Green Business

Green Seal Standards

Our sustainability standards for products, services, and companies are based on life-cycle research, and are developed in an open, transparent, and stakeholder-involved process. Green Seal standards provide criteria and guidelines for manufacturers, service providers, and companies to work toward sustainability and Green Seal certification. Green Seal has 33 issued standards that cover 400 product and service categories.

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Environmental Innovation

GS-20 Environmental Innovation

GS-20 identifies innovative environmental initiatives and recognizes environmental benefits of leadership products, services, processes, and technologies (collectively referred to as "initiatives"). This standard is intended for initiatives that are not covered by existing Green Seal standards.

Two types of recognition are available from Green Seal under this standard:

(1) GS-20 certification may be granted to innovative initiatives.
(2) Validation of the specific environmental benefits of initiatives that are not considered innovative.

GS-20 establishes a framework for evaluating the environmental benefits of commercially available products, services, processes, or technologies. The evaluation includes two major steps: a comparison of the initiative to mainstream offerings that provide the same function, and a verification that the initiative delivers significant environmental benefits.

Environmental and human health impacts will be assessed for each initiative; multiple attributes will be considered at key stages of the life-cycle. These impacts will then be compared to the equivalent impacts from other products that provide the same function. The reduced environmental and human health impacts will be considered against the major tradeoffs that may occur to ensure that the net environmental benefits are significant.

Environmental benefits may include:
  • Improved technical or environmental efficiency.
  • Beneficial alternatives to an existing practice.
  • Converting waste to a resource.
  • Combining technologies or processes in an innovative way.
  • Approaches that are unusual for the market category and provide improved performance or increased environmental value.

In the first stage of the evaluation, Green Seal will establish leadership requirements for the relevant category, and publish them for public comment. For the second stage, each applicant will have the option to review these requirements and decide whether to apply for a review of their application against the requirements established in the first stage.

For additional information, please call 202-872-6400 or email standards [at]