An Executive’s Guide to “Green” Certifications

Consumers consider the sustainability of a home product when making a purchasing decision.

Demand for environmentally friendly products has soared in the last decade. Now, consumers consider the sustainability of a product when making a purchasing decision. As a result, the market has exploded with “green” products.

Unfortunately, some companies are deceptive about their product’s environmental benefits and merely use “green” labels on packaging to enhance product appeal. This sleight-of-hand is called greenwashing and creates noise that dilutes the message from companies that genuinely prioritize sustainability.

As a result, third-party organizations and government programs now exist to test products and verify their quality and claims.

When businesses meet their standards, they earn a “green” certification. Consumers have learned to trust well-known certification programs. Your affiliation with them can make your brand stand out from the crowd. However, some are costly, so it’s worth researching before signing on.

Types of Green Certifications

Several types of green certifications exist. It’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% sustainability, so businesses are wise to choose what fits their brand and manufacturing process. Most certifications focus on assessing either the manufacturing process or the end product.

Process-Centric Green Certifications

A certification that verifies your production process will examine whether your goods are manufactured with environmentally sustainable components and techniques, if you source your materials ethically, use water and energy efficiently, and reduce and recycle construction-site waste.

Product-Centric Green Certifications

Certifications examining the quality of your end product will test for toxicity to see how products impact indoor air quality or outdoor environments and how well a product conserves water or energy. 

Finding the Right Green Certification

Below is a list of reputable certification programs organized by product type to quickly narrow down potential best fits for your business. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. 

One more tip: avoid fraudulent firms and certifications by verifying them through the Federal Trade Commission or the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Read to the end for specific ways to incorporate your certification into your marketing plan. 

Certifications Examples Across the Home Industry

Electronics and Energy Efficiency

Energy Star

Energy Star is managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They certify individual products such as air conditioners, refrigerators, washers and dryers, and light bulbs to promote energy efficiency. Their website shares that their efforts “Save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.”



Also run by the EPA, WaterSense labels products that are “certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.” WaterSense-certified showerheads, faucets, and plumbing fixtures are known to save dozens to thousands of gallons of water each year for consumers. 

Wood Sourcing

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The Forest Stewardship Council is the gold standard for ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing of wood materials. They offer solutions to prevent deforestation, animal harm, infringement upon the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and damage to endangered ecosystems. They provide different certifications depending on whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, architect, or forest manager. 

Recycled Materials

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle pioneered the idea of “closed loop” production, in which the end “waste” product becomes a resource again. They seek to be net carbon positive through this circular process. They also offer four tiers of certifications for thousands of products, including building materials, interior finishes, furniture and household products, and more. 

Air Quality


Our homes and workplaces contain many airborne chemicals emitted by building materials, adhesives, paint, furnishings, and cleaning supplies. These volatile organic compounds can cause headaches, dizziness, eye and throat irritation, and in severe cases, cancer. GREENGUARD tests for low chemical emission products to promote healthier indoor environments. 


CRI Green Label and Green Label Plus

The EPA recognizes CRI’s Green Label Plus Program. They test carpet, adhesive, and cushion samples to meet standards for low chemical emissions. They clearly explain their recommendations for specifications and standards to help purchasers buy the right products. 

Miscellaneous Products & Certifications

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)

Suppose you want to acquire multiple types of certifications for your business but don’t want to juggle the varied requirements of different organizations. In that case, SCS offers certifications for almost all industries mentioned above, all in one place. 

Green Seal

For over 30 years, Green Seal has assessed products such as cleaning supplies, rugs and flooring materials, and even textile and paper products. They are popular among consumers because they host a searchable database on their website, which makes it easy to find and purchase products. 

How to Leverage Green Certifications in Your Marketing

Once you’ve done the research, undergone a rigorous testing process, and paid the certification fees, what now? How do you use your certification to reach customers and grow your business?

Align Your Certification to Your Mission

Every business wants to build trust and loyalty between themselves and their customers. Securing certifications demonstrates that you’re serious about your sustainability mission – you show that you’re not all talk. When customers see you meet green standards year after year, and perhaps even increase your rankings, their trust in you and your products increases. 

Maximize Certification Exposure

Don’t just slap a picture of your certification’s logo on your website and consider it done. Display your certification everywhere with pride. Religiously include it in your branding across ads, social posts, websites, and emails. Consumers want to know that your products are sustainable. Make it easy for them to discover this information.

Seek Out Directories & Partnerships

You’ve opened the door to a broader market and increased your chances for visibility. Many websites, blogs, directories, and associations seek out and only promote green products. Reach out to let them know that you’re “part of the gang.” Consider collaborating with other like-minded businesses. 

Create Certification-Aligned Content

Developing website content about your certification will draw aligned consumers to your site. Consumers love a good story and are more likely to trust your certification if they have more information about the process. Tell them about how you ethically sourced your materials or what you had to do to reduce the emissions in your products. Share your roadmap for further increasing the sustainability of your products. 

What Else Is There to Consider?

As you evaluate the pluses and minuses of seeking and achieving a green certification, there are a few other helpful points we can share:

Long Term Savings

Going green might cost more upfront, but the more efficient use of water and energy, and the potential for using recycled materials, can save on utilities and resources. 

Long-Term State Compliance

Some states have specific legal requirements which businesses must meet in terms of manufacturing and product quality. If you fail to meet them, you could be subject to potential audits and source reviews. Starting with sustainability in mind can prevent these problems from cropping up.

Long Term ROI

The certification process can be arduous, and not all companies that prioritize sustainability acquire third-party certifications, so it’s worth seeking the wisdom of an expert in this field early on to know if the return on your investment is worth the process and ongoing costs.

Your Next Steps

Curious about what green certifications might best fit your company – but have no time to research them? Schedule a call with us. We’ll get to know you, your audience, and your mission and report back with certifications that could benefit your marketing and sales.

About the Author

Jason Otis is the president of Perk Brands and founder of Built for Home. Perk Brands is a digital marketing agency that partners with home product manufacturers to make their products easy to find and buy. Built for Home is a community of home product manufacturers and a resource for buyers to find products that make their lives better at home.


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