Environmental Seals or how to consume responsibly

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Many times I have thought about how I know if what I consume is really a product or service that has been elaborated with processes that comply with environmental care standards.


It is likely that as consumers we compare prices to determine which product we choose, but we should keep in mind that the packaging itself may even have informative tools that tell us if that product has been made positively towards the protection and conservation of the environment.




Although as consumers we should have access to information on how a product was made, who participated in the process, what resources were used or how waste was disposed of, this is something that does not happen in reality, but there are certifications that can indirectly provide us with this information, indicating whether the product I am thinking of choosing is environmentally responsible. In a certified product or service it is possible to find symbols that refer to the fulfillment of standards in favor of the environment and these are known as Environmental Seals.



Some examples of these stamps are:



Rainforest Alliance:


It certifies that a product or ingredient was produced with methods that favor the pillars of sustainability (social, economic and ecological). You can find it on agricultural products, forestry products and tourism businesses.


This is the use of the Rainforest Aliance label:

  • Improve the livelihoods of producers, farm workers and their families, and communities.

  • Avoid deforestation, promote reforestation, protect biodiversity and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

  • Improve efficiency and reduce costs, which often translates into higher incomes

  • Increasing climate resilience through climate-smart farming methods

  • Improving the health of farmers, workers and their families

  • Protecting the rights of workers and children

  • Respect the rights of communities

  • Protect and enhance forests and other ecosystems

For more information visit: https://www.rainforest-alliance.org













FSC (Forest Stewardship Council):


It certifies that the forests used for the production of a product are managed in a way that conserves biodiversity and favors local populations and sustains economic viability.

This label advocates that:

  • Forest management operations will encourage the efficient use of the forest's multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

  • The legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories and resources shall be recognized and respected.

  • Forest management shall conserve biological diversity and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique and fragile ecosystems and landscapes.

  • Management activities in high conservation value forests shall maintain or enhance the attributes that define such forests.


For more information visit: https://fsc.org












LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design):


Certifies that a building is sustainable and energy efficient. It seeks energy savings, efficient use of water, reduction of CO2 emissions, improves the quality of the indoor environment, promotes construction practices with less environmental impact.


These are the requirements to qualify for this environmental seal:

  • Materials and resources - Using sustainable and environmentally friendly products, while reducing waste promoting better indoor air quality.

  • Water efficiency - The building must be designed in a way that reduces the use of potable water or resources can be reused, minimizing water needs inside the building.

  • Energy and atmosphere - The building should improve energy efficiency and promote high indoor air and environmental quality.

  • Sustainable Places - Design the project so that natural resources and nearby ecosystems can be a natural part of the design while minimizing environmental pollution.

  • Indoor environmental quality - Increase the use of natural light and promote natural ventilation.


For more information visit: https://www.usgbc.org/leed












MSC (Marine Stewardship Council):


It certifies that a fish product is sustainable, that is, that it has been fished and distributed in compliance with environmentally friendly standards, which is why the entire fishing process is monitored, from the sea to the fishmonger's shop.


What does the MSC blue seal tell us? The MSC environmental seal for sustainable fishing encompasses 3 fundamental principles: the state of the population of the species to be certified, the environmental impact of the fishing activity and the effectiveness of the fishery management system.


For more information visit: https://www.msc.org/









Agricultura Ecológica en España

Spain has its own seal, as most countries have a system to mark their organic production. Generally, these seals are printed together with the European certification, and are also used in large supermarkets to indicate the shelves where there are products of organic origin.









Organic Agriculture in Europe


Regulated by the European Commission, the logo ensures that products comply with EU rules on organic products. Among others, the main contributions of this seal to the product are:

  • It guarantees that 95% of the ingredients are organic (at least).

  • Sustainable production.

  • Protection of the environment.

  • Product quality.

  • Animal welfare standards.

  • Free-range animals in animal products.

  • Restricted use of pesticides.

  • Avoidance of water and soil contamination.

For more information visit: https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/farming/organic-farming/organic-logo_es








Association for Spanish and Forest Certification


PEFC is the forest certification system that aims to ensure that the world's forests are managed responsibly, and that their many functions are protected for present and future generations. It relies on the collaboration of owners and companies in the forestry sector, who, by committing to the certification of their forests and industries, are ensuring the sustainability of the sector.

For more information visit: https://www.pefc.es/







Biocotton

It is especially important to emphasize the certification of organic cotton, now that many large chains boast of using it in their garments. Be careful because many say that the cotton is of organic origin but it is not certified. This does not mean that it is not really organic, but it may mean that the working conditions are not respected or that the plantation is overexploited. This certificate besides stating that the cotton used is organic also states that the working conditions have been respected and that the plantation has not been overexploited.


For more information visit: https://www.pefc.es/








Green Dot


The Green Dot is the symbol that certifies that the company belongs to Ecoembes' Integrated Packaging Management System.

All packaging companies are obliged to recover the packaging waste from the products they place on the market so that they can be recycled and recovered. In other words, this seal implies a "recovery guarantee" where it informs that the packer has paid for the packaging waste of that product to be managed correctly and not to contaminate.


For more information visit: https://www.ecoembes.com/es









Vegan Society

Certification given by Vegan Society, an educational organization that aims to promote the vegan lifestyle, certifying through its certification that the products do not contain any ingredients of animal origin.

The requirements of this seal are:

  • No ingredients of animal origin or derivatives are used during the manufacturing process.

  • The formulas only contain ingredients that do not come from animals, animal by-products or derivatives.

  • Cosmetic products bearing this seal have not been tested on animals.

  • The ingredients used in the formulation have not been tested on animals.

  • The development and production of GMOs must not involve any gene of animal origin.

For more information visit: https://www.ecoembes.com/es







Energy Label


The energy label allows the consumer to quickly find out the energy efficiency of an appliance. The labels have a common part, which refers to the brand, name of the appliance and energy efficiency class; and another part, which varies from one appliance to another, and which describes other characteristics, depending on its functionality.

For more information visit: https://www.ecoembes.com/es







We must be more responsible when consuming. As well as these seals, there are more labels that should help us determine the quality of a product or service. Being a responsible consumer means being informed in order to make a decision about what you are going to choose.


We encourage you to take a look at the labels of the products before buying them, in order to participate in a responsible consumption and where environmental organizations are recognized for their great work.


Join the fight!


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