Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

Wk 7: What’s the 411 on Eco-Labels and certifications?

Response due at the beginning of class on 2/23 (you have until 11:59pm to complete Wk 7 since it may take you a little longer).  *Reminder that only those students taking the LEED GA exam (or interested in learning more about LEED) are expected to attend class on 2/23, Option 2 (creative option) are not expected to attend, but welcome!

Now that you have greenwashing on your mind, you may be feeling like you know products may be greenwashed, but what can you do about it personally?  Well, this part of living sustainably is both challenging and rather empowering.  The trick to identifying greenwashing, is the ability to (1) Identify legitimate eco-labels or certifications, and (2) to distinguish misleading claims (e.g., “all natural fruit juice” – think of arsenic, it is all natural, but that does not mean that all natural = good for you.)

This week, I want you to spend some good time on GreenerChoices.org, this website run by Consumer Reports is currently the leading and most trusted resource for accessing comprehensive information regarding product information for the 3 main areas of self-care Food, Household Cleaners and Personal Care.    There are many websites such as GreenerChoices.org, but I personally try to find one website/resource I use to simply not complicated the matter.  I find it is overwhelming enough to try to learn more about my products (to be concerned both with the products potential impact to the environment, and the products potential impact on my health), that using one resource helps me stay productive on finding information since I keep it simple.  All of the follwoing labels will have “label report cards” on GreenerChoices that you can references.

Area 1 – General Eco-Labels. Please research the following general product eco-labels: 

1a.  EcoLogo (most common).  Write a short synopsis on what type of product EcoLogo certifies?  Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your household products Eco-Label certified?

1b. GreenSeal (one of my favorites).  Write a short synopsis on what type of product GreenSeal certifies?  Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your products in your house GreenSeal certified?

Area 2 – Food Label(s).  Please research the following general product eco-labels:

2a. USDA Organic.  What products does USDA Organic label certify? And do all the products need to meet the same standards?

2b. Quality Assurance International.  People are often shocked when they realize this logo is on a LOT of their everyday food products.  Visit the website and tell us a general overview of this organization and what they certify?  Why is this certification so important for consumers of organic foods (in other words, what does it do that USDA Organic can not do to protect the consumer?)

Area 3 – Personal Care.  Please research the following general product eco-labels:

3a. Leaping Bunny.  I will go ahead and assume we’ve all seen this logo since it is about 15 years old and pretty common.  Tell me what does the logo represent?  Can you tell me what is one of the biggest criticisms of the leaping bunny logo, some people think it is misleading? What about it could possibly be misleading? 

3b.  Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade Certified?  List all products that can be Fair Trade Certified?

3c.  Eco-Cert(I use this one for buying my daughter’s organic cottons in her mattress, sheets, pajamas, and those key items close to her body and breathing when she is just out of the tub and her pores are open to absorb more toxins and such). If I had a family member that was sick with say cancer and going through treatment and have a lower immune system, I would try to put them in more organic clothing and I would look for the eco-cert label before paying a premium on a cotton product. Eco-Cert is focused on Sustainable Development and looks heavily at healthy global agricultural practices. It does a lot to maintain the land and the workers, but as you can see I am looking at it from a micro-level of my family’s health.  Whereas, some of you in Fashion Merchandising might have a different perspective and you might trust them as a global agricultural watchdog of organic textile supply chain. 

#3c. Tell me what other areas other than Organic Textiles does Eco-Cert certify.  Also, tell me briefly but informed about the company?

Area 4 – Household Cleaners. Please research the following general product eco-labels:

4a.  US EPA Design for the Environment.  “There are many ‘eco-labels’ in the marketplace — how is Design for the Environment’s labeling program different?” – please tell me!?   Personally, I find it hard to understand all the chemicals on cleaning products, so this label is helpful for me when I am trying to understand a product, and/or I just want to buy something quickly but I want some assurance it might be better for my health than the non-label product.

Area 5 – Building and Construction Items. Please research the following indoor air quality of building and construction items:
#5. Obviously, GreenSeal is the leader in Building and Construction Items, but there are others such as GreenGuard that certify a low-emission building materials for healthy indoor air quality (e.g. paints, stains, adhesives,.  Explain to me what this means to have low-emission building materials to have healthy indoor air quality (this page will help you answer this question)?   As an interior designer and mom, I adore the GreenGuard certification, they have done such an excellent job helping us great healthier indoor air quality.

Advertisements

Filed under: Sustainable Design

17 Responses

  1. Katherine Holland says:

    Area 1
    1a. EcoLogo works with environmental leaders to certify all types of products. This third-party certification company finds the worlds most sustainable and environmentally preferable products. EcoLogo provides information to the public, corporate, and to general consumers. The website explains that, “the EcoLogo program compares products/services with others in the same category, develops rigorous and scientifically relevant criteria that reflect the entire lifecycle of the product, and awards the EcoLogo to those that are verified by an independent third party as complying with the criteria.” I am unfortunately unfamiliar with the EcoLogo label. After searching through my apartment, I could not find any of my household products to be Eco-Label certified.

    1b. GreenSeal is another third party certification company that looks at all types of products. The GreenSeal program uses science-based leadership standards to certify products. I am familiar with the GreenSeal logo. I have seen some of the GreenSeal hotels/properties this third party has certified and some of their certified products look familiar. Unfortunately I do not have a certified product by GreenSeal currently in my home.

    Area 2
    2a.The USDA organic label certifies foods and/or other agricultural products that are free of synthetic fertilizers, sewage, sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. According to the USDA, for a product to be considered organic, “it must be approved through methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The products involved in the USDA organic certification do not all meet the same standards. The quality standards for certifications can all be different according to the type of product.

    2b. The Quality Assurance International (QAI) is stated to be a leading USDA-accredited organic product-certifying agency. Some of the areas that the QAI looks at for certification include: crop production, food manufacturing, personal care products, dietary supplements, livestock, honey, maple syrup, poultry and eggs, sea vegetables, dairy, mushrooms, hydroponics, green houses, distribution, retail, and foodservice. QAI is also a member of the NSP International Family of Companies which is a global leader in public health and safety as stated on the website. The Quality Assurance International is important for consumers of organic food because it guarantees organic honesty from the farm to the retail shelf. QAI works with USDA certifications and can offer accredited certification to products as “certified organic.”

    Area 3
    3a. The LeapingBunny logo represents products that are animal cruelty-free. The LeapingBunny logo has found criticisms and has been known to be misleading as “cruelty-free” shopping came into action. This is due to other companies designing their own bunny logos with their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal-friendly’ without the participation of outside animal protection groups. I believe the LeapingBunny logo could be misleading because companies purchase the logo to be placed on their product. I am not saying that I do not trust this logo but the way this company operated is slightly questionable.

    3b. Fair Trade Certified is for quality products that are fairly priced, contain no GMOs, no hazardous chemicals and no child labor involvement. Fair Trade products can come from farms in developing countries that might be of a far location. This type of trade helps the farmers build a sustainable business and influence their business in a positive way. Basically the more you make fair trade purchases the more you can improve another community. Fair Trade works with all types of products. The Fair Trade products include: apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey, multi-ingredient foods, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, and wine.

    3c. Other than organic textiles, Eco-Cert also certifies areas in organic farming, organic cosmetics and wellness, eco-products, environment, fair trade, quality and safety. The Eco-Cert group provides certification, private inspections, analysis, and expert services for sustainable development. Eco-Cert works with people internationally to assure a responsible purchasing policy, communication and CO2, waste sorting to benefit non-profit organizations, a network of approved sustainable development representatives in the Group’s subsidiaries, and the completion of a carbon assessment with carbon reduction and carbon off-setting.

    Area 4
    4a. The design for the Environments Labeling Program is different from other eco-labels is a few ways. First, it looks like the US EPA Design for the Environment’s Labeling program concentrates on chemistry and identifying safer chemicals. Another way the Environment labeling program sets itself apart from other eco-labels is that they look at a full set of health and environmental end points from a range of data, experimental and modeled, and with expert judgments. Lastly, this program works closely with other companies to help them understand the chemistry behind their products and choose safer alternatives to the harmful chemicals that might harm the environment.

    Area 5
    5a. It is important to have low-emission building materials for a healthy indoor air quality. Low-emission building materials include things like finishes, interior furnishings, cleaning products and electronic equipment. The Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) sets standards for low-emitting products that include: test methods, allowable emission levels, product sample collection and handling, testing type and frequency as well as program application processes, toxicity limits and acceptance. Having low-emission building materials will protect human health and improve quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants according to the GreenGuard website.

  2. Adam Nowaczyk says:

    Area 1 – General Eco-Labels. Please research the following general product eco-labels:

    1a. EcoLogo (most common). Write a short synopsis on what type of product EcoLogo certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your household products Eco-Label certified?

    EgoLogo looks as thought it certifies common consumer items from house wares, to automobile accessories that focus on being environmentally friendly. I wasn’t familiar with the label before reading up on it. I didn’t see this EcoLogo label on any of my products, but some manufacturers I have products from do use this certification, such as Hewlett Packard and WD-40. It also doesn’t look familiar just in general. As a side note I found the EcoLogo website to be extremely user unfriendly, very hard to navigate through and search for products.

    1b. GreenSeal (one of my favorites). Write a short synopsis on what type of product GreenSeal certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your products in your house GreenSeal certified?

    GreanSeal offers a renewability factor with products with the lowest amount of impact possible, they apply to consumer and industrial products. I am familiar with the products certified by GreenSeal, but was unaware of GreenSeal itself. In the past we have had EcoGreen paper towels and Gojo handcleaner in our house, both of which have GreenSeal Certification.

    Area 2 – Food Label(s). Please research the following general product eco-labels:

    2a. USDA Organic. What products does USDA Organic label certify? And do all the products need to meet the same standards?

    The USDA Organic Label certifies Cotton, Dairy, Fresh Fruit/Vegetables, Livestock, Nuts/Specialty Crops, Poultry/Eggs, Processed Fruits and Vegetables and Tobacco. All products can’t meet the same standards. As the USDA site explains: there are 38 grades for cotton, and more than 312 fruit, vegetable, and specialty product standards. Therefore, it just isn’t possible to apply all standards to all of the products.

    2b. Quality Assurance International. People are often shocked when they realize this logo is on a LOT of their everyday food products. Visit the website and tell us a general overview of this organization and what they certify? Why is this certification so important for consumers of organic foods (in other words, what does it do that USDA Organic can not do to protect the consumer?)

    QAI certifies organic products for consumer consumption. In response to the question about what does QAI do that the USDA can’t I would say that they can lobby congress as well as the USDA to ensure consumer protection is implemented and maintained. Even the most Consumer Advocacy sounding organizations are in fact lobbying groups. I don’t know in QAI’s case that I would label this negative or counterproductive lobbying. I just think sometimes Strength In Numbers is the only way to accomplish goals or give momentum to movements, there are of course a million arguments against lobbying for every one argument for lobbying.

    Area 3 – Personal Care. Please research the following general product eco-labels:

    3a. Leaping Bunny. I will go ahead and assume we’ve all seen this logo since it is about 15 years old and pretty common. Tell me what does the logo represent? Can you tell me what is one of the biggest criticisms of the leaping bunny logo, some people think it is misleading? What about it could possibly be misleading?

    The logo seems to have a history of confusion because variations of the logo were previously used to sort of say similar things about what the main logo represented which was a stance against animal cruelty and testing. The other companies who used these logos may have not been sincere or transparent enough for the consumer.

    The logo also doesn’t retroactively apply the certification, meaning if the products were tested on animals previously but not currently then they can be Leaping Bunny certified. New products are not tested on animals though. I think the language is pretty vague as well, not “tested” on but that doesn’t mean the animals weren’t hurt somehow.

    I hate animal cruelty, so this would be an important label for me. I wasn’t familiar with this label, but I will pay more attention now.

    3b. Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade Certified? List all products that can be Fair Trade Certified?

    Fair Trade certified makes sure that products that come from “far away” (or foreign lands) by producers are justly compensated for their work/labor. The products/services that can be licensed are appearl & linens, beans/grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, packaged foods, flowers & plants, fruits/vegetables, honey, herbs/spices, nuts/oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, wine, licensed partners and innovation.

    3c. Eco-Cert(I use this one for buying my daughter’s organic cottons in her mattress, sheets, pajamas, and those key items close to her body and breathing when she is just out of the tub and her pores are open to absorb more toxins and such). If I had a family member that was sick with say cancer and going through treatment and have a lower immune system, I would try to put them in more organic clothing and I would look for the eco-cert label before paying a premium on a cotton product. Eco-Cert is focused on Sustainable Development and looks heavily at healthy global agricultural practices. It does a lot to maintain the land and the workers, but as you can see I am looking at it from a micro-level of my family’s health. Whereas, some of you in Fashion Merchandising might have a different perspective and you might trust them as a global agricultural watchdog of organic textile supply chain.

    #3c. Tell me what other areas other than Organic Textiles does Eco-Cert certify. Also, tell me briefly but informed about the company?

    Organic farming, cosmetics, ecoproducts, the environment fair trade and quality/safety. Eco-Cert’s aim is to be environmentally friendly in the production of agriculture. They also seem to be in the market of acknowledging their supporters and partners in this quest to be environmentally conscious and friendly. They have qualified experts in each of the fields represented that are employed by Eco-Cert. These experts are unique in that they share the same vision of Eco-Cert.

    Area 4 – Household Cleaners. Please research the following general product eco-labels:

    4a. US EPA Design for the Environment. “There are many ‘eco-labels’ in the marketplace — how is Design for the Environment’s labeling program different?” – please tell me!? Personally, I find it hard to understand all the chemicals on cleaning products, so this label is helpful for me when I am trying to understand a product, and/or I just want to buy something quickly but I want some assurance it might be better for my health than the non-label product.

    I will say as a pro-EPA and pro-Government person in general that having it government backed is very reassuring, but it’s not without flaws or problems. The EPA employs some pretty good researchers and scientists. On their website it states that they have people working for them who have been in their respective fields for over 30 years.

    This label is not incorruptible, wherever there is government involvement there is always the potential for there to be influence. IN a perfect world though this label is the best choice in that they have no private profit-driving motive behind them. Government isn’t business it’s there to protect the people, so profit for individuals who are part of the whole should never be part of the equation.

    Area 5 – Building and Construction Items. Please research the following indoor air quality of building and construction items:

    #5. Obviously, GreenSeal is the leader in Building and Construction Items, but there are others such as GreenGuard that certify a low-emission building materials for healthy indoor air quality (e.g. paints, stains, adhesives,. Explain to me what this means to have low-emission building materials to have healthy indoor air quality (this page will help you answer this question)? As an interior designer and mom, I adore the GreenGuard certification, they have done such an excellent job helping us great healthier indoor air quality.

    Well, housing 101 tells us that healthy indoor air quality prevents sickness, so that’s a pretty obvious one. Having VOCs, fumes and other allergens lead to unhealthy living. I would say GreenGaurd takes a very proactive approach to preventing these chemicals from getting into the home initially, instead of the reactive approach which we so often see (asbestos removal, Chinese drywall, etc.).

    This whole approach is proactive, which I like. I have heard of GreenGaurd, but I’d be lying if I said I knew anything about it previously. I like it though.

  3. Megan Greene says:

    1A. EcoLogo appears as if it certifies all sorts of products, not just one particular kind. This program certifies bags, cleaners, car washes, electricity, envelopes, flooring, and the list goes on and on. I have never seen this label before, so unfortunately I do not believe any of my products are EcoLogo certified. I also found the website very difficult and unhelpful in finding specific and recognizable products that are certified.
    1B. Green Seal develops life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services, and companies and offers third-party certification for those that meet the criteria. Green Seal certifies mostly household products such as cleaners, soaps, paint, paper towels, and paper, but also certifies cleaning services and hotels and lodging properties. I actually recognized this label when I saw it on the website. I researched a little and discovered that I have stayed in multiple hotels around the United States, such as the Radisson Hotel in Los Angeles, that have been certified. I also have copy paper from Office Depot that is recycled laser paper and has been certified.
    2A. The USDA Organic Label certifies cotton, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, livestock, nuts and specialty crops, poultry and eggs, processed fruits and vegetables, and tobacco. All products do not need to meet the same standards because it is impossible. For example, some standards used for beef such as marbling and age of the animal cannot be applicable to other types of products. Also the number of grades for each commodity varies. Cotton has 38 grades, and fruits have 312.
    2B. QAI is a leading USDA-accredited organic product-certifying agency. QAI is important for consumers because it verifies organic integrity by examining the land on which the product is grown, the post-harvest facilities and plants, and the store where consumers purchase products. QAI looks are personal care products, dietary supplements, vegetables, poultry and eggs, greenhouses, dairy, retail and foodservice, etc. The fact that QAI is a member of the NSF International Family of Companies should be very important to consumers. NSF is a global leader in public health and safety and helps to protect communities by writing public health standards for food, water, nutritional supplements and consumer goods and certifying products to these standards. NSF conducts food safety audits and training, develops sustainability standards and verifies sustainability claims. Therefore, I think overall QAI seems to be more involved and does more than USDA.
    3A. The LeapingBunny logo means that products are animal-cruelty free. Cruelty-free shopping was popular, but it was also confusing and misleading because companies began to design their own bunny logos based on their own definition of cruelty-free without the participation of animal protection groups. I think the statement, “we do not test on animals”, is very misleading because some companies may say that, but then contract other companies to do the testing.
    3B. From far-away farms, products that have the Fair Trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. Fair Trade helps farmers in developing countries to build sustainable businesses that positively influence communities. They teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. The products that can be certified are apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, packaged foods, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, honey, herbs and spices, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, and wine.
    3C. In addition to organic textiles, Eco-Cert also certifies organic farming, organic cosmetics and wellness, eco-products, environment, fair trade, quality, and safety. Eco-Cert is an inspection and certification body established in France in 1991 by people aware of the need to develop environmentally friendly agriculture and of the importance of offering some form of recognition to those committed to this method of production. Eco-Cert is specialized in the certification of organic agricultural products.
    4A. The design for the environment’s label is different from other labels because it focuses on chemistry and identifying safer chemicals. EPA has had more than 40 years of experience in evaluating the human health and environmental characteristics of chemicals so it seems very trustworthy. They can determine the likely health and environmental hazards of chemicals that haven’t been widely studied. Also, they look at a set of health and environmental endpoints based on a range of data, experimental and modeled, and expert judgment. They also work with other companies to help them to understand the chemistry of their products and to find safer alternatives to chemicals that could cause health and environmental concerns.
    5A. Low-emission building materials such as paint and furnishings help make indoor air quality healthier. The GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emission limits, which contribute to the creation of healthier interiors. The standards establish certification procedures including test methods, allowable emission levels, product sample collections and handling, testing type and frequency as well as program application processes, toxicity limits and acceptance. Low-emission levels protect human’s health and reducing the amount of chemicals that people are exposed to in their homes.

  4. Katie Jones says:

    1a.. After reviewing Ecologo’s website, I have found that Ecologo is a third-party certification of environmentally preferable products. The company seems to have endorse/review a large array of products ranging from candles to vehicles to household cleaning products. Having never seen the Ecologo before today, I am pretty positive that none of my products have this label on them.
    1b. Green Seal is a “life cycle- based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offer third-party certification” for products that meet their certain criteria. There company tends to certify more household items such as paints, cleaners, printer paper, etc. In addition, they certify construction materials and certain lodging hotels. I was not familiar with the Green Seal label and do not own any of its certified products. I have never really paid much attention to green products before this class and therefore am not surprised that I have been so oblivious to the numerous logos.
    Food Labels
    2a. USDA organic label certifies all foods except for seafood that are organic and not-genetically modified. In terms of standards, not all of the products need to meet the same type of standards in order to be USDA organic certified. There are different tiers that can qualify. For example, Products are labeled 100% organic if they contain all organic materials, organic if they are 95% organic, or “made with organic materials” if they are 70% organic. In terms of personal care products, cosmetics only have to be 56% organic to receive the seal of approval.
    2b. Quality Assurance International is a leading USDA-accredited organic product certifying agency and is dedicated to fostering organic food production. This certification covers many sectors of the industry including crop production, food manufacturing, personal care products, dietary supplements, livestock, honey,maple syrup, poultry and eggs, sea vegetables, dairy, mushrooms, hydroponics, greenhouses, distribution, retail and foodservice. QAI is also a member of the NSF International family of companies which develops sustainability standards and offers environmental systems registrations. It also works with the USDA and verifiers that the products labeled as “organic” are true to the organic labeling claim.
    Personal Care
    3a. The leaping bunny logo is supposed to represent a “cruelty free” product that has not been tested on animals after a certain agreement date. The label is misleading because although the product has necessarily been “tested” on animals, its ingredients may have been in the past and therefore animals were hurt in the process. In addition, companies may conduct or commission animal testing for products outside the scope of the standard. Therefore, this has caused consumers to be skeptical of the leaping bunnies certification.
    3b. Fair Trade Certified standards “aim to ensure that farmers and farm workers in developing nations receive a fair price for their product; have direct trade relations with buyers and access to credit; and encourage sustainable farming methods, without the use of a dozen of the most harmful pesticides, and forced child labor. Products that are fair trade certified include coffee, chocolate, tea, fruits, processed foods and nuts, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
    3c. Eco-cert is an inspection and certification body established to offer environmentally friendly agriculture. It specializes in the certification of organic agricultural products. It certifies organic farming, organic cosmetics, organic home perfumes, organic and fair trade products, organic cleaning products, and ecological green spaces.
    Household Cleaners
    4a. US EPA focuses on empowering businesses to select safer chemicals and technologies and informed consumers to make wise choices by identifying safer and effective products. It also identifies the best practices in the area ranging from auto refinishing to nail salon safety. The organization really focuses on the use of safer chemicals and works with businesses to develop better alternatives.
    Building and Construction Items
    5. As the website says, “most of our exposure to environmental pollutants occurs by breathing the air indoors.” Chemicals, mold, particulates, and poor ventilation can all be the cause of the poor indoor air quality. By selecting products that are GreenGuard certified, consumers can lower their risk of indoor air pollution and thus have low-emission building materials.

  5. JoAnn M says:

    1a. EcoLogo provides customers with a guarantee that the products and services, with this logo, meet specific standards of environmental leadership. I was not previously aware of this organization or it’s logo and I do not believe any of the products in my home possess its certification. After viewing the list of products that are certified by EgoLogo, I realized I hadn’t heard of many of the brand names that are certified with this organization.
    1b. GreenSeal has developed life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services, and companies. They also offer third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard. This organization promotes ideas of true sustainability that create minimal impact on the environment and are renewable. I have seen this seal before, but was not aware of exactly what it stood for. I do have a can of Rustoleum in my house that does have this certification on it
    2a. The USDA certifies food or other agricultural products that have been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. USDA standards are not the same for every product, but instead are based on measurable attributes of value and utility of a given product.
    2b. As a USDA-accredited certifying agent (ACA), QAI’s programs verify organic integrity at each link of the product handling chain, helping to assure compliance with organic standards for every level of the product. They handle the certification process with a business approach, charging a fee versus a sales percentage to companies.
    3a. The LeapingBunny logo represents products that do not participate in animal cruelty. It has found criticisms about actually being “cruelty-free”. Other companies have designed their own bunny logos, with no legitimization for any animal protection groups, claiming that they too are animal friendly. The vagueness as to what is not considered animal-cruelty by them makes me somewhat leery of trusting the logo completely.
    3b. Fair Trade Certified standards “aim to ensure that farmers and farm workers in developing nations receive a fair price for their product; have direct trade relations with buyers and access to credit; and encourage sustainable farming methods, without the use of a dozen of the most harmful pesticides, and forced child labor. Certified Products include apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, packaged foods, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, honey, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, wine, herbs and spices, nuts and oilseeds.
    3c. Eco-cert is an inspection and certification agency established to offer environmentally friendly agriculture. They specialize in the certification of organic agricultural products. Some of the products and areas they certify are organic farming, organic cosmetics and wellness, organic and fair trade products, organic cleaning products, and ecological green spaces. This company also aims to provide recognition to those participating in environmentally friendly agriculture methods of production.
    4a. The design for the Environments Labeling Program is different from other eco-labels for several reasons. Firstly, this organization looks into a product’s chemical breakup and identifies particular chemicals as safe or not. They also look into long and short term health and environmental effects for individuals, based on test results and research. The US EPA also works with companies. By doing this they know more about the product they’re endorsing and can come up with safer methods for manufacturing.

    5. With organizations like GreenSeal and GreenGuard we can all breathe a little easier…. (no pun intended). The GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emission limits. Limits such as the ones enforced by GreenGuard provide a healthier environment for us and our loved ones to live in. We were all once haunted by the fear of asbestos in our homes. Organizations such as these are both taking proactive approaches in keeping these harmful chemicals out of our home to begin with. It is a very attainable hope that these efforts will indeed improve the quality of life.

  6. Ari Strickland says:

    A1—-
    1a. Write a short synopsis on what type of product EcoLogo certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your household products Eco-Label certified?
    –EcoLogo certifies a wide range of household products, from adhesives to flooring. I am not familiar with this label, but I am not very observant when it comes to labels. I’m not sure if my products are EcoLogo certified.
    1b. Write a short synopsis on what type of product GreenSeal certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your products in your house GreenSeal certified.
    –GreenSeal certifies a range of household products ,also food packaging and hotels. I am familiar with the label, my toilet paper is safe! Scott..but it’s definitely not soft like Charmin.
    A2—-
    2a. What products does USDA Organic label certify? And do all the products need to meet the same standards?
    –USDA Organic labels certify food or other agricultural products that have been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. There are actually different standards for cotton, tobacco, dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, livestock, nuts, eggs and poultry, specialty productsand processed fruits and vegetables.
    2b. People are often shocked when they realize this logo is on a LOT of their everyday food products. Visit the website and tell us a general overview of this organization and what they certify? Why is this certification so important for consumers of organic foods (in other words, what does it do that USDA Organic can not do to protect the consumer?)
    –QAI certifies organic producers of crops and animals while keeping in check their impact on the environment. Compared to USDA, QAI keeps the environment in mind with all of their business by reducing the energy and raw material use; implementing a paperless documentation and billing management system; developing a recycling program for paper, plastic containers and bags, electronics, mercury-containing light bulbs and batteries; and instituting a composting program for coffee grounds, tea bags and fruit/vegetable food scraps.
    A3—-
    3a. [Leaping Bunny] Tell me what does the logo represent? Can you tell me what is one of the biggest criticisms of the leaping bunny logo, some people think it is misleading? What about it could possibly be misleading?
    –The logo represents animal-safe personal products. 1996, ‘cruelty-free’ shopping had become popular, but it was also confusing, sometimes misleading, and ultimately frustrating. Companies had begun designing their own bunny logos, abiding by their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal friendly’ without the participation of animal protection groups.
    3b. What is Fair Trade Certified? List all products that can be Fair Trade Certified?
    –Daily products that are certified come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated, efficiently working to help their community. Fair trade certified products range from apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, chocolate, coffee, packaged foods, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, honey, herbs and spices, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, and wine.
    3d.Tell me what other areas other than Organic Textiles does Eco-Cert certify. Also, tell me briefly but informed about the company?
    Eco-Cert also certifies natural cleaning products, natural and organic home fragrances, and painting and coating products. Basically, Eco-Cert began with standardizing requirements for organic farming, then spread their concern and awareness to responsible practices and production.
    A4—-
    1. How is Designing for the Environment’s labeling program different from other eco-labels?
    –DfE is focused on chemicals and using expert judgment to determine the likely health and environmental hazards of chemicals that haven’t been widely studied. Also, DfE consults with companies to help them understand the chemistry of their products and to select safer alternatives to chemicals that pose potential health or environmental concerns.
    A5—-
    1. Explain to me what this means to have low-emission building materials and to have healthy indoor air quality?
    –Healthy indoor air quality comes from choosing to use products that release the least amount of volatile chemicals in your air, which cause lots of health problems like allergies, cardiovascular disease and reproductive problems.
    –Low-emission bulding materials have been certified to release the least amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

  7. Hannah Greenberg says:

    1a. EcoLogo (most common). Write a short synopsis on what type of product EcoLogo certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your household products Eco-Label certified?
    EcoLogo does not certify just one category of products, rather it certifies many. It certifies anything from candles to office supplies to pedestals. Further EcoLogo does not limit itself to which companies it will certify. On their website you can find a list of the brands that have EcoLogos—and it is not short. I do not think any of my products current have an EcoLogo considering I had never heard of it until this assignment.
    1b. GreenSeal (one of my favorites). Write a short synopsis on what type of product GreenSeal certifies? Tell us if you are familiar with the label? Are any of your products in your house GreenSeal certified?
    GreenSeal offers third party certification for products that meet their life cycle based sustainability standards. From their website, it appears GreenSeal mostly focuses on household products, however they also certify hotels/lodging. I was not familiar right away with GreenSeal, but after looking at the manufacturers that have GreenSeal, I see some products that I use.
    Area 2 – Food Label(s). Please research the following general product eco-labels:
    2a. USDA Organic. What products does USDA Organic label certify? And do all the products need to meet the same standards?
    The USDA Organic label certifies food and other agricultural products. These include fruits, vegetables, specialty crops, milk, other dairy products, livestock, meat, grain, hay, poultry, eggs, cotton, and tobacco. These products are not held to the same standard since they are all different. For instance, milk in farm bulk tanks should be cooled to 40 degrees. This would be different for types of meat, poultry, etc.
    2b. Quality Assurance International. People are often shocked when they realize this logo is on a LOT of their everyday food products. Visit the website and tell us a general overview of this organization and what they certify? Why is this certification so important for consumers of organic foods (in other words, what does it do that USDA Organic can not do to protect the consumer?)
    QAI is an agency that certifies organic products that is USDA-accredited. QAI monitors the entire process of the product starting from where it is grown to where you purchase it. It certifies crop production, food manufacturing, personal care products, dietary supplements, livestock, honey, maple syrup, poultry and eggs, sea vegetables, dairy, mushrooms, hydroponics, greenhouses, distribution, retail and foodservice. I think one advantage of QAI compared to that of USDA is that QAI is not just a United States standard, it covers Canada, Mexico, Central America, Japan, and the European Union. I think this is beneficial because we know it is not just our policy makers dictating the standard. Also, QAI is a member of NSF International family of companies. NSF is also global, and sets standards for food, water, nutritional supplements, and consumer goods.

    Area 3 – Personal Care. Please research the following general product eco-labels:
    3a. Leaping Bunny. I will go ahead and assume we’ve all seen this logo since it is about 15 years old and pretty common. Tell me what does the logo represent? Can you tell me what is one of the biggest criticisms of the leaping bunny logo; some people think it is misleading? What about it could possibly be misleading?
    The logo represents a single, comprehensive standard set forth by eight groups that products are animal cruelty free. People often find the bunny logo to be misleading because other companies began to use a similar logo stating that their products were cruelty-free. However, these companies were developing their own definition of “standards” which may not have been entirely cruelty free. The issue of animal testing also arises. By claiming that a product is not tested on animals does not full ensure that it was not tested on animals at one point during the production phase.
    3b. Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade Certified? List all products that can be Fair Trade Certified?
    Fair trade means that the workers who produced the products were compensated justly according to their work. It also focuses on building sustainable businesses, and helping disadvantaged communities use fair trade to their advantage. The following can be certified as Fair trade apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey, multi-ingredient foods, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, and wine.
    3c. Eco-Cert(I use this one for buying my daughter’s organic cottons in her mattress, sheets, pajamas, and those key items close to her body and breathing when she is just out of the tub and her pores are open to absorb more toxins and such). If I had a family member that was sick with say cancer and going through treatment and have a lower immune system, I would try to put them in more organic clothing and I would look for the eco-cert label before paying a premium on a cotton product. Eco-Cert is focused on Sustainable Development and looks heavily at healthy global agricultural practices. It does a lot to maintain the land and the workers, but as you can see I am looking at it from a micro-level of my family’s health. Whereas, some of you in Fashion Merchandising might have a different perspective and you might trust them as a global agricultural watchdog of organic textile supply chain.
    #3c. Tell me what other areas other than Organic Textiles does Eco-Cert certify. Also, tell me briefly but informed about the company?
    Eco-Cert also certifies organic farming, natural and organic cosmetics, natural cleaning products, natural and organic home perfumes, paintings and coatings from natural origin, organic and fair trade products, and the environmentally friendly production of aquatic plants and their processing. Eco-Cert was founded in France in 1991. Eco-Cert’s main goals are supporting the environment and encouraging responsible practices. Eco-Cert spans throughout 80 different countries.
    Area 4 – Household Cleaners. Please research the following general product eco-labels:
    4a. US EPA Design for the Environment. “There are many ‘eco-labels’ in the marketplace — how is Design for the Environment’s labeling program different?” – please tell me!? Personally, I find it hard to understand all the chemicals on cleaning products, so this label is helpful for me when I am trying to understand a product, and/or I just want to buy something quickly but I want some assurance it might be better for my health than the non-label product.
    Their labeling certifies that it has undergone rigorous testing set forth by the EPA. This means every single ingredient used in the product has been tested to meet these standards. This means that even the wrappers have to meet the requirements. The EPA also works with companies, not against, to develop new safer ways to develop their products.
    Area 5 – Building and Construction Items. Please research the following indoor air quality of building and construction items:
#5. Obviously, GreenSeal is the leaders in Building and Construction Items, but there are others such as GreenGuard that certify a low-emission building materials for healthy indoor air quality (e.g. paints, stains, adhesives,. Explain to me what this means to have low-emission building materials to have healthy indoor air quality (this page will help you answer this question)? As an interior designer and mom, I adore the GreenGuard certification, they have done such an excellent job helping us great healthier indoor air quality.
    People do not realize the large difference of air quality between indoor and outdoor. Indoor is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor. This is a concerning issue because people spend 90% of their time inside whether it be at home, school, or the office. GreenGuard has tested over 10,000 chemicals to guarantee that they give you the best air quality. Other ways to prevent inside pollution is to air a structure when new materials are installed, apply wet products prior to the installation of dry ones, and avoid using fragranced materials.
    Filed under: Sustainable Design

  8. ashley Walker says:

    Area 1
    1a. EcoLogo works with environmental leaders to certify products. This company finds the worlds most sustainable and environmental friendly products. this company provides information to pretty much anyone who wants to view the information. I am not familiar with the EcoLogo label. After searching through my house, non of my household products were Eco-Label certified.

    1b. GreenSeal is another certification company that looks at different products. The GreenSeal program uses science-based standards to certify products properly. I am not familiar with the GreenSeal logo and I do not have a certified product by GreenSeal currently in my home.

    2a.The USDA organic label certifies foods and other products that are free of synthetic fertilizers, sewage, and genetic engineering. for a product to be considered organic, “it must be approved through methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The quality standards for certifications can be different depending on the type of product.

    2b. The QAI is a USDA-accredited organic product certifying agency. categories that the QAI look at are: crop production, food manufacturing, personal care products, dietary supplements, livestock, honey, maple syrup, poultry and eggs, sea vegetables, dairy, mushrooms, hydroponics, green houses, distribution, retail, and foodservice. The Quality Assurance International is important for consumers of organic food because it guarantees that the product is organic.

    3a. The LeapingBunny logo represents products that are animal cruelty-free. This logo has found criticisms and has been known to be misleading as “cruelty-free” shopping came into action. This is due to other companies designing their own bunny logos with their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal-friendly’ without the participation of outside animal protection groups. the LeapingBunny logo could be misleading because companies purchase the logo to be placed on their product whether or not the product is really cruelty free or not.seeing this logo may have me wondering if the product is really cruelty free or not now that i know that the company has been misleading in the past.

    3b. Fair Trade Certified is for products that are fairly priced, contains no GMOs, no hazardous chemicals and has no child labor involved in the production of the product. Fair Trade products can come from farms in developed or developing countries. Basically the more you make fair trade purchases the more you can improve another community. Fair Trade works with all types of products. The Fair Trade products include: apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey, multi-ingredient foods, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea, and wine.

    3c. Eco-Cert certifies areas in organic farming, organic cosmetics and wellness, eco-products, environment, fair trade, quality and safety as well as organic textiles. The Eco-Cert group provides certification, analysis, private inspections, and expert services for sustainable development. Eco-Cert works internationally dealing with purchasing policies, communication and CO2, waste sorting, a network of approved representatives in the Groups subsidiaries, and completing a carbon assessment.

    4a. The design for the Environments Labeling Program is different from other eco-labels being that it focuses more on the science of things rather than social. Also this program works with other companies to help them find safer alternatives to the harmful chemicals that might harm the environment.

    5a. indoor air quality is important for me and just recently became even more important because my son has a hard time breathing so clean air and appropriate building materials are very important to have. We have a humidifier to help keep the air manageable.

  9. Melissa Worth says:

    1a) I am not familiar with the EcoLogo nor do I own any Eco-Labeled certified products; however, EcoLogo certifies sustainable products in a large variety of categories, and it is also North America’s largest environmental standard and certification mark. Acccording to their website, “the Program compares products/services with others in the same category, develops rigorous and scientifically relevant criteria that reflect the entire lifecycle of the product, and awards the EcoLogo to those that are verified by an independent third party as complying with the criteria.”

    1b) I do not own any GreenSeal certified products, but I am vaguely familiar with some of the GreenSeal certified hotels listed on their website. Like EcoLogo, it is another third-party certification company that certifies a wide variety of sustainable products, services, and companies.

    2a) According to their website, a food or other agricultural product is certified as USDA Organic if the product has been “produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” Also, in order to be USDA Organic certified, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used; however, not all products need to meet the same standards.

    2b) Quality Assurance International (QAI)is a USDA-accredited organic product certifying agency, and it is also a member of NSF International, which writes public health standards for food, water, nutritional supplements. According to their website, “A product marked ‘certified organic’ means that an accredited certifying agency, such as QAI, has verified that the product labeled as ‘organic’ is true to that organic labeling claim, as specified by the National Organic Program in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.”

    3a) The Leaping Bunny Logo is supposed to help consumers to identify “animal-friendly” products. However, the logo does not guarantee that a product or its ingredients haven’t been tested on animals; it only certifies that no new testing has been conducted on animals. Thus, many of the products that display the Leaping Bunny logo do contain ingredients that have been tested on animals in the past, and this could be misleading to consumers because the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) claims that “the only way to be 100% certain a company is ‘cruelty-free’ is to buy products from companies that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program.”

    3b) According to their website, “to use the Fair Trade Certified label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms and organizations, pay Fair Trade prices and premiums, and submit to a rigorous supply chain audit.” And the point of Fair Trade is to certify that products are fairly priced and that they contain no GMOs, hazardous chemicals, or child labor. There is a wide variety of Fair Trade Certified products, including everything from apparel and linens to sports balls, sugar, and coffee.

    3c) In addition to organic textiles, Eco-Cert also certifies other organic agricultural products, which are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or synthetic products. These products include natural and organic cosmetics, natural cleaning products, natural and organic home perfumes, as well as painting and coating products of natural origin. Ecocert is committed to promoting environmentally and socially responsible activities, and they aim to reduce their environmental impact by setting annual targets to reduce their CO2 emissions.

    4) Design for the Environment’s labeling program is different than others in the marketplace because the EPA uses a rigorous scientific evaluation to determine that the products are safer and more sustainable than conventional products. Also, the EPA considers the health of people and other living things, as well as the health of our water, air, and land. They also use data to ensure that the product performs well for its intended end use, and they consult with companies to help them to choose safer, more cost effective chemicals.

    5) GREENGUARD Certified products must meet stringent chemical emissions requirements. This means that building materials, such as paints, stains, and adhesives, are screened for more than 10,000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is important to consumers because these low-emissions building materials positively affect our indoor air quality. And indoor air quality protects human health and improves human life by reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals and other pollutants.

  10. Samantha Morton says:

    1a. EcoLogo certifies goods and services in two main categories: goods for the general public, and goods for major company purchasers. Goods intended for major company purchasers include the automotive, paper, building, furniture, and packaging industries. Goods for the every day consumer include a slew of categories: adhesives, cleaners, flooring, paints, envelopes, and items obscure as fireplace gels.
    I am in fact familiar with this label. I recognize it from the back of a landscaping truck, and remember thinking “I wonder if that is an example of green-washing…” Glad to have confirmed this logo is a reliable one. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the products in my house are EcoLogo certified because I have practically no control over what products come into my sorority house. It’s a bad excuse but a reality, at least for the remainder of this semester.
    1b. GreenSeal ceritifies goods and services as well. They have a large concentration on cleaning supplies, but they also specialize in hotels, construction materials, paints, and various paper functions. Maybe I am unaware of green labels, but I’m not familiar with this particular label. The same applies from my previous answer.
    2a. The USDA Organic label certifies cotton, dairy products, produce (fruits and vegetables), livestock and seed, poultry and eggs, and tobacco. No, all products are not measured alike. The saying “comparing apples and oranges” literally and figuratively applies here. According to their website “there are eight grades for beef, and three each for chickens, eggs, and turkeys. On the other hand, there are 38 grades for cotton, and more than 312 fruit, vegetable, and specialty product standards.”
    2b. Quality Assurance International was founded before any federal organic entity existed. Griff McLellan founded QAI in 1989 and differentiated himself from others in the organic field by “billing [farmers] based on cost and not client sales.” Today QAI is the leading organic certifying agents under the USDA’s National Organic Program. QAI is even recognized internationally, giving it a leg up on the USDA’s label. Additionally, QAI’s membership in the NSF further solidifies their sustainable efforts. I was surprised to discover their kosher supervision in certain departments as well.
    3a. The leaping bunny logo claims the cosmetics it approves of are cruelty free however, they often times are promoting companies that have used chemicals tested on animals in the past. The logo only guarantees no future testing will occur. Other companies have copied the leaping bunny logo and designed their own attempting to mimic the same statement. Most importantly there is no clear definition as to what animal-cruelty technically is.
    3b. The Fair Trade Logo indicates that the good supports sustainable farming methods and just prices for farming communities in developing countries. Products with that label are both socially and environmentally responsible. Fair Trade is a non-profit that uses the money it earns to pour back into the developing countries it supports. They use their earnings to build hospitals, schools, and provide the necessary tools for the people. They certify textiles, beans and grains, personal care products, cocoa, coffee, packaged foods, flowers, produce (fruits and veggies), honey, herbs/spices, nuts, sugar, wine and tea.

    3c. Eco-cert is an inspection and certification agency established to offer environmentally friendly agriculture. They specialize in the certification of organic agricultural products. Some of the products and areas they certify are organic farming, organic cosmetics and wellness, organic and fair trade products, organic cleaning products, and ecological green spaces. This company also aims to provide recognition to those participating in environmentally friendly agriculture methods of production.
    4a. The design for the Environments Labeling Program is different from other eco-labels for several reasons. Firstly, this organization looks into a product’s chemical breakup and identifies particular chemicals as safe or not. They also look into long and short term health and environmental effects for individuals, based on test results and research. The US EPA also works with companies. By doing this they know more about the product they’re endorsing and can come up with safer methods for manufacturing.
    5. With organizations like GreenSeal and GreenGuard we can all breathe a little easier…. (no pun intended). The GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality Certification gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emission limits. Limits such as the ones enforced by GreenGuard provide a healthier environment for us and our loved ones to live in. We were all once haunted by the fear of asbestos in our homes. Organizations such as these are both taking proactive approaches in keeping these harmful chemicals out of our home to begin with. It is a very attainable hope that these efforts will indeed improve the quality of life.
    3c. Eco-Cert was one of those labels that I actually guessed wrong on the green-washing “Name That Sin” quiz. I judged them by their label, two lines of red, all caps letters, in a basic font. Their roots come from France from where they have expanded to Europe and the western hemisphere. Eco Cert certifies organic farming, natural and organic cosmetics, natural cleaning products, natural and organic home perfumes, paintings and coatings from natural origin, organic and fair trade products, and the environmentally friendly production of aquatic plants and their processing.
    4a. The Design for the Environments Labeling Program distinguishes itself from other labels by examining the product in its entirety. Besides identifying the well known culprits they use the wealth of knowledge the EPA has collected to weed out some of the lesser known evils. Most importantly, they consider the chemistry of certain substances and how they react with one another. For example, when someone is taking multiple medications, a doctor must be consulted to see if the pills will react differently when mixed together. The same concept applies to our products.
    5. Low-emissions building materials means precisely what it sounds like. GreenGaurd certification tests the materials that go into our housing and office spaces- anything in the built environment. Under rigorous testing they must pass multiple standards of what the maximum toxicity is allowed. They follow the “guidance of ASTM Standards D-5116 and D-6670, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) testing protocol for furniture, the state of Washington’s protocol for interior furnishings and construction materials, Germany’s Blue Angel Program, California’s Department of Public Health Services (CDPH) Standard Practice for Specification Section 01350 and the ISO 16000 environmental testing series.”

  11. Mary Alice Jasperse says:

    1a. Ecologo is a third party certifier of environmentally friendly products. It is pretty difficult to wade through their website to actually figure out the kinds of things they certify. The products are not very clearly defined, and there aren’t pictures of the labels to help you figure out what exactly they are certifying. They do have all kinds of consumer products, building products, janitorial cleaning products, office supplies, and packaging materials. They certify a company that’s called “Lessen my flight” that supposedly makes flights green house gas neutral. However, you cannot click on any of the products to see a company biography or anything like that. Because the site is so difficult to use and not really aimed at making consumers well-informed, I am inclined to be wary of this third-party certifier. I do not think I have ever seen their label on a household product, and after checking I did not find any. After looking at their website, I am not sure I would feel better about a product just because it was Ecologo certified.
    1b. GreenSeal is a non-profit third party environmental product certifier. I feel much more comfortable with this website. You can search by company or by product or by type of good, so when I searched “Clorox” I found all the “Greenworks” products made by Clorox that are certified by GreenSeal. The fact that the company is nonprofit scored a bunch of points with me because I am much less inclined to think that they just certify any product for a fee. While I have seen some of these products, I could not find any products around my house that also had this seal of approval. Until researching the label, I had no idea what the label stood for. I am more familiar with labels like “USDA Organic” and “Fair Trade Certified.” It is important for me to start looking at these other product labels as I start buying more cleaning products.
    2a. I did not realize that the USDA let other third-party agents in the U.S. and around the world certify their products. Apparently there is only one certifier in Georgia, and it is located in Athens. The USDA certifies all kinds of products including fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, as well as processors of organic products. Different products are graded under different criteria. However, there is a National List of prohibited substances that cannot be used in any process.
    2b. Quality Assurance International is a third-party agent that is certified to evaluate USDA Certified Organic products. QAI certifies many products including Allegro coffee and Annie’s foods. There is a huge list on the website of the various companies that are accredited through QAI. QAI is interesting because it can certify products for being gluten-free and kosher, certifications that are not really offered through the USDA. However, a third party that evaluates gluten-free products is extremely important for individuals’ health that requires honest “Gluten-free” labeling.
    3a. The leaping bunny represents companies that do not test products on animals, symbolizing cruelty-free production. The website also has announcements about companies like Revlon and Clinique who have not shown complete transparency in their production methods. This “shock and shame” method could be effective for many large companies. Potential issues with this label could include the fact that the leaping bunny is not the only cruelty-free label. On the website, there is a reference to fraudulent cruelty-free labels. Therefore, as consumers, it could be confusing as to which cruelty free labels are real and which ones aren’t. For instance, I just looked at my shampoo and it has a “cruelty free” label that is a bunny, but the bunny doesn’t look like the “leaping bunny.”
    3b. The Fair Trade label strives to “use a market-based approach that gives farmers fair prices, workers safe conditions, and entire community’s resources for fair, healthy and sustainable lives. To me, this means that the organization is trying to let consumers differentiate among products that exploit international communities and those that pay workers a living wage and are positively impacting the environment. The Fair Trade label certifies apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, fruits and vegetables, honey, herbs and spices, tea, wine, cocoa, coffee, packaged foods, flowers and plants, sugar, nuts and oilseeds, spirits and sports balls. So, tons of products.
    3c. Ecocert has French roots and has an ongoing commitment to organic farming. According to the website, Ecocert has specialized in the certification of organic agriculture since its start-up in 1991. The inspections and certifications performed by Ecocert are based on standards of natural and organic cosmetics, natural cleaning products, natural and organic home perfumes, paintings and coatings products from natural origin, Ecocert Fair Trade, Ecological green spaces, inputs eligible for use in organic farming, and environmentally friendly production of aquatic plants and their processing. Overall, the company seems to take a holistic approach to their label.
    4a. The EPADesign for the Environment label is somewhat different from other labels because it evaluates the chemicals in comparison to other chemicals in the same category. Also, it evaluates the chemicals and their reactions to each other. In other words, not just singular chemicals and their known toxicity, but how potentially harmless chemicals could interact in a harmful way if mixed together. This is reassuring. I also think that the label must be somewhat valid for a governmental agency to put their name on it. The EPA is definitely acting in the best interest of the consumer, which separates it from some labels.
    5. In order to have low emission building materials, the materials and coatings of the materials (paint, etc.) must not release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. This is extremely important given the amount of time we spend indoors (for most Americans, 90%), particularly when we see the outdoor air as the somewhat dirty air and the indoor air as the relatively cleaner source. If anything, our indoor air should filter and clean air from the outdoors! Although optimally, this would not be necessary. Homes should not be built to be torn down, so their materials should be built to last and built to be safe. It makes sense to want the lowest emission building materials possible.

  12. Brittany Biggers says:

    1a. EcoLogo represents a third-party that thoroughly inspects various types of products to judge their level of environmental leadership. The EcoLogo label is given to the best products in their respective category. This label can be put on multiple different types of products, ranging anywhere from paper products to car supplies to building supplies. I do not have EcoLogo products and I have never heard of the label before.

    1b. Being GreenSeal certified means that the product is focused on being sustainable and that it meets the highest standards for environmental performance. I had not previously been aware of this label, and I do not own any products with this label.

    2a. The USDA Organic label certifies that the product was produced using approved methods that ensure the practices of production help to conserve biodiversity, help the natural cycle of resources in an ecologically balanced environment. There are different standards for all categories of products.

    2b. Quality Assurance International guarantees that the product is organic. QAI accomplishes this with a business-like attitude, ensuring that the standards are not politically or monetarily motivated.

    3a. The Leaping Bunny label tells the consumer that the product was made and tested without any animal cruelty. It gets criticism because companies have been known to create their own bunny label that fits to their individual definition of cruelty-free. This lead to a mistrust in the label as a whole.

    3b. The Fair Trade logo ensures that the farmer who produced the product was fairly compensated for their product. The label also guarantees that the farmers are using sustainable practices. The types of products that Fair Trade certifies include: apparel and linens, beans and grains, body care, cocoa, coffee, flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey, multi-ingredient foods, nuts and oilseeds, spirits, sports balls, sugar, tea and wine.

    4. Design for the Environment is different from other certification programs because it looks at the specific chemicals in the products and how they affect environmental and health scales. They also work with the companies to help to improve their products and to make them more sustainable.

    5. Using low-emission building materials in a building will result in healthy indoor air quality, because they release less pollutants into the indoor environment.

  13. Kelsey Savell says:

    1.EcoLogo certifies a broad range of products, from hotels to envelopes to tissues. The website reports that currently they have over 250 product types. Criteria for certification are developed from researching the variety of products available on the market in a given category and identifying the qualities of products that are most desirable from a life cycle perspective. Criteria are designed so that only the top 20 percent of products on the market may be eligible for certification. All products are assessed through third parties. I have seen this label in stores before, but was not aware of how criteria are developed until now. I have no eco-label products in my home.

    2.Green Seal also certifies a broad range of products, including hotels, envelopes, and tissues. They report having 30 standards for over 327 product and service categories. They have been active for longer, which may explain why they have more product categories. Their website uses the same phrasing as EcoLogo when talking about criteria development, so I assume that the International Organization for Standardization has provided some guidelines in this respect (“standards have a life cycle approach and are open, transparent, and include stakeholder input”). The only main difference I noticed was that EcoLogo seems to be more consumer-oriented, and Green Seal seems to target businesses. I have also seen this label in stores, and though I was not familiar with the exact criteria for certification, have purchased Green Seal certified products in the past.

    3.The USDA organic certification is concerned with food exclusively. Food products eligible for organic certification do not contain synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms and are not processed using industrial solvents or chemical food additives. All foods labeled “organic” in the United States contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. Organic certification works to address cultural, biological, and mechanical processes that are conducive to resource cycling, ecological balance, and biodiversity. There are exceptions to these regulations, as well as more stringent regulations for certain foods. For example, additional requirements for organic livestock include regular access to a pasture and the absence of antibiotic and growth hormone treatments.

    4.Leaping Bunny certifies that the products on its list are “cruelty free,” meaning the products are not tested on animals in any stage of development. However, Leaping Bunny only certifies that no NEW testing is being done on animals, not that a company has never conducted tests on animals. Some people find this misleading because a lot of products are a few years old. A company could conduct tests on animals while developing a product and only apply for certification after the product is released. In this situation, the label is misleading because the product was indeed used on animals; the company just isn’t conducting tests anymore. Furthermore, Leaping Bunny makes no assurances about the healthfulness of its products for human use.

    5.Fair Trade means that a company pays a living wage to the farmers whom it obtains products from. This is especially important in developing countries where poverty-stricken farmers are often in a position to be taken advantage of. By ensuring farmers receive a fair price for their goods, Fair Trade companies promote sustainable agriculture and healthy living. Fair Trade USA also encourages farmers to develop organic agriculture. Products that can be fair trade certified: tea, cocoa, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, honey, wine, flowers, grains, and rubber products.

    6.Ecocert certifies natural and organic perfumes, natural cleaning products, painting and coating products, proper ecological management of land and carbon, fair trade practices, organic cosmetics and wellness, organic farming, organic textiles, and proper quality and safety standards. Ecocert is a worldwide certification organization based in France. It mostly is concerned with food products, but is also concerned with cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, and textiles. However, they certify “natural” products, and as we have discussed in class before, natural does not necessarily mean healthy. I think this is misleading and I am not sure if I fully trust this company.

    7.The US EPA’s Design for the Environment certification is different from others because certifications are conducted by a team of experts familiar with chemicals that sound foreign to the average consumer. Because of this knowledge, the EPA has a better understanding of all the implications of ingredients—from human health concerns, to environmental concerns, to social concerns. It can also make judgments about ingredients that scientific studies have not yet been able to research because of its knowledge of the relationships between chemicals and hazards. In addition to having safer ingredients, products with the EPA’s certification must also be packaged in an environmentally friendly manner and disclose all of its ingredients either on the product or online.

    8.GreenGaurd indoor products have low chemical and particle emissions as established by the EPA’s regulations. This means that they do not interfere with the indoor air quality of a facility (i.e. you know you aren’t breathing in toxins when you enter). Most building materials are evaluated one to two weeks after installation. Electronics must meet emission standards while they are in use. Indoor building materials can emit volatile organic compounds into the air, which are harmful to human health. Children are especially at risk to these adverse consequences, and because most people today spend the majority of their time indoors, it is important to be conscious of the quality of the air we are breathing inside our homes and offices.

  14. Karen Cotton says:

    1a. Ecologo is one of North America’s most trusted eco labels that certify a wide variety of products. Ecologo is guided by the principles of transparency. They certify products ranging from automotive products, household products,paper products to furniture. I use a couple of Ecologo products such as Zep Clinging Shower Cleaner and Kleenex multi-fold napkins.

    1b. Green Seal certifies life cycle based sustainable products, services and companies. I use Eco – Lab Exterminating Services. I like the fact that the Green Seal is a non-profit organization and the standards are created with the input of diverse participants such as the government, public interest and private – sector groups.

    2a. The USDA Organic label certifies Organic farming systems that uses ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production. Different products are graded under different criteria; however, ingredients must not consist of any substance not on the approved National List.

    2b. Quality Assurance International (QAI) is the “Top Gun” of organic certification services worldwide. QAI verify the organic integrity at each phase of products handling from compliance with organic standards for agriculture producers to packing operations to distribution to the retailers. QAI is a member of the NSF which is a public health and safety organization who enables QAI to assist organic producers with their food safety needs.

    3a. The Leaping Bunny Logo represents “The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics”. It suggests to consumers that no new animal testing is used in any phase of the development of the product. One of the biggest complaints is that it has been proven that animal testing may have taken place in the early phase of making the product i.e. in the ingredients. The bunny could also be misleading because consumers may see the leaping bunny and assume that the product is as safe as a cute little hopping bunny.

    3b. The Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The following products are Fair Trade certified: Timothy’s Colombian and Nicaraguan blend coffee, Humi Teas, Kopali organic cocoa.

    3c. Ecocert was founded in 1991 in France and is an organic certification company and is one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world. Ecocert certifies food, food products, cosmetics, detergents, perfumes, and textiles. Over 30% of the organic food world-wide is certified by Ecocert.

    4a. The US EPA Design for the Environment program helps consumers, businesses, and institutional buyers identify cleaning and other products that are safe for the environment. Products that have been certified as safe for the environment are allowed to display the Design for the Environment (DFE) label. Theorically, if a product displays the DFE label, customers can see the label displayed and be assured that the product is safe for the environment. The DFE is unique or different from other labeling because of its assessment methodology and its technical team. The technical team is supposed to be one of the most highly experienced and skilled in assessing chemical hazards and identifying safer chemical alternatives.

    5. GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI) certified indoor building products help to ensure that indoor air quality is safe. One of the biggest sources of indoor air pollution are volatile organic compounds (VOCs); chemicals released into the air from common household products. By using GEI certified products consumers are assured that the products are manufactured safely and will not emit harmful pollutants into the air within their homes.

  15. cam gordon says:

    1a. EcoLogo is organization based in North America, originally started by the Canadian government that awards their logo to products that meet stringent environmental standards for sustainability, either industrial or consumer. I own no products that bear this seal, perhaps because I seldom pay attention to anything with strong Canadian ties. However, it seems that their verification process is rigorous enough to earn the accolades of many.

    1b. The GreenSeal represents a non-profit organization whose mission statement claims to enable a more sustainable world through science-based verification programs. This seal may be found primarily on cleaning products used for hotels or other commercial businesses. I checked around and did not find their green check mark on any product at my residence.

    2a. USDA Organic can be found anywhere food sellers market organic products. Run under USDA standards, their guidelines restrict the use of chemicals, certain fertilizers, and other processes that aren’t “natural” in production up to a ninety-five percent threshold, with the exception of those labeled 100% Organic. These standards apply to food for the most part, but doesn’t exclude personal care and dietary supplements. To cosmetic products that bear this seal it may serve as just that, cosmetic.

    2b. Quality Assurance International verifies organic products in accordance with USDA standards, although it predates the current National Organic program. As a member of NSF International, their seal of assurance goes beyond the boundaries of the U.S. alone, meaning that any imported or not product that bears this seal can still be trusted as organic.

    3a. Leaping Bunny. Any cosmetic, personal or household product with the logo is created by a company that does not endorse or employ animal testing, “cruelty-free”. Many consider animal testing of products unsavory, however this seal does not guarantee that ingredients listed in some of the products have not, in fact, been tested on animals. This arises from a set of standards that is not completely unified between the groups that verify. Also, what constitutes animal cruelty remains a subjective topic, and as such this label should not be taken merely at face value.

    3b. Fair Trade requires that any of their certified products are fairly priced and GMO, hazardous pesticide, and child labor free. The organization aims to help and encourage the growth of small-scale producers in developing nations through price balancing and other aids as well as to ensure quality. Fair Trade products can be found in just about any category running from coffee, tea, produce, herbs and spices, to textiles, spirits, flowers, and even sports balls.

    3c. In addition to textiles, Eco-Cert certifies food and agricultural products, cosmetics, detergents, and perfumes. Originally founded in France, Eco-Cert and its subsidiaries account for a sizable chunk of worldwide organic certification, heavily invested in fair trade and clean, sustainable agricultural practices.

    4a. The process for U.S. EPA Design for the Environment is more specific than other eco-labels because it investigates the actual make-up of a product. By scientifically ascertaining the specific chemical composition used and comparing them against known compounds found to be health or environmentally hazardous, this EPA certification is more rigorous than others. Companies seeking this eco-label must expose their proprietary formulas to a panel of trained experts and scientists, working with them to help improve upon and change their products.

    5. GreenGuard certification of low emission building materials ensures that noxious chemicals do not make it into the built environment in the first place. By administering strict chemical emissions tests, GreenGuard’s seal of approval is backed by various agency guidelines for such emissions. Indoor air quality is of paramount concern to businesses, schools, and families alike. It is important to take this into consideration when thinking about sustainability, the built environment, and its prospects for the future.

  16. Aubrey says:

    Area 1:
    a)Eco logo is “a third party certification of environmentally-prefferable products” . The website explains that the program was developed by the Canadian government, but is internationally recognized. They provide comparisons of products and services, which i think is helpful so consumers can get an idea of where products fall in each particular category. They also have scientific data to support the certifications they make. Eco Logo certifies a very wide variety of products. In searching I found everything from office supplies, to shampoo to car products, the best kind of electricity use, beauty care and even the best bed and breakfasts; it is definitely far reaching as far as product certification. I was surprised to find that I had never heard of this label, and I do not have anything Eco logo certified, but I will be looking for it in the future!
    b)Green Seal is an independent non profit organization who provide similar services to that of Eco Logo. They have a focus on sustainability and the whole life cycle of a product. Their mission reads ,”Green Seal’s mission is to use science-based programs to enable consumers, purchasers and companies to create a more sustainable world.” Green seal certifies many different products such as household products, construction materials and equipment, food packaging and paints. They also promote companies all over the US that are certified in “green cleaning services”. I am unfamiliar with the label and do not have anything with the certification even among my “green products”. The website says that although the products are available at places like office depot and home depot, a lot of the product use happens business to business so that might be a reason why I do not have more Green Seal certified products.
    Area 2:
    a)The USDA aims to, “integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”The certifications include products in the areas of dairy, fruits and vegetables, livestock and feed,poultry, and tobacco. Not all products are held to the same standards of certifications. For example, there are different standard grades each category is approved by
    b) QAI is a product certifying agency which focuses on organic products. They are accredited by the USDA and is also a member f the NSF international family of companies, which is an organization that writes public health standards. They help educate and bring knowledge to many sectors including “crop production, food manufacturing, personal care products, dietary supplements, livestock, honey, maple syrup, poultry and eggs, sea vegetables, dairy, mushrooms, hydroponics, greenhouses, distribution, retail and foodservice.” It is important for consumers of organic because they are involved in many stages of the chain, not just the bare minimum certifications. It seems that they go above and put integrity into all steps of their process. They seem different than the USDA because they are mow involved and less “policy” based. By this I mean the motives behind their accreditation keep more than regulation and profit in mind, but also the core issue of the importance of integrity throughout the process.
    Area 3:
    a)The leaping bunny logo represents products that are produced without cruelty to animals. The questions and criticisms raised bring into question what the exact standards and guidelines this considers. Other companies have committed what I think is the greenwashing of the animal cruelty sector because they produce symbols that are similar to this bunny logo which make the consumer think they are accountable. They want to make sales, but in some cases the product is not completely reliable.
    b) Fair Trade is a non profit non charity organization that teaches disadvantages communities how to use the free market to their advantage. The certification of the products ensure that they are produced sustainably and that the farmer who produced it was treated fairly and justly. they certify many categories of products, some which include apparel, coffee, sugar, flowers, and grains to name a few
    c) Eco cert is a company that certifies, but mostly inspects companies who have sustainable certification of some kind in the area of agriculture. They produce proof of compliance these companies.They do this because for the consumer it is important to know that the company you’re purchasing from can say that they are in compliance of the standards they are held to. They encourage responsible practice in not just agriculture but also in the areas of cosmetics, cleaning products, paints and finishes, and perfumes.
    Area 4:
    a)Design for the environment is different for many reasons. It takes into account the people and the environments and delivers that information in a consumer friendly and easy to understand manor. Every ingredient has been scientifically researched, not just a basic overview of ‘is this product mostly good’ , so they have high standards. Also the products must work well, so the consumer knows they aren’t buying something thats safe for the environment but sucks, which is important since one of the main reasons consumers stated that they don’t have sustainable behavior is that they felt a product gave false promises. It is a good way to get people to join the movement and stay a part of it.
    Area 5:
    a) Low emission building materials are imperative for indoor air quality. The things we fill our homes with emit chemicals that pollute our air. We spend most of the time indoors, so having materials around us that give off the lowest level of these chemicals is imperative to our all around health. Obviously the less filth in the air, the higher the quality of the air we breath and that enters our bodies.

  17. Heather B. says:

    1a. EcoLogo is a “third party” organization whose aim is to identify the most eco-friendly products on the market in various categories and to present their findings to consumers and corporations. They certify products that hold up to rigorous scientific testing and are then labeled with the EcoLogo symbol to signify to consumers that it is a sustainable, legitimate green choice. I haven’t heard of this that I know of and though I have other certified products in my home, none are “EcoLogo” certified.
    1b. GreenSeal is a similar “third party” organization which also certifies products with their label after successfully passing various scientific lifecycle testing. Again, their goal is to communicate their well-researched findings to empower the consumer when making daily product selection. I have Dial dishwashing/hand soap which is certified by GreenSeal.
    2a. The USDA certifies various foods as organic according to varying standards depending upon the category- whether crops, livestock or multi-ingredient foods. “The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.”

    2b. The Quality Assurance International is a USDA-accredited certifying agent and is one of the leading providers of organic certification services worldwide. “QAI’s programs verify organic integrity at each link of the product handling chain, helping to assure compliance with organic standards for agricultural producers, food processing facilities, integrated manufacturing operations, contract packing operations, traders, distributors, retailers, and ultimately, for consumers.” QAI offers assurance that every step of food farming, cleaning, packing, shipping, stocking, and more has been scrupulously examined and tested to insure that the product is truly 100% safely organic.
    3a. The LeapingBunny logo appears on cosmetics that have been proven to use testing practices other than those that involve cruelty to animals and are sponsored by various animal rights, research, and rescue groups. When companies began making their own bunny logos and claiming to be cruelty-free by their own skewed standards, not by the legitimate standards of animal protection programs, consumers began to distrust LeapingBunny. Other organizations are joining forces with LeapingBunny to establish one unified symbol with one unified, legitimized definition of animal-friendly, cruelty free practices.
    3b. Fair Trade aims to help support farmers in often underdeveloped countries by “auditing the global supply chain” and giving them “direct access to buyers and the US market”. Fair trade connects products in numerous categories to our market including: beans and grains, apparel and linens, body care, cocoa, coffee, flowers, fresh produce, herbs and spices, honey, spirits, sugar, tea, and wine.
    3c. Ecocert is dedicated to judging products to the strictest of their own long-researched standards of what truly makes an item environmentally safe, healthy, and sustainable. They are involved in certifying natural and organic cosmetics, natural cleaning products, natural and organic home perfumes, paint and coating products of natural origin, organic fair trade products, ecological green spaces, chemicals used in organic farming such as fertilizers, and environmentally friendly production of aquatic plants to be used in supplements and other products.
    4a. The EPA’s stated mission is “to protect the health of people and the environment”. They accomplish this goal partly by labeling products which have been evaluated and determined as safe by their chemical and toxicological experts who base their approval off of thorough research of each ingredient. A consumer can feel good about their product selection knowing that only those safest for the people and environment are approved by the EPA. “The program empowers consumers to protect their health and minimize impact on the environment through everyday purchasing decisions.” The EPA works with companies to inform them of healthier options and encourage them to make the change to improve our environment and likely their sales as well.

    5a. Low-emission products are those that limit the number of harmful chemicals in their composition that can eventually spread into the air and compromise respiratory health in your home, school, office, etc. Some ways to help achieve such an environment comes from using products that limit moisture which hosts mold and mold spores known to cause respiratory problems. Also, using approved, alternative furnishings, building materials, and various other household products can reduce harmful airborne particulates. One way to limit particulates that are brought in from the outdoors on shoes or clothing is to install walk-off mats at doorways or to often check and change air filters as needed. Also, allowing an influx of outdoor air will help with ventilation. It may increase energy costs if the heating or air conditioning is running, however it is important not to constantly be breathing in stale, circulated air.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: