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ecology-minded

R3 Certifying Organizations

When customers ask questions about certified green products, they expect their distributors will make sure the products they offer are certified by a credible organization. Going green is offering products that have been certified environmentally preferable by an independent third party. Nationally there are dozens of organizations that set standards or certify products but only a select few are accepted by the majority.

GREEN SEAL is a 20-year-old non-profit organization (established in 1989) that has become the largest ecolabeling organization in the country. Green Seal uses a multi-attribute system to certify products, looking at the entire life cycle of a product from the raw materials used to make it, to whether it is recyclable or disposable. The product standards it has developed were created with input from public, industry, academia and government agencies. Further, these standards must meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), International Standards Organization (ISO) and other third party certifier requirements. Green Seal funding comes from foundations, application and certification fees. They have no affiliation with any government program and do not accept donations from manufacturers.

Green Seal has always certified products and has now begun certifying cleaning services by awarding their Environmental Standard for Cleaning Services (GS-42). To qualify a building, the service contractor must use green chemicals and equipment, implement green cleaning procedures, provide employee training, communicate with building owners and occupants and establish a building-specific green cleaning plan. GS-42 can be used for certification and verification. It provides incentive to service providers who can advertise themselves as green certified and serve as a reliable tool for purchasers to determine which service providers are environmentally responsible.