20 Sustainability Certifications You Need To Be Aware About

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Sustainability

Home » Sustainability » 20 Sustainability Certifications You Need To Be Aware About

Navigating the world of eco-friendly shopping can often feel like trekking through a jungle of buzzwords and false promises. Companies frequently dress up their products with “green” claims, a practice known as greenwashing, that can lead you down a path of confusion, leaving you feeling lost and disheartened in your quest to shop sustainably. But there’s a compass to guide you through this green fog: third-party sustainability certifications.

These independent seals of approval do the detective work for you, verifying that a product or company lives up to its eco-friendly boasts. Understanding these certifications can be your shortcut to making informed, sustainable choices without the hassle of deciphering marketing speak.

What is Sustainability Certification?

A separate or third-party organization grants Sustainability certifications to a firm, product, or service. A corporation must achieve particular standards and criteria to acquire a certificate, demonstrating a solid commitment to excellent economic, environmental, and social business practices. Though not required, having one implies that your firm is socially responsible and serves as a point of uniqueness.

Features of Sustainability Certification

1. Voluntary

The certificates are non-government regulations that must be met and are awarded to a firm, product, or service by independent or third-party organizations.

2. Reliable

These are reliable and reputable because they are not self-assessments but are verified by external auditors and independent bodies.

3. Realistic

They are standards established by these autonomous groups and developed by specialists in their respective disciplines and businesses. The objectives and standards that must be met are legitimate and achievable, making it fair game for candidates. As a result, individuals who meet the bare minimum are given the certificate.

4. Market-driven

These are non-governmental certificates that are not usually required. Instead, they are regulated and steered by business reasons, making them norms that are easy to accomplish and susceptible to less scrutiny. A sustainability certificate demonstrates commitment and provides a competitive advantage. Over 500 such standards are related to ethical human welfare and labor practices, responsibility for the environment and society, the welfare of animals, and cruelty-free implementation.

Types of Sustainability Certifications

The main types of sustainability certifications are:

1. Environmental Certifications

Many service providers and businesses have these certifications, which include environmental consequences such as carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, manufacturing processes, commodities sourcing, methods for farming, waste management, resource management, and so on.

2. Economic and Ethical Labor

Certifications include unbiased business and labor practices. For example, they ensure that commodities are priced reasonably and that workers are paid adequately. They also ensure that unethical practices, such as slavery and child labor, are not carried out.

3. Animal Welfare and Cruelty-free Certificate

These certifications verify that cruelty-free and vegan/animal-free products are manufactured without malice towards animals, such as animal testing or animal killing, and that no animal-derived additives are used.

20 Sustainable Certifications

Here are the top sustainable certifications to be aware of to help you shop following your ideals.

20 Sustainable Certifications

1. Fair Trade

Fair Trade Certified is found in clothing, food, and beverages. It denotes that a product was produced in sustainable and safe working conditions, with workers benefiting from sustainable earnings and Community Development Funds, in which a portion of sales is returned to the local population for funding things like schools, community centers, and having access to hygiene and drinking water.

2. Certified B Corporation

A Certified B Corporation is a business that commits to balancing profit and purpose through integrating social and environmental factors. A company’s certification is based on public transparency, legal responsibility, and environmental and social indicators.

3. Vegan approved By PETA

Clothing, accessories, home décor, and furniture items may display the PETA-Approved Vegan badge if they are devoid of animal-based components and instead employ vegan substitutes.

4. The Leaping Bunny

The Leaping Bunny program certifies personal care, cosmetics, and cleaning products that do not employ animal experimentation at any point in the product development process. The substances are tested on no animal (fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, or non-human animals). Earth Harbor’s cruelty-free products, such as their Beach Waves Ocean Hair Texturizer, include the adorable bunny logo.

5. Green Business

America Green Businesses is a network of America’s most socially and environmentally conscious businesses. The organization has accredited more than 8,000 firms for utilizing their business as an instrument for positive change, such as adopting ecologically responsible practices to source, manufacture, and sell products and socially equitable practices to benefit workers and communities. By purchasing this Safety Razor, you support a Green America Certified Company.

6. 1% For The Earth

A 1% For the Planet corporation member distributes 1% of its total annual earnings to environmental organizations. Clean, rinse, and repeat with Plaine Products’ Shampoo and Conditioner Set, and a percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Environment organization.

7. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)

GOTS is the world’s premier standard for organic fibers in textiles (including apparel, beds, personal hygiene products, and fabrics). It evaluates items using stringent social, ecological, and toxicological criteria. It reduces the usage of harmful chemicals in manufacturing, resulting in safer workplaces for our environment and people. Keep your hair away from your face (sustainably) with Kooshoo’s GOTS-certified Organic Scrunchies!


The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification applies to textiles free of dangerous chemicals. It examines the finished products of many hazardous compounds (PFCs, nickel, AZO dyes, formaldehyde, and so on).

9. Verified By The Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) certifies cosmetics, diapers, cleaning goods, and personal care products on their “unacceptable” list for the absence of harmful substances. This signifies that the items include no components linked to pollution, ecotoxicity, or health issues. When brushing your teeth with David Toothpaste, you can rest assured that you’re utilizing EWG Verified ingredients for a brighter, healthier smile!

10. Climate Neutral

Climate Neutral Certified organizations decrease their emissions, offset what they can’t, and have strategies in place to reduce their carbon footprint further in the future.


Carbonfund.org has a Carbonfree® certification for furnishings and other carbon-neutral things due to emissions reductions and offsets.

12. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

FSC accreditation ensures that paper, wood products, and wood-based cellulose fibers are brought from responsibly managed forests and that social, environmental, and economic benefits are promoted. Forest Stewardship Council 100% (showing responsible forest sourcing), FSC Recycled, or FSC Mix (indicating recycled paper/wood or a mix of both) may be seen.

13. GRS (Global Recycled Standard)

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a global and voluntary standard that confirms the presence of recycled material in a product and the implementation of responsible manufacturing practices. Full Circle Home’s Recycled Microfiber Essential Cloths use GRS-certified recycled plastic bottles.


Bluesign® certification, used in clothes and textile items, signifies that the product has been tested for dangerous substances. When the supply chain (manufacturing chemicals, procedures, materials, and products) is considered, it indicates that a product was created in a secure way for the environment, workers, and customers.

15. Certified Recycled Content

SCS is another organization with Certified Recycled Content accreditation, which provides third-party verification that products are created with pre- or post-consumer material removed from the waste stream. For example, if You Care’s Recycled Trash Bags are SCS-verified to be constructed of 89% recycled post-consumer material.

16. Cradle To Cradle

Cradle to Cradle certified products are safe, circular, and created responsibly. This means they are safe for humans and contribute to clean air and climate protection. Still, they also fit into a circular economy, meaning that materials can be reutilized or correctly enter the environment after usage.

17. OK Compost

The OK Compost logos are certified by the Austrian government. OK Compost indicates products that are compostable in industrial composting facilities (due to high heat and microbial activity), and OK Compost HOME, which means products that can be composted by conditions commonly found in home composting systems. On the other hand, You Care’s Parchment Baking Paper is appropriate for industrial and home composting!

18. GRS (Global Recycled Standard)

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a global and voluntary standard that confirms the presence of recycled material in a product and the implementation of responsible manufacturing practices. Full Circle Home’s Recycled Microfiber Essential Cloths use GRS-certified recycled plastic bottles.

19. Rainforest Alliance

Personal care, beverage, and food goods bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. It denotes that the components or products promote social, economic, and environmental Sustainability.

20. Certified Vegan

Vegan.org is the certifying authority for Certified Vegan products, free of animal-derived ingredients or by-products and do not undergo animal testing. Over 10,000 textiles, apparel, and personal care products have been certified.

Importance of Sustainability Certificates

These certifications are vital since they assist product and service sellers/manufacturers and consumers. There are numerous reasons why sustainability certification is critical, but some of the most significant are as follows:

  • Sustainability certification assures that items are manufactured in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. This contributes to resource conservation and environmental protection.
  • It ensures that items meet social responsibility requirements. This means, for example, that workers are treated decently and paid a living wage and that no child labor is employed in the manufacturing process.
  • It ensures that items are safe for human consumption and devoid of dangerous chemicals. This protects customers from potentially hazardous contaminants.
  • Customers who purchase certified items are confident they support responsible enterprises with sustainable practices.


Many organizations are trying to hire staff aware of sustainability practices to enhance their operations, safeguard the environment, and save resources. Obtaining sustainability certifications may assist you in emphasizing your abilities and qualifications in a particular field, such as energy or construction, increasing your chances of progression in your profession. Understanding the importance of professional accreditation can help you improve skills and achieve experience in your chosen industry, whether you work in Sustainability or are interested in pursuing such a career.


Q1. What is the need for sustainability certifications?

The accreditation can then be used to demonstrate that your company employs sustainable business procedures and methods. The assessor examines your company’s environmental operations, policies, and initiatives to ensure its statements regarding sustainable practices are valid.

Q2. What is the main purpose of sustainability?

In its broadest meaning, Sustainability refers to consistently maintaining or supporting a process across time. In economic and governmental contexts, Sustainability aims to protect the depletion of natural or physical resources so that they can be used indefinitely.

Q3. What are the best sustainability certification courses?

The GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Standards, B Corp Certification, the Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ) Accredited Practitioner, and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) Certifications are among the top sustainability credentials for professionals.

Also Read: 20 Inspiring Sustainability Quotes & Sayings



  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.


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