What is the Green America Certification Seal All About?

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You've probably noticed a "Green America: Certified Business" seal on the websites of some of your favorite green cleaning manufacturers, but if you aren't sure what it means, read on for all the details. Plus, discover more about what Green America does for you as a concerned consumer.

What is Green America?

Green America is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is "to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society," according to its website.

Founded in 1982, and having gone through a name change in 2009 (it used to be called "Co-op America"), Green America has helped several sustainable businesses grow and succeed in the marketplace. It has also published newsletters, guides, and journals related to its mission and started several diverse programs, such as "Fair Trade" and "Stopping Sweatshops," to further its cause.

What does the seal represent?

The Green America Business Certification seal signifies businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible. When you see it on a company website, you can click on it to see just how sustainable the company is.

How are businesses rated?

Green America certifies businesses, both small and large, that are environmentally responsible and interested in using their company as a means to positive social change. Company transparency, manufacturing practices, marketing, ingredient sourcing, community involvement, worker relations, and social equality are just a few of things looked at to determine the overall rating, which may be bronze, silver, or gold.

As companies improve, they may move up in their certification level. To attain the highest level of certification, which is gold, companies are evaluated by the Green America Standards Committee, which is appointed by Green America's Board of Directors.

Which businesses are certified?

The Green America website offers a National Green Pages™ directory where you can search for businesses, such as your favorite green cleaning companies. If they are in the database, you will find a company description, their certification level, contact information, a Google map showing the company location, and consumer reviews, if there are any.

What other programs is Green America involved in?

In addition to certifying businesses, Green America has quite a few diverse programs that span the gamut from socially responsible investing to publishing to shopping. Checking out its website is a definite must to learn more about its programs, but here are a few in particular that you may be interested in as a consumer concerned about buying green products from socially and environmentally conscious companies:
  • Green Gifts. Need a special gift for a friend who's into green living? Then take a look at the Green Gift Guide and discover special offers from businesses listed in Green America's National Green Pages™. You can sign up to receive discount offers, green news, tips, and resources by providing your name, zip code, and e-mail address.
  • Green Deals! Looking for a bargain from a sustainable business? Then visit Green Deals. It lets you search for current deals on products and services from green businesses in the Green America Network. Steals on small (e.g., eco-friendly air fresheners) and big purchases alike (e.g., mattresses) are to be had.
  • Responsible Shopper Program. This program gives you information about human rights, social justice, and environmental abuses by some big wig companies, such as Wal-Mart, and provides you with easy ways to do something about it as a consumer, such as joining an on-line campaign. So, check it out. By the way, you can also sign up to receive updates or post a link to the program on your website.
  • Shop and Unshop. Voting with your dollar by choosing what and what not to buy is what this program is all about. Discover some clever strategies and information to help you decide what's best for you, your family, and the planet when it comes to your purchasing decisions.
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