Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Behind the Seal: Green Seal gets an A+

My first green seal review is called, funnily enough, the green seal!  It's kind of perfect.  And from what I can see this seal is pretty perfect too!  What a great way to start.
Let me describe the elements the I enjoy.

1. A life cycle approach:
This approach offers a broad perspective on business impact, which is why it is so terrific.  A life cycle approach looks at product manufacturing from start to finish, from raw extraction to product disposal.  It's really the only way to truly understand the impact a business has on the community and environment.

2. Stakeholder involvement:
Green seal offers the ability for anyone to get involved in the product approval process.  While there are guidelines to the process, it lacks the elitism of only allowing academics and experts to comment and judge green standards.  I like that (even though I am an academic).

3. Process validity:
The green seal uses external standards to validate their certification guidelines.  I think this is one of the seal's greatest strengths.  As someone who reads and critiques a lot of research, using external standards is one of the best ways to ensure the process of creating standards is valid.  It is usually a good sign when data converges on the same conclusion.

4. On going monitoring:
One shot certification is never going to be a good solution.  While on going monitoring is challenging because of the time commitment and money investment, it is the only way to ensure that companies are maintaining their green standards.

5. Research based:
As a psychologist, I love research.  I don't want to read anecdotes.  I want to read valid statistics that have been interpreted cautiously and realistically.  My only critique of Green Seal is that the site says they are research-based but there doesn't seem to be a lot of research on the site.  Hopefully this improves over time.

6. A sliding scale for fees:
Using a sliding scale is another great example of creating accessibility for the green seal.  When a company only has one high fee it really limits the ability of companies to afford green certification.

2/2 - Life cycle approach                  
2/2 - Stakeholder involvement
2/2 - Process validity
2/2 - On going monitoring

1/2 - Research based
2/2 - Sliding scale

Total - 11/12 or 92% or an A+