Green certifications

Many organizations choose voluntarily to get eco certified, to comply with specific eco standards or make use of established indicators. Certain international, country-specific, or activity-specific actions may also legally require the use of standards and certification.

Certification, compliance with approved standards and the use of recognized indicators are mechanisms which can help to eliminate “green-washing” and can give organizations a competitive advantage, both in terms of green marketing and by saving costs and resources. For example, the ISO 14000 certification standard defines a voluntary environmental management system, which can help improve corporate performance, and also provides an objective basis for verifying a companies’ claims about its performance.

There are a variety of associated benefits from eco-certification, which include increased business efficiency, increased recognition and media, trust by consumers, increased sales and overall increased sustainability. However, there are an escalating number of eco-certifications, standards and indicators. As a consumer, this can make it quite confusing to make a choice between products. As a manufacturer or service provider, it can be equally overwhelming to decide what eco label to go for and it’s worth investigating your options properly.

The following is a list of some certification organizations, standards and indicators – ranging from standards and certifications relating to water quality, fishing and fish-breeding, eco-labels, environmental management, pollution and pollution control, waste, recycling, air quality, agriculture, food & beverage, travel & tourism, climate change, biodiversity, and heritage.

International Certifications & standards

Accreditation Services International 
Biodiversity indicators partnership 
Blue Flag 
Bureau Veritas 
Certified Emission Reductions (CER) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Gold Standard 
Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standards 
Eco Schools 
Ecocert Certifications (various)
Fair Trade
Footprint Standards 
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 
Global Footprint Network’s Ecological Footprint Standards
Global Organic Textile Standard 
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 
Green Award certification (for safety and environmental standards in shipping)
Green Globe Certification 
Green Seal 
Institute for Market Technology 
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) 
International Standards Organisation (ISO) 
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) 
Rainforest Alliance 
Scientific Certification Systems 
Soil Association 
Sustainable Travel International 

Country specific certifications & standards

South Africa
Africa’s Farms Certified Organic (AFRISCO) 
Bio-Dynamic & Organic Certification Authority 
Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) 
Carbon Protocol of South Africa 
Certification Board for Environmental Assessment Practitioners 
Eco Standard South Africa 
Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) 
Green Star SA 
Heritage Environmental Rating Program 
WIETA Agricultural Ethical Trade Initiative (South Africa) 

Green Star Hotel 

Ecotourism Kenya 

Further information
See the Eco label Index global directory of eco labels.