Green Business

Developing Science-Based Standards

Green Seal develops standards that clearly define sustainability leadership for products, cleaning services, hotels, and restaurants. Our standard development process is based on the international standard for environmental labeling programs (see more below). Each of our standards has been developed following a life-cycle-based approach and an open, transparent stakeholder process.

Green Seal's Standard Development Process:

  • Select Product Category
  • Conduct Feasibility Assessment - Is there a need in the market for differentiation?
  • Develop Criteria - Product function, performance assessments, environmental and health impacts  •   
  • Conduct Outreach to Stakeholders - Solicit feedback
  • Public Comment Period - Publish Draft Standard and technical documents for comment 
  • Revise Standard - In response to new information 
  • Issue Standard and Publish Supporting Technical Documents
Interested in the Details?
Read this brief guide on our Standard Development Process.

Revision Process for Green Seal Standards

Green Seal reviews most standards every three to five years. In some cases, standards require updates in order to account for changes in the market and the commercialization of new technologies. Green Seal may also conduct more focused revisions to resolve minor issues in the standards. Examples include expanding the scope, updating lists of prohibited substances , resolving difficulties, or clarifying requirements. All revisions include a Public Comment Period during which Green Seal solicits comments related only to the proposed changes.

Life Cycle Approach

  Product and service categories are evaluated during the development of a standard to ensure that all significant functional, environmental, and health impacts are considered in in all stages of the life-cycle, from raw material extraction and manufacturing to use and disposal.

Green Seal’s research page has more information about life cycle research we have conducted.

Stakeholder-Involved Process

All interested parties - individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations - are able to register to review and comment on Draft Standards and technical documents during our Public Comment Periods. In the case of a dispute, there is an appeals process for unresolved issues. Green Seal is always seeking feedback on our standards and this feedback will be considered during the review.

External Review of the Standard Development Process

Green Seal's standard development procedures have been reviewed by third parties and found to meet the guidelines of two standards of the International Organization for Standardization:
  • ISO 14020: Environmental Labels and Declarations - General Principles
  • ISO 14024: Environmental Labels and Declarations - Type I Environmental Labelling - Principles and Procedures
These two standards prescribe the goals, considerations, and procedures for voluntary (not regulatory) environmental labeling programs. Green Seal has demonstrated conformance to these standards.

Approximately every five years, the Global Ecolabelling Network conducts an onsite audit of Green Seal programs to ensure conformance with ISO 14020 and ISO 14024. We were successfully audited in September 2015.
Other Guidelines
Green Seal’s standard development procedures also meet the requirements for credible ecolabels from the following organizations:

Contact standards@greenseal.org for more information.