Certification Labels - Find out what they mean

Why should I look for them?

Certification Labels are something we have all seen on many products but have we really SEEN them? Would you know what any of them stand for? My guess is that many of would not know what they mean, nor why we should be looking for them.

These days many products have the word Organic in their labeling but it is not necessarily organic, not all ingredients have to be on the label, and that is why you should look for Certification Labels on your products. These labeling bodies ensure that any product that carries their labels follow their strict guidelines for Organic and Natural production methods.

To ensure you are getting an organic product you can learn to make your own as I have done (above photo), or start Label spotting!

The following is a list of Certification Labels, who they belong to, and what they are certifying. Then when you are shopping, you will start to recognize them on quality products and know you are buying a safe product that meets your own quality standards.

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Certification of Natural and Organic Cosmetics in three grades. The NATRUE-Label for Natural and Organic Cosmetics is international and not for profit. All products that meet the criteria can obtain the label and will be certified with the corresponding of the following three grades: Natural Cosmetics, Natural Cosmetics with Organic Ingredients, Organic Cosmetics.
The product database contains all NATRUE certified products.

Besides water, certified products contain only natural ingredients, derived natural ingredients and nature-identical ingredients. Minimum and maximum levels for these ingredient groups are strictly regulated per product type.

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The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between the health of the soil, food, people and the environmental. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading organic organisation, with over 200 staff based in Bristol and Edinburgh. It is an educational charity with some 27,000 members, and its certification subsidiary, Soil Association Certification Ltd, certifies over 80% of organic farming and food processing in the UK.
Organic standards cover all aspects of food production and packaging, animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and ban unnecessary and harmful food additives in organic processed foods. Soil Association standards not only meet the UK government's minimum requirements but exceed them – especiallyin areas concerning the environment and animal welfare. We have also developed standards for areas not covered by government or EU regulations. These include conservation, fish farming, textiles and health and beauty care products.
For more information on our standards, please visit the website.

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The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards.
What is organic? Organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

The OFPA required the U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop national standards for organically produced agricultural products to assure consumers that agricultural products marketed as organic meet consistent, uniform standards. The OFPA and the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations require that agricultural products labeled as organic originate from farms or handling operations certified by a State or private entity that has been accredited by USDA.

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What is the Global Organic Textile Standard?
GOTS is an independent, voluntary standard which promotes textile processing for organic fibers through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing. Its certification applies to the production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fiber products and is backed up by independent certification. Organic fiber production is not directly covered by the GOTS certification system as GOTS does not set standards for organic fiber cultivation itself. Fiber producers (farmers) must be certified according to a recognized international or national organic farming standard that is accepted in the country where the final product will be sold.

The GOTS standard results from the joints efforts of the International Working Group which is constituted of four reputable organizations (Organic Trade Association, USA; Soil Association, UK; International Association Natural Textile Industry, IVN; Japan Organic Textile Association, Japan) with expertise in organic (fiber) farming and environmentally and socially responsible textile processing and manufacturing.

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Green Seal Certification ensures that a product meets rigorous, science-based leadership standards. This gives manufacturers the assurance to back up their claims and purchasers confidence that certified products are better for human health and the environment.

Green Seal develop life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offer third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard. Green Seal has been actively identifying and promoting sustainability in the marketplace, and helping organizations be greener in a real and effective way since 1989.

A list of all Green Seal-certified products and services can be found by clicking here.

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LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is intended to provide building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The Philip Merrill Environmental Center is recognized as one of the "greenest" buildings ever constructed. Sustainability issues ranging from energy use to material selection were given serious consideration throughout design and construction of this facility. It was the first building to receive a Platinum rating through the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System, version 1.0.

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The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. In keeping with that mission, GEI certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a free resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments.

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GreenCert: a designation for Interior Paints and Commercial Coatings.
Diversified Brands, made up of brands including Dutch Boy, Pratt & Lambert, Krylon and Conco have internally developed the Green Cert designation. It is designed for products it manufactures to give environmentally conscious consumers and contractors who require high product performance the information and confidence they need to make product decisions.

What is Fair Trade?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fair trade is a financial relationship between producers, sellers, and consumers on the principle of equity within the exchange of goods. Equity is achieved via creating a platform for trade that is transparent and therefore accountable for the just treatment of all producers. This includes providing market avenues that allow marginalized producers the opportunity to sell, ensuring humane working conditions, and all the while protecting environmental and cultural factors that play into the production process.
There are nine main principles by which all fair trade abides: create opportunities for marginalized producers, develop transparent relationships, build capacity, promote fair ensure children’s rights, cultivate environmental stewardship, and respect cultural identity.[1]
Fair Trade focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold.
The practice of fair trade places the communities involved in both selling and buying products as the primary focus, attempting to create a partnership which is beneficial to both parties.[2]

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