Category Archives: certifications

Green Certification Awarded to French Supermarket in China

China Certification & Inspection Group has reportedly issued the Green Market Certification to Carrefour’s six stores in Beijing, making the French supermarket one of the first retailers to gain the certification in the Beijing region.

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Liu Shengming, chairman of CCIC, told local media that the Green Market Certification has been fully launched in the retail sector of Beijing. Green Market Certification is a national certification system co-developed by the Ministry of Commerce together with the Certification & Accreditation Administration of China. Organizations that have obtained the Green Market Certification are allowed to use the uniform certification board. The Green Market Certification logo can be used in their marketing materials or other relevant information.

Luc Vandevelde, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Carrefour, has revealed the plan for Carrefour’s first green shopping center, where rainwater and energy can be recycled. Compared with a regular architecture, the green shopping center can save up to 30% in water and energy. In addition, it will use efficient materials to reduce the consumption of resources.

China Certification & Inspection Group, Shenzhen Company Ltd. operates a wide network of over 300 offices and laboratories which are located in major ports and cargo distribution centers around the world. With over 20 years’ experience in the inspection and certification field, CCIC has established cooperation relationships with more than 120 inspection and certification companies in over 60 countries and regions, including foreign organizations such as UL, CSA, and TUV Rhineland.(Source: China Sourcing News)

Introducing the Eco-Scale rating system for cleaning products

Wholefoods has recently introduced its new Eco-Scale rating system, a color-coded system under which products will be rated, red, orange, yellow or green based on the sp

ecific set of environmental and sourcing standards each product meets.

The company said it is committed to working with vendors to evaluate and independently audit every product in its cleaning category.  Red-rated products do not meet the Eco-Scale standards and will not be sold at Whole Foods Market.

Naturally, the green color code is the highest possible rating, ensuring that products have all of these features:

  • ✓ Full transparency, disclosure of ingredients on packaging by April 2012
  • ✓ Independent 3rd party verified compliance to standards
  • ✓ No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns
  • ✓ No formaldehyde-donors, preservatives which have the potential to release formaldehyde
  • ✓ No phosphates, chlorine, or synthetic colors
  • ✓ No animal testing
  • ✓ 100% natural fragrances
  • ✓ No ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns
  • ✓ No DEA, MEA or TEA—surfactants that have the potential to contain nitrosamines and other impurities
  • ✓ No synthetic, petroleum-derived thickeners made from nonrenewable sources
  • ✓ Only 100% natural ingredients
  • ✓ No petroleum- derived ingredients

Under current law, manufacturers do not have to disclose all ingredients in cleaning products. Under the Eco-Scale Rating System, Whole Foods Market’s household cleaning vendors will be required to list every ingredient on product packaging. To ensure compliance of the standards, all products will be audited through an independent third-party for verification before they are color-rated and labeled on shelves.

“Shoppers have a right to know what’s actually in the products they use to clean their homes,” said Jim Speirs, global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods Market. “We’ve always carefully monitored ingredients. Now, with Eco-Scale, we’re able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole.”

What is striking in fact is that almost three out of four (73 percent) adults falsely believe that the U.S.  government requires household cleaning products to provide a list of ingredients on the label, according to an online survey commissioned by Whole Foods and conducted by Harris Interactive in April among 2,483 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. Another two-thirds (64 percent) believe that many household cleaning brands opt to disclose the full list of ingredients on packaging, when in fact few provide this information on product labels. (Source: GreenRetail decisions, Wholefoods)

Sustainability Certifications and Reporting Tools: an overview

What follows is a great article published a while ago by CarbonPig that we suggest to all of you who are searching for a detailed list of the most important sustainability Certification Programs and sustainability Reporting Tools.
Obviously these are not the only ones available worldwide, but as correctly stated by Carbon Pig “(the listed certifications programs ) have had considerable traction in a variety of sectors including, green buildings, general sustainability reporting, etc“.

The Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative was created through the work of thousands of individual stakeholders internationally who seek to establish the number one sustainability certification program in the world. Their work has culminated in what is called the GRI Reporting Framework, which is currently released as Version 3.0, and is accordingly referred to as the G3 by those familiar with the framework used in sustainability reporting protocol.

The G3 Sustainability Reporting Framework focuses on key aspects of institutional sustainability and can be used by all types of organizations including private sector companies, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and non-profits. The reporting framework is organized around three main areas and includes 79 individual sustainability performance indicators. The main topic areas covered by the sustainability certification program are economic, social, and environmental.

In addition to the framework that all organizations must used, there are a number of sector-specific supplements including:

  • Electric Utilities
  • Financial Services
  • Food Processing
  • Mining and Metals
  • NGO
  • Airport Operators
  • Construction and Real Estate
  • Event Organizers
  • Media
  • Oil and Gas
  • Automotive
  • Logistics and Transportation
  • Public Agency
  • Telecommunications
  • Apparel and Footwear

Overall, the GRI is a very robust and well run sustainability reporting protocol for organizations wishing to disclose their sustainability performance. In fact, more than 1,700 organizations reported on their sustainability using the G3 in 2010. You can download a comprehensive list here  for all years. The reporting organizations include some big names like 3M, Clorox, Hitachi, Nestle, Siemens, and Xerox and there are sustainability reports available for them all.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative

The World Resources Institute and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development  jointly released the Greenhouse Gas Protocols  in 1998, that have since become the standard protocol for greenhouse gas accounting internationally. This sustainability reporting protocol used to measure greenhouse gas emissions is often a prerequisite for other sustainability certification programs.

When large institutions, governments, and companies need to measure their “carbon footprint”, they turn to this widely used two-phase methodology. Most organizations measure their scope I and scope II greenhouse gas emissions using this protocol and then, in the second phase, have their “greenhouse gas inventory” verified by a third party organization who provides oversight that the protocols were followed correctly and that the overall estimate is within 5% of the true value.

Product Life Cyle Accounting and Reporting Standard for Sustainable Product Certification

This “standard” is a recent addition to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative and allows companies to measure the carbon footprint of individual products, thereby serving as a sustainable product certification. It is currently in a draft phase. Remember that you learned about this sustainability reporting protocol on CarbonPig because it finally creates a way for organizations to account for their scope III emissions.
 

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System

The LEED green building certification system is focused on third party sustainability certification of buildings based on the LEED protocols contained in various manuals. The sustainability certification program is a consensus-based program drawing on the work of many stakeholders, industry leaders, and a dedicated staff. The system is currently in version III and covers the following general development types:

  • New Construction
  • Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance
  • Commercial Interiors
  • Core & Shell
  • Schools
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Homes
  • Neighborhood Development

For each of these categories there is a considerable amount of documentation that must be provided in order to meet the LEED Sustainability Certification Program requirements. Project managers typically turn to LEED consultants to help give input during a project and help meet the sustainability certification program requirments for the given new or existing building, hospital, school, and more.

This sustainability certification program is by far one of the most advanced and comprehensive, although, many Europeans, who consider their government run sustainability performance targets to be more stringent and yield higher performing buildings, would disagree.

Forest Stewardship Council Sustainable Forest Certification
You may recognize the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) label from everyday objects like reams of office paper and furniture boxes. The FSC sustainable forest certification indicates that the forests used to make the product are sustainably managed. This sustainability reporting protocol helps consumers to make better choices about what forests internationally will be harmed.

The FSC sustainable forest certification is one of the most well established sustainability certification systems internationally. They have a very useful database where users cansearch for FSC certified products and vendors.

The FSC mark on product is a very useful tool for consumers trying to decide between sustainable product certifications on their purchases.

Carbonfree® Product Certification
CarbonFund offers a sustainable product certification that allows manufacturers to offset the greenhouse gas emissions created during the manufacturing process by purchasing carbon offsets from CarbonFund.org’s portfolio of renewable energy projects.

For each product that is certified, CarbonFund calculates the carbon footprint of the product and/or the life-cycle of the product using a methodology similar to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative.

Green Seal Certified

Green Seal is a common household sustainable products certification program that started in the late 1980’s. The program supports 30 standards and covers more than 190 different product and service areas.

Green Seal bases their claims on life cycle assessment research and has a robust multi-stakeholder approach geared towards constant improvement. Green Seal has a sliding scale based on the revenue of organizations that determines the annual costs of maintaining the Green Seal.

The sustainable product certification provided by Grean Seal is a specific and targeted program. For example, categories like paints, household cleaners, occupancy sensors, and more are included within the sustainability standards.

Recently Grean Seal created a program for certifying organizations that could prove interesting. Especially their pilot program specifically targeting the sustainability of product manufacturers.

USDA National Organic Program

The USDA National Organic Program is essentially an agricultural sustainable product certification is one of hundreds of organic certifications globally.

The USDA program is a very heavily used framework used by agricultural producers to certify the products that they’re sending to market. In the U.S. market, this organic certification generally creates a hight price point for the item attached to it.

It is likely that this certification measure, although relatively easy to adhere to, will become more entrenched as the prominent organic logo found in supermarkets across the United States that are stocking sustainably certified food.

Greenburgers guide: Greenopia

EVOS, Le Pain Quotidien and Pizza Fusion received the highest marks of any fast food restaurants in the latest ratings issued by Greenopia.
 
The three chains each received four green leafs, meaning they met at least 90% of the criteria across five categories: green building design, supply chain, recycling/take-back programs, stock and sustainability reporting.
 
Greenopia said EVOS is the “greenest burger chain in the US.” The company sells a variety of organic and fair trade products; incorporates green building design into its locations; uses recycled-content items; and purchases wind credits to offset its energy footprint.
 
Bakery and sandwich shop Le Pain Quotidien uses organic and local ingredients; incorporates green building design; composts food waste; and uses its spent food oil for biodiesel.
 
Pizza Fusion “tackled an incredible amount of green projects for a food chain” Greenopia said. All of its projects are LEED certified; their pizza is made with organic ingredients and delivered by hybrid delivery vehicles; employees wear organic cotton uniforms; and they have a take back incentive for their used pizza boxes.
 
Further down in the rankings Chipotle and Starbucks received three leafs, and McDonald’s improved to two leafs this year. With more than 32,000 stores worldwide other major chains should look to McDonald’s to see how to properly begin to incorporate green initiatives, Greenopia said.
 
Below is the full description of the company’s efforts and shortcomings, as cited by Greenopia:
 
Green Efforts:
McDonald’s has begun to incorporate some green elements into its culture. McDonald’s has 2 green stores, with more on the way. In fact, McDonald’s has been one of the more aggressive chains in incorporating green building designs into its locations. McDonald’s uses some recycled content in their packaging and has a comprehensive waste diversion program. It also only gets its beef from responsible sources (especially in regard to rainforest degradation) and has taken steps to green its seafood and coffee sourcing. Finally, McDonald’s has begun analyzing and scoring its supply chain to search for environmental efficiencies (as well as conducting audits) and publishes one of the better sustainability reports in the industry.
 
Green Issues:
In the green spectrum, McDonald’s is at least light green in every category. What we have listed above is good, but there is still room for improvement. For starters it would be nice to see natural and/or organic products offered and some more widespread and consistent green building design elements as well as some renewable energy sourcing. McDonald’s deserves to be applauded for what it has done (especially when compared with other major burger chains) and we hope to see improved commitment as time goes on.

A greener wine for happier wine connaisseurs

Vinitaly 2011 ended with excellent results, an increase of 10% in visitors confirmed once again that good wine never goes out of fashion. Good wines, not only for the undisputed quality of the products, but also because of its being good for the environment and  for the community. The bio wine, produced by following the precepts of organic agriculture, with no sulfur and, above all, free of chemical residues and pesticides, is not new thing on the market.
But what is innovative is that sustainability in the wine industry is becoming more and more popular and required by wine consumers. A recent WineNews / Vinitaly survey showed that “green” labelled wine, the one ensuring the environmental commitment of the winery, would be an added value for 55% of the interviewed. The survey results were collected in a sort of handbook of the sustainable wine drinking, whose must are: locally grown wine, organic and biodynamic viticulture, ISO 14001 or EMAS certified wineries, lighter bottles, recycled paper labels, use of recycled or recyclable packaging, low-impact in terms of carbon footprint of production.
There are several Italian producers who understand the importance of sustainability to adequately respond to consumer demands. Zonin for instance, is already eliminating herbicides, fertilizers and chemical treatments, using only those permitted by the organic or biodynamic agriculture. “Approaching a more sustainable production also requires us to use a more precise viticulture, an aspect that we can no longer overlook in the vineyards where we bring this new philosophy. A lot of attention is paid to the fertility of the soil which must not only be maintained but improved over time without the use of chemicals, “says Franco Giacosa, technical director of the Zonin company in Gambellara (Vicenza, Italy).
It is not a suprise to find the Zonin name amont the list of the 73 Italian companies participating to the Bayer CropScience Magis project  for social and economic sustainability in the wine industry: from Caviro to Planeta,  Barone Ricasoli and Castello Banfi, to name some of the companies appearing in the Magis list. The aim of the Magis project is to provide companies with a common objective and measurable parameters and elements of communication to meet the demands of industry and consumers in terms of sustainability.
Obviously, the added value of a wine produced accordingly to the Magis criteria, will be lost if the supply chain and bars, restaurants and hotels do not abide to the same sustainable and responsible criteria. And this is what the ECOFFEE project is working at!

Illycaffè Earns the First DNV Responsible Supply Chain Process Certification

On March 18, 2011 illycaffè became the world’s first company to receive a Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Responsible Supply Chain Process certification, attesting to the company’s long-running sustainable approach to production and its relations with stakeholders throughout the production chain, particularly with green coffee suppliers.

The illycaffè model is innovative in assigning critical roles to quality and value creation. The certification was officially conferred at illycaffè’s twentieth annual meeting in Brazil, recognizing suppliers for coffee production meeting the company’s industry-leading quality standards.

DNV, an international, independent leader in product and process certification, in part modeled its new certification standard on the illycaffè supply chain model, buttressing it with current and emerging stringent guidelines for sustainability and corporate responsibility, and with standards of reference for certification and accreditation activities. The certification incorporates both pan-industry standards and industry specific standards. Officially, illycaffè received the DNV Green Coffee Responsible Supply Chain Process certification.

The standard developed by DNV is innovative because it marks the passage from the certification of an organization’s supply chain to the certification of an organization’s ability to create value that benefits everyone involved.

“We are proud to have obtained this certification, which recognizes and validates how we have operated over the past 20 years, through protocols and procedures that guarantee the excellence of our final product,” said Andrea Illy, President and Managing Director of illycaffè. “illycaffè has always been a stakeholder company, based on ethics and with the objective of improving quality of life. Quality is a key concept in our company philosophy. Our continuous search for quality creates a virtuous cycle that creates value for everyone involved, from coffee growers to coffee drinkers, in growing magnitude over time.”

Quality and sustainability are for illycaffè inseparable: a truly excellent product cannot be anything but sustainable in three critical aspects: economic, social and environmental. Economic sustainability is achieved through the creation of value for all those involved, from the grower to the final consumer. Social sustainability rests on the concepts of individual growth and self-realization. Environmental sustainability means respect for the ecosystem, through, for example, the use of recyclable shipping and packaging materials and the application of non-polluting practices.

“This supply chain certification standard is particularly innovative in demonstrating a company’s ability to create value over the long term,” said Thomas Vogth-Eriksen, Chief Executive Officer DNV Business Assurance. “The schema focuses on the building of shared value in a context where social development stimulates economic development, recognizing that a business grows in large part through its ability to help its partners and suppliers grow.”

Over the past two decades illycaffè has perfected a system of direct relationships with its suppliers, based on three main pillars: selecting the best growers in coffee producing countries; transferring to these growers, through the company’s Università del Caffè and the daily field work of specialized agronomists, comprehensive knowledge accumulated over 80 years of practical experience and research to produce coffee meeting illy’s high quality standards; and purchasing the best production directly from growers, paying them a premium over the going market price to reward quality achieved, and incentivize ongoing improvement. (Source: BusinessWire)