CERTIFICATES

Sustainability Standards and Certifications

Certificates and labels help measure a company’s sustainability score effectively, as they indicate the alignment with the environmental or social impact of products and brands. 

Impakter’s analysts have compiled an exhaustive list of certificates and labels for end consumers and companies alike to access and make conscious purchasing decisions across various industry sectors.

How many sustainability certifications are there?

Compared to the early years (late 80s), nowadays there are more than 600 ecolabels, certifications. and standards.

Among these, some have entered our everyday vocabulary. Think of the word “organic”, or try to quickly picture the Rainforest Alliance logo, you probably thought of that frog right?

Below you’ll find the full list of the most important sustainability certificates out there. Each page features a detailed break-down of the industry, the target audience, and the core values behind the certificate.

What’s the organic standard? Is UTZ-certified coffee actually sustainable? Who’s behind the Fairtrade label? Browse our sustainability certificates database and find it out.

NameIndustry StageType RegionApplied toAbbreviation
ABVTEX PROGRAMTextile ProductsLife CycleCertificationBrazilMultiproductABVTEX
Aquaculture Stewardship Council SeafoodLifecycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductASC
B CorporationProducts and ServicesLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductBCORP
Blue AngelProducts and ServicesLife CycleEco LabelGermanyMultiproductsBlue Angel, Blueangel, Blauer engel
BluesignTextile Responsible ChemicalsProcessing and ManufacturingCertification
GlobalMultiproductBluesign
BRCGSFood SafetyLifecycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductBRCGS
BREEAMConstruction IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductBREEAM
CanadaGAPFarmingLifecycleCertificationCanadaSpecific ProductCanadaGAP
CARES Sustainability SchemesMaterial and Construction IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductCARES
Chain of custody certification- Program for endorsement of forestry certificationForest Induced ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductPEFC
Content Claim StandardConsumer GoodsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalMultiproductTextile Exchange CCS
Cradle to Cradle CertificateProducts and ServicesLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductC2C
Eco-Reinforcement CertificateMaterial and Construction IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductECO-R
Fair Labor AssociationProducts and ServicesLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductFLA
Forest Stewerdship CouncilForest Induced ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductFSC
FreshcareSupply ChainProductionCertificationAustraliaMultiproductFreshcare
FSSC 22000SustainabilityShippingCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductFSSC
Global Aquaculture Alliance SeafoodAquacultureLifecycleCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductGAAS
Global Food Safety InitiativeFarmingLifecycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductGFSI
Global G.A.PFarmingLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductGlobal G.A.P
Global Organic Textile StandardTextile and Apparel IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductGOTS
Global Recycle StandardTextile ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalMultiproductTextile Exchange GRS
Global Red Meat StandardRed MeatRaw MaterialsCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductGRMS
Global Social Compliance ProgrammeConsumer GoodsLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductGSCP
Global Traceable Down StandardDown Induced ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductGTDS
Green ScreenChemical ProductsProcessing and ManufacturingCertificationUSAMultiproductGREENSCREEN, Green Screen
Green SealProducts and ServicesLife CycleEco LabelUSAMultiproductGREENSEAL, Green Seal
International Featured StandardsSupply ChainLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductIFS
International Wool Textile OrganisationProducts and ServicesLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductIWTO
IVN NaturtextilTextile ProductsLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductIVN
Japan Food Safety ManagementSupply ChainLife CycleCertificationJapanMultiproductJFSM
Japan GAPFoodLife CycleCertificationJapanMultiproductJGAP
Leadership in Energy and Environmental DesignArchitecture and BuildingsLife CycleCertificationGlobalSpecific productLEED
Leather Working GroupLeather ProductsLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductsLWG
Marine Stewardship CouncilSeafoodLifecycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductMSC
Nordic Swan EcolabelProducts and ServicesLife CycleEco LabelScandanaviaMultiproductNordic Swan
NSF/ANSI 336Furnishing IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductNSF/ANSI
Organic Content StandardTextile ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalMultiproductTextile Exchange OCS
PrimusGFSSupply ChainLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductPrimusGFS
Recycled Claim StandardTextile ProductsLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductsRCS
Responsible Mohair StandardMohair ProductsRaw MaterialsCertificationGlobalMultiproductTextile Exchange RMS
Responsible Wool StandardWool ProductsRaw MaterialCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductTextile Exchange RWS
SA8000Consumer GoodsProcessing and ManufacturingCertificationGlobalMultiproductSA8000
SQFSupply ChainLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductSQF
The Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT)Products and ServicesLife CycleCertificationBrazilMultiproductABNT
United States Department of AgricultureAgricultureRaw MaterialCertificationUSASpecific ProductUSDA
UTZ CertifiedFarmingRaw MaterialsCertificationGlobalSpecific ProductUTZ
World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO)Products and ServicesLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductWFTO
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production Textile,Apparel and Footwear IndustryLife CycleCertificationGlobalMultiproductWRAP

FAQs

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:

  1. ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental Management Systems,
  2. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for building and construction,
  3. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for forestry and paper products,
  4. Energy Star for energy efficiency,
  5. B Corp for overall social and environmental performance,
  6. Fairtrade for fair trade practices
  7. 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.
  1. According to a 2020 report by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), there were over 217 million hectares of FSC-certified forests worldwide.
  2. As of 2021, over 22,000 buildings, homes, and communities have been certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
  3. In 2020, the number of products certified by Energy Star reached over 50 billion, across more than 60 product categories.
  4. In 2020, there were over 4,000 organizations certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard for Environmental Management Systems.
  1. Improved environmental and social performance: By achieving certification, organizations are demonstrating that they are meeting or exceeding certain standards and criteria for sustainability.
  2. Increased transparency and accountability: Certifications often require organizations to publicly report on their sustainability performance, which can help increase transparency and accountability.
  3. Enhanced reputation and credibility: Organizations that have achieved sustainability certifications can improve their reputation and credibility by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.
  4. 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.
  5. Cost savings: Implementing sustainability practices can often result in cost savings through resource conservation, waste reduction, and energy efficiency.
  6. 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.

  1. Determine which certification aligns with your sustainability goals.
  2. Review the certification’s requirements and criteria.
  3. Assess your organization’s current sustainability practices (you can do this with our Index Reporting)
  4. Create a sustainability plan to address any gaps in meeting the certification requirements.
  5. Implement the plan and document progress.
  6. Submit a certification application and undergo an on-site assessment.
  7. Continuously monitor and improve sustainability practices to maintain certification.