Eco-labels may not sound like the most exciting topic at first. But when you look a bit more closely, it's easy to see that labels and certifications are the backbone of any sustainability claim, whether it's a product or practice. Of course, navigating the wide world of eco-labels can be confusing at times. To clear things up, this week we rounded up six ways eco-labels can help consumers and businesses stay sustainable -- no matter what their interests are.
Luckily for the health-conscious (whether you're a homeowner or building manager), much more attention is now being paid, through programs like LEED and GREENGUARD, to certify the materials used in buildings, so as to minimize or eliminate exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and improve indoor air quality for all.
As part of our ongoing series with UL Environment, Triple Pundit took a dive into this meaty subject to bring you all the information you need to make an informed decision. Check out these tips for navigating the 'Wild West' of eco-labels or our Green Labels 101 guide, which will give you the low-down on common eco-labels and which ones to trust.
Well, we certainly hope so. But deciphering the technical concepts that make up the LEED rating system can be a challenge for both architects and contractors, not to mention homeowners unfamiliar with the rigors of LEED-compliant construction. And that’s where UL Environment has been most successful in filling a niche. With its longstanding experience in product compliance validation, it’s had great success in finding ways to translate technical concepts and rating systems into terms that both builders and their customers can understand. Here's to the bright future of green building!
That’s the role of third-party validation systems, says Scot Case, director of Market Development for UL Environment. If a company doesn't have their green claims validated by a third party, these claims may be found misleading -- and the company can even be sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission. “If you are a manufacturer and you are making some kind of environmental claim, you should be offering consumers proof that the claim is accurate, meaningful and relevant,” Case says.
For example, the UL ECVP 2799 “Zero-Waste-to-Landfill” validation refines the somewhat murky definition of “zero waste.” By providing a set of validated metrics, the standard is now helping a variety of leading companies shrink the volume of solid waste they send to landfills. Having zero-waste-to-landfill claims validated by a third party carries loads of benefits for companies, including establishing trust among consumers and Wall Street investors alike.
That's why UL Environment developed the UL 110 standard for mobile phones, tablets and other 'smart' products. In addition to efficiency, the standard ensures things like minimization of human health hazards, recyclability at end-of-life and the use of environmentally preferable materials, so every tech-lover can rest assured their favorite gadget aligns with their values.
Image courtesy of UL Environment
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.