green Lodging Program

  • Institutional Greening Program

  • Meets ANSI, EPA, ISO, GEN criteria

Third party certifiers should meet the applicable guidelines
Third-party certifiers should meet the applicable guidelines

  • ISO 14020 and 14024

    • Principles of Environmental Labeling

    • Principles and Procedures for Type I Ecolabels

  • Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) membership criteria

  • GEN Internationally Coordinated Ecolabelling System (GENICES, evaluation for conformance with ISO 14024)

  • ANSI-accredited standards developer

  • EPA Guidelines for Third-Party Certifiers

  • Consumers Union criteria for “What makes a good eco-label?”

The global ecolabelling network gen founded 1994 currently 26 member programs
The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN)founded 1994, currently 26 member programs

Commonalities among guidelines

Voluntary participation

Run by organizations without conflicts of interest

Standards process that involves stakeholders & the public

Criteria, assumptions, methods & data used are open & transparent (i.e., publicly available, easily accessed & understandable)

Legally protected mark

Criteria based on product/service lifecycle

Open access to licensees of all sizes, all countries

Authority to inspect manufacturing facility or service location

Criteria that encourage products & services that are significantly less damaging to the environment (i.e., leadership, usually top 15-25% in category)

Periodic review of criteria, considering technology & marketplace

Commonalities Among Guidelines

Principles of green seal s environmental leadership standards
Principles of Green Seal’s Environmental Leadership Standards

  • Objective

  • Explicit

  • Science-based

  • Transparent

  • Life-cycle environmental & health considerations

  • Include functional performance

  • Balanced stakeholder input

  • Attainable for leadership products or services

  • Economically feasible

Multi attribute life cycle approach
Multi-Attribute, Life-Cycle Approach Standards

  • Raw materials extraction & processing

  • Manufacturing

  • Functional Performance

  • Packaging

  • Transportation

  • Use & Maintenance

  • End-of-life (disposal, recycling, reuse)

How green seal sets environmental standards
How Green Seal Sets StandardsEnvironmental Standards

  • Register stakeholders (including end users, manufacturers, trade groups, scientists, government, environmentalists, NGOs, others)

  • Study category

  • Environmental Evaluation

  • Draft standard

  • Public review

  • Response-to-Comments

  • Stakeholder ballot*

  • Publish standard

    * where appropriate

Example green seal criteria
Example Green Seal Criteria Standards

  • Product Performance: To ensure products perform like “conventional” products in the category and meet the expectation of users

  • Environmental and Health Requirements:

    • Acute toxicity limits; skin and eye irritation; skin sensitization and absorption limits; prohibited toxins (ex. carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, asthmagens); volatile organic compound limits; inhalation toxicity limits; bioaccumulation and eutrophication limits; aquatic toxicity limits; biodegradability; minimum concentration levels

  • Packaging Requirements:

    • Packaging resource reduction; packaging type requirements; prohibited toxins (ex. heavy metals, phthalates, chlorinated materials)

  • Training and Labeling Requirements: To ensure the purchaser has access to accurate information to help them decide on products (e.g., presence/absence of an added fragrance) and use the products correctly (instructions for dilution, use, multi-lingual, use of graphic icons)

Iso versus ansi not a sci fi movie or pay per view boxing
ISO versus ANSI Standards(not a sci-fi movie or pay-per-view boxing)

No substantive difference in Green Seal’s standard-setting procedures with one exception -

  • ANSI procedures require consensus

  • ISO 14024 requires that “Reasonable efforts should be made to achieve a consensus throughout the process.”

    Why? Recognition that consensus is a reasonable expectation for certain types of standards (e.g., test methodologies, management/process standards, rating systems), whereas leadership environmental standards (e.g., life-cycle standards that a majority of products cannot meet) may find it difficult to achieve without “weakening” the standard.

Green seal certification
Green Seal Certification Standards

  • Rigorous science-based evaluation using explicit criteria

  • Products & services evaluated w/o bias or conflict of interest

  • On-site inspections of product manufacturing facilities or service locations (e.g., hotels, restaurants)

  • Includes review of ancillary materials (e.g., literature, labels, catalogs, website) for GS, FTC, unsubstantiated env. claims

  • Evaluation fees are fixed/flat, so Green Seal has no direct financial ties to certified products and services

  • Certified products and services must participate in ongoing compliance monitoring to remain certified

Green seal cleaning standards
Green Seal “cleaning” standards Standards

  • GS-34 Cleaning/Degreasing Agents

  • GS-37 I&I Cleaners

  • GS-40 I&I Floor-Care Products

  • GS-41 I&I Hand Cleaners* (CCD-104)

  • GS-42 I&I Cleaning Services

  • GS-45 Plastic Resin Film Bags**

  • GS-48 Laundry Care Products**

  • GS-49 Residential Cleaning Services**

  • GS-1 Tissue Paper***

  • GS-9 Paper Towels***

    * joint EcoLogo standard

    ** under development, see

    *** under revision, see

Why use environmental standards in purchasing
Why Use Environmental Standards in Purchasing? Standards

  • Type I (“seal of approval”) environmental labels used worldwide for 30+ years

  • Principles and procedures for environmental standard-setting and third-party certification are well-established in international and domestic guidelines (with great agreement)

  • Credible environmental standards and third-party certification can greatly reduce the effort needed for identifying, selecting and purchasing environmentally responsible products and services

  • Recognized standards define “green” for purchasers & manufacturers in the context of current marketplace; help to aggregate demand

  • Avoid debate over single attributes (biobased OR low VOCs – neither addresses performance)

  • Use of credible environmental standards can provide insulation from complaints

Contact information
Contact Information Standards

Green Seal, Inc.

1001 Connecticut Ave, NW

Suite 827

Washington, D.C., 20036

Tel: (202) 872-6400


Thank You!