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Why Do Labels & Certifications Matter?

Changing our behaviors & habits can have a huge impact.

Yet. figuring out whether a certain business or product is sustainable can be overwhelming. It’s such a broad term that means different things to different people – and that doesn’t even get into the so-called greenwashing that runs rampant with marketers trying to piggyback on green goodwill with shoppers. To make the task a bit easier, we compiled this list of sustainable labels and certifications, and while not exhaustive, it explains the more common ones related to various sustainability concerns.

1% for the Planet This nonprofit was created by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, as a way to fund diverse environmental organizations. Business members join the network and commit to donating the equivalent of 1% of gross sales – combining monetary, in-kind and approved promotional support – directly to environmental nonprofits. 1% for the Planet certifies member donations, reviewing and confirming sales and donation details annually. So far, members have invested more than $350 million toward environmental causes.

American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) This is a membership organization, representing more than 250,000 businesses. It advocates for solutions that support an equitable, regenerative and just economy that benefits the people and planet. The ASBN was formed by the merger of the American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle, which became effective Jan. 1, 2022.

B Corp A company that receives this official certification undergoes a lengthy audit process where the nonprofit B Lab scrutinizes its legal structure, supply chain practices, philanthropy, customer relations, and employee engagement. To achieve certification, companies must achieve a “B Impact Assessment Score of 80 or above” and pass a risk review, demonstrating high social and environmental performance. Certified businesses also must make a legal commitment to change their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and exhibit transparency by allowing their performance to be measured against B Lab’s standards, as well as be publicly available on their B Corp profile.

Better Buying The Better Buying Institute created a rating system that allows suppliers to communicate with their buyers about purchasing practices that work well and ones that need improvement. The institute examines seven key categories of purchasing practices that could affect the supplier’s ability to work efficiently while providing a safe work environment.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) Better Cotton is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world, with more than 2,100 members. Better Cotton-licensed farmers produce cotton in a way that cares for the environment, minimizing the negative effects of fertilizer and pesticides and caring for water, soil health, and natural habitats.

Now you know a little more about some of the organizations and certifications that work to advance sustainable options.

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