Saturday, November 28, 2009

Green Seal's New Business Certification Aims to Catalyze the Green Marketplace

As huge proponents of measures to improve the credibility of the green marketplace, we at CVI were thrilled to hear about GreenSeal's new business certification, which aims 'to catalyze the green marketplace.

As GreenBiz reports:

Green Seal, the nonprofit certification group, is celebrating its 20th anniversary by undertaking a dramatic shift in its operations: In addition to continuing to certify individual products and services as environmentally friendly, the group has just launched a company certification pilot project that aims to measure, verify and push for continuous improvement of a company's entire operations.

The group is aiming high as well: Weissman said they've been talking primarily to Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies, rather than just already-green firms that would likely have an easy time earning certification.

"We want to have a balance -- if this program just became the Seventh Generations of the world, it's not going to change much in the marketplace," Weissman said. "That's not to denigrate them at all, a green-oriented company does a great service, but if they were the only ones to participate in the pilot I don't think we'd be very effective in trying to do a rapid transformation of the consumer marketplace."

The certification will feature three levels -- Bronze, Silver and Gold -- and Weissman anticipated that all companies will enter the certification at the Bronze level, leaving plenty of room for improvement, a key element of the project.

Among the impacts under assessment in the certification are greenhouse gas emissions, water use and conservation, biodiversity impact, and other issues. (The nearly 70-page standard laying out the entire process is available for download [PDF] from But in another big shift for Green Seal, the process will look beyond companywide environmental practices and lifecycle assessments to factor in issues of governance, supply chain, and labor and human rights. In so doing, Weissman said that the certification will also cover Walmart suppliers, who as a result of the recently launched Sustainability Index are already facing these issues.

I really look forward to seeing these standards in action.  We'll keep you posted as this story develops, so stay tuned to CV Notes...

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