Certificates and Labels
To measure environmental impact effectively, certificates and labels help the consumer make conscious buying decisions by differentiating products. Certificates and labels indicate the alignment with the environmental or social impact of products and brands. Impakter’s team of analysts has compiled an exhaustive list of certificates and labels for the end consumer to access and make conscious purchasing decisions across various industry sectors.
The number of certificates in a certificate chain can vary depending on the specific context and system being used. Typically, a certificate chain includes a root certificate, an intermediate certificate, and a leaf certificate (also known as an end-entity certificate). In some cases, there may be multiple intermediate certificates in the chain, and the number of certificates present can vary depending on the level of trust and security required for the system.
Some of the most recognized environmental certifications include:
- ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental Management Systems,
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for building and construction,
- FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for forestry and paper products,
- Energy Star for energy efficiency,
- B Corp for overall social and environmental performance,
- Fairtrade for fair trade practices
- EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) for environmental management Keep in mind, different certifications are more recognized and important in different industries, regions, and sectors. It’s worth noting that this list is not exhaustive and many other recognized certifications provide information on environmental impact.
- According to a 2020 report by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), there were over 217 million hectares of FSC-certified forests worldwide.
- As of 2021, over 22,000 buildings, homes, and communities have been certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
- In 2020, the number of products certified by Energy Star reached over 50 billion, across more than 60 product categories.
- In 2020, there were over 4,000 organizations certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard for Environmental Management Systems.
- Improved environmental and social performance: By achieving certification, organizations are demonstrating that they are meeting or exceeding certain standards and criteria for sustainability.
- Increased transparency and accountability: Certifications often require organizations to publicly report on their sustainability performance, which can help increase transparency and accountability.
- Enhanced reputation and credibility: Organizations that have achieved sustainability certifications can improve their reputation and credibility by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.
- Increased market access and differentiation: Many certifications are recognized by customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, which can help organizations differentiate themselves in the marketplace and gain access to new customers and markets.
- Cost savings: Implementing sustainability practices can often result in cost savings through resource conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency.
- Competitive advantage: Organizations that are certified may have a competitive advantage over their non-certified competitors.
It’s worth noting that different certifications may have different advantages, and the specific advantages an organization can gain will depend on the certification and the industry they are in.
- Determine which certification aligns with your sustainability goals.
- Review the certification’s requirements and criteria.
- Assess your organization’s current sustainability practices (you can do this with our Index Reporting)
- Create a sustainability plan to address any gaps in meeting the certification requirements.
- Implement the plan and document progress.
- Submit a certification application and undergo an on-site assessment.
- Continuously monitor and improve sustainability practices to maintain certification.