A Conscious Consumer Guide to Sustainability Certifications

Sustainability certifications are here to help make eco-friendly shopping easier. As consumers, each purchase we make has the potential to affect the wellbeing of the planet. The climate can be impacted by every stage of a product’s life cycle from the manufacturing process, to shipping and packaging, to disposal. This can feel like a lot to consider every time you want to buy something! If you are keen to become a more conscious consumer, read our guide to sustainability certifications to help you out.

What is a Sustainability Certification?

A sustainability certification is a guarantee that a company meets certain environmental impact standards. 

Types of sustainability certifications differ. For example, whilst some investigate the carbon footprint of a company, others verify the sustainability of farming practices. For most certifications, the standards are set by an independent organisation and must be verified by a third party. Companies can then apply for certification which will be awarded as long as they meet or surpass the standards. 

Sustainability certifications are a trusted symbol that validates a brand’s eco friendly status and commitment to ethical practices.

What Are the Benefits of Sustainability Certification?

Sustainability certifications can be very helpful for climate conscious consumers. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Sustainability certifications are a way of quickly identifying whether a brand is committed to protecting the environment. With greenwashing and climate buzz words floating around, it can be hard to separate fact from false claims. Sustainability certifications take the guesswork out.
  • Sustainability certifications aren’t a one off stamp of approval. They are a good way of ensuring a brand has ingrained eco-friendly practices into the company and are committed to having a continued positive impact.
  • Sustainability certifications hold large companies accountable for their climate impact. They are encouraging it to become customary for industries to be transparent about carbon emissions, where and how they are sourcing materials, and the amount of waste they produce. Greater transparency tends to interfere with the use of unethical practices and non eco-friendly materials

As a consumer, you can feel more confident in the eco friendliness of your purchases by looking out for sustainability certifications.

20 Sustainability Certifications You Should Know

There are a lot of sustainability certifications out there and some are more reliable than others. Whether you are shopping for an ethical coffee or some sustainable fashion, here are some of the best eco friendly certifications to look out for.


A B-Corp Certification is one of the most trusted marks of sustainability. The B-Corp standards are not exclusively focused on a single social or environmental issue. Instead, they require public transparency and eco-friendly practices to be used throughout the entire business model. To be a B-Corp, a company must qualify, and be recertified every two years so the certification shows a commitment to environmental practices. Two examples of B-Corp companies are the ice cream titans Ben & Jerry’s and the slow beauty brand Ethique.

Blue Angel

Blue Angel is a German sustainability certification which is awarded to environmentally friendly products and services. They certify virtually everything from stationary to vehicles. Blue Angel guarantees that a product meets or surpasses industry quality standards, whilst also being less of a burden on the planet.


The focus of Bluesign is directed towards the environmental impact of textiles. The company monitors factors such as chemical usage, CO2 emissions, and water waste to judge how environmentally friendly it is to manufacture materials. A famous Bluesign certified brand is the sustainable activewear brand Patagonia.

Carbon Free Certified

Being a carbon free certified company means a brand has reduced their carbon footprint where possible, and offset the remaining carbon emissions associated with their products. A carbon offset is a project that measurably reduces or removes carbon from the environment. The Carbon Fund is the organisation that certifies carbon free companies. 

Carbon Neutral Certified

Much like being carbon free certified, carbon neutral companies reduce their CO2 emissions and offset the remainder. The awarding bodies for carbon neutral certifications include Natural Capital Partners and the Carbon Trust. The Carbon Trust has introduced their Route to Net Zero Standard to help companies on their journey to achieve carbon neutrality. 

Climate Neutral Certified

Climate Partner is another certification organisation who are helping companies to achieve net zero carbon emissions. Their climate neutral certification verifies that a company is removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere as they are emitting. Recently Climate Partner has worked with Pizza Hut to create a carbon neutral delivery menu.

Cradle to Cradle Certified

Cradle to Cradle is a sustainability certification that identifies whether a product is part of a circular economy. This means that a product can be reused or recycled when it comes to the end of its lifetime through regeneration and innovative process design. To be Cradle to Cradle certified a company must also ensure their materials are safe for humans and the environment, reduce harmful emissions and safeguard clean water and healthy soils.

EPEAT Certified

EPEAT stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool and it is an ecolabel granted by the Global Electronics Council. It is an important sustainability certification to look for when purchasing electronics from laptops and televisions to printers and photocopiers. EPEAT takes the whole lifecycle of a product into consideration when rating it. The system looks at the elimination of toxic substances, the use of recycled and recyclable materials, product longevity, energy efficiency and more.

EU Ecolabel

The EU Ecolabel is a sustainability certification awarded to products and services that are environmentally friendly at every stage of their lifecycle. This means that everything from the raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal is taken into consideration when being certified. GFL cosmetics is an EU ecolabel certified brand who make eco friendly bathroom essentials.

EU Organic

The EU Organic logo was created to make it easier for consumers to identify organic products across the EU. The symbol must be displayed in the green and white colour scheme so you can tell if it is genuine or not. Products with the EU Organic logo have zero or minimal chemical pesticides or fertilisers, support animal welfare and meet non-genetically modified standards.

EWG Verified

When a product is EWG Verified, this means it is free from any chemicals EWG has classified as harmful for you or the planet. EWG stands for Environmental Working Group and their mission is to drive companies to create healthier, safer products. This means being transparent about the chemicals involved in the manufacturing process.


Fairtrade is a  sustainable certification that looks out for proper workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers, it means we can trust the products we are buying are high quality and ethically produced. Promoting farmer training and switching to environmentally friendly farming practices are part of Fairtrade’s call for better agricultural production.

Fair for Life

Fair for Life certification is awarded to companies that are committed to ensuring fair working conditions and respecting the environment within and along their supply-chains. In order to be certified, a brand must respect human and worker rights and promote biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices.An example of a Fair for Life certified company is the tea brand Pukka.

Forest Stewardship Council

One of the most recognisable certifications in the U.K is the tree logo of the FSC. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and they promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. The FSC certification is an indication that a company doesn’t contribute to deforestation. The awarding board also works to eliminate child labour, forced or compulsory labour, and employment discrimination.

Global Organic Textile Standard

If you are shopping for sustainable clothes, a certification to look out for is the Global Organic Textile Standard. They certify eco-friendly materials. Some of the criteria includes having a farming system that maintains and replenishes soil fertility and removing toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilisers from the manufacturing process. Shopping from Global Organic Textile Standard Certified companies such as Nomads Clothing can be a good alternative to fast fashion.

Made Safe

Brands can’t be Made Safe certified if they use substances that harm human health or the environment. The organisation screens products from baby care to household cleaning looking for harmful chemicals so you don’t have to. Say goodbye to trying to

make heads or tails of long, confusing ingredients lists and look for the Made Safe certification instead. 


Natrue is a sustainable certification for cosmetics products. Any product with the Natrue label is intended to be as natural as possible. This means using natural and organic ingredients, soft manufacturing processes and environmentally friendly practices. A great example of a Natrue certified company is the vegan skincare brand Aeos

Rainforest Alliance

The green frog seal is the Rainforest Alliance’s stamp of approval. This certification means that a product was made using methods that fulfil three criteria. Firstly, they protect forests and look after the health of trees, soils, and waterways. Secondly, they use climate-smart practices which increase carbon storage and decrease deforestation. Lastly, they are committed to improving human rights such as addressing child labor, forced labor, low wages, gender inequality, and the violation of Indigenous land rights.

Recycled Claim Standard

Nowadays, we are seeing more and more products that are supposedly made from recycled materials. This is great when it is true but sometimes brands can be misleading with their claims. The Textile Exchange created the Recycled Claim Standard to verify the amount of recycled content in products. The Recycled 100 certification means that a product is made from at least 95% recycled materials. The Recycled Blended certification means that a product is at least 50% recycled. 

Soil Association

The Soil Association calls themselves the ‘charity that digs deeper to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world.’ They are a leading organic certifier and cover multiple industries including food and drink, farming, forestry, beauty and wellness, and textiles. The soil association certification is reserved for companies that meet top sustainable standards throughout the business. 

Shop – Certified

Sustainable certifications are here to make conscious consumerism more straightforward. We can all do our part for the planet by making more eco-friendly purchases. If you are looking for more guidance or inspiration on your eco journey, follow The One Edit on Instagram.