Below are a list of certification labels that demonstrate a product or service adheres to a specific set of green standards (based on the Gauteng Event Greening Guidelines available in our resource section). Certification is a good way to quickly assess the green credentials of something before making a purchase. More details available on the Eco Label Index.
Energy Star is the trusted United States government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
Fair Trade is an internationally recognised approach to trading that aims to ensure that producers in poor countries get a fair deal, including a fair price for goods and services, decent working conditions, and a commitment from buyers to provide reasonable security for the producers.
Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable tourism development. This is done through awareness raising, research and advocacy, capacity building, and facilitating the world’s first tourism fair-trade certification programme.
Forest Stewardship Council is a certification system that provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment, as well as providing ongoing business value.
Green Building Council of South Africa promotes buildings that are energy efficient, resource efficient, environmentally responsible, and incorporate design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate any negative impact on the environment and the buildings occupants. It is an opportunity to use resources efficiently and address climate change, while creating healthier and more productive environments for people to live and work in.
EcoStandard’s vision is to be a trusted certification body to set environmental standards of excellence to measure and rate a product, manufacturer and or service provider within the building sector in South Africa. We intend to generate the demand and use of environmentally responsible organisations by participating in the global initiative to create the awareness of environmental consideration of our planet.
Heritage SA is an environmental rating and management system based on the application of simple and effective environmentally friendly and responsible operating standards across various business operation aspects.
Organics There are a range of different organic certification bodies that promote organic agriculture and food processing. They interface with farmers, retailers and government to further the aims and objectives of the organic movement, to the benefit of producers, processors, consumers and our environment.
South African Bureau of Standards is the national institution for the promotion and maintenance of standardisation and quality in connection with commodities and the rendering of services.
Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative aims to improve the conservation status of overexploited seafood species, through educating and raising awareness among all participants in the seafood trade “ from wholesalers and restaurateurs through to seafood lovers.
The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. We use our blue MSC label and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans.
The main reason why the EGF encourages the use of certified products and services is to avoid “greenwashing”, which refers to the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
The following seven sins of greenwashing have been identified by TerraChoice on their website Sins of Greenwashing, with a brief overview provided below:
Hidden Trade-off: A claim suggesting that a product is ‘green’ based on a narrow set of attributes without attention to other important environmental issues. Paper, for example, is not necessarily environmentally-preferable just because it comes from a sustainably-harvested forest. Other important environmental issues in the paper-making process, such as greenhouse gas emissions, or chlorine use in bleaching may be equally important.
No Proof: An environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification. Common examples are facial tissues or toilet tissue products that claim various percentages of post-consumer recycled content without providing evidence.
Vagueness: A claim that is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer. ‘All-natural’ is an example. Arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all naturally occurring, and poisonous. ‘All natural’ isn’t necessarily ‘green’.
False Labels: A product that, through either words or images, gives the impression of third-party endorsement where no such endorsement exists; fake labels, in other words.
Irrelevance: An environmental claim that may be truthful but is unimportant or unhelpful for consumers seeking environmentally preferable products. ‘CFC-free’ is a common example, since it is a frequent claim despite the fact that CFCs are banned by law.
Lesser of two evils: A claim that may be true within the product category, but that risks distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category as a whole. Organic cigarettes could be an example of this Sin, as might the fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle.
Fibbing: Environmental claims that are simply false. The most common examples were products falsely claiming to be Energy Star certified or registered.