Consumers guide to green labels in Canada

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Source: GLOBE Foundation

Industry Canada has published a useful guide that explains some of the common green claims and labels one will find in Canada.

EcoLogo

ecoLogoThe Canadian EcoLogo (also known as Environmental Choice) helps you identify products and services that have been independently certified to meet strict environmental standards that reflect their entire life cycle-from manufacturing to disposal. EcoLogo standards are designed so that only the top 20% of products available on the market can achieve certification. More than 7000 products-from paint to paper-carry this logo. For more information, go to www.terrachoice-certified.com/en/.

Energy Efficiency
ENERGY STAR

The international ENERGY STAR symbol marks products that are among the most energy efficient on the market. ENERGY STAR-qualified products include: major appliances, heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, lighting products, electronics, office equipment, windows, doors and skylights.

EnerGuide

The Canadian EnerGuide label lists a product's estimated annual energy consumption and compares it to the energy performance of similar products. The EnerGuide label appears on products such as major household appliances, heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, new houses and automobiles.  For more information, go to http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca.

Forest Products

Forest certification logos indicate that forest products, such as wood and paper, come from sustainably managed forests. The following three internationally recognized forest certification systems are used in Canada. All three provide consumers with independent, third party assurance of sustainable forest management, ethical behaviour and adherence to local laws.

Food Products
Marine Stewardship Council Certification Logo

Products bearing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label come from fisheries certified to have met the MSC's standard for sustainable fishing. These fisheries must show how they minimize environmental impact, and that they have sustainable fish stocks and an effective management system in place that meets all local and international laws.  For more information, go to http://www.msc.org/.

Canada Organic Logo

Food products that meet the Canadian standard for organic production (at all stages, from growing to marketing) and contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients and no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) may display the Canada Organic label. Producers must also follow sustainable management practices to avoid damage to the environment and ensure the ethical treatment of livestock. For more information, go to www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/orgbio/orgbioe.shtml.

Fair Trade
TransFair Canada Logo

Fair trade schemes, such as TransFair Canada, set standards to ensure that certified products are produced in a socially and economically fair, and environmentally responsible manner. These programs promote sustainable development and work to improve the livelihood of farmers and other workers in the developing world.

Recycling Symbols

The recycling symbol (or Möbius loop) indicates that a product or packaging is recyclable, contains recycled content, or both. When used to show that a product or packaging contains recycled content, the percentage of recycled content should appear, either inside or next to the symbol. When a Möbius loop is used to indicate a product is both recyclable and contains recycled content, there must be an explanatory statement supporting both claims.

Society of the Plastics Industry Symbols

Many plastic and packaging products display a symbol that looks like the Möbius loop, but has a different purpose and meaning. This symbol is part of a resin coding system produced by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) that identifies the different resins found in plastic bottles and rigid containers. Recycling firms have varying standards for the plastics they accept and the presence of an SPI code does not mean the product is recyclable or recycled in your community.

Check with your municipality to see which types of plastics and other materials are collected locally.

Other Environmental Claims

Manufacturers, importers, distributors or anyone who promotes a product or service may decide to make environmental claims about it. These claims are usually based on a single attribute (for example, that a product is biodegradable or recyclable), rather than on the environmental impact of the product's entire life cycle, and may not be independently tested or certified. To learn more about these claims, go to Environmental claims: A guide for industry and advertisers (Format PDF).

The Competition Bureau has developed this guide in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association, to help businesses ensure their environmental advertising is not misleading. Consumers may also find the guidelines helpful when trying to evaluate environmental claims.

More Information

For more information on green claims visit the following:

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