Big List Of Ethical Labels & Certifications

Ethical shopping is confusing! Bookmark this big list of ethical and eco-friendly labels and certifications so that you know what to look for.

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Each listed label or certification has a logo that you should look for when shopping!

Use this guide when you are shopping through the brands and marketplaces in our ethical brand directory here.


Thanks to some of my favorite ethical living resources that made this list possible. I've reorganized the information in a way that makes sense for me so that I can use it as my personal reference page.

  • Basics of Ethical Labels & Certifications
  • Environmental Certifications
  • Fair Labor Certifications
  • Holistic Brand Certifications
  • Membership Networks, Rating Systems, & Other Resources
Basics of Ethical Labels & Certifications
  • There are ethical labels and certifications for everything from food, fashion, and home products
  • There is no single "this thing is 100% ethical / sustainable" label (it's sad 😞 , I know).
  • The closest thing to this are the Holistic Brand Certifications
  • There are MANY labels that represent different parts of ethical, sustainable, and transparent production for things made in the food, fashion, and home goods industries
  • Companies are NOT required to get certified or approved for ethical labels - right now, everything is voluntary
  • It costs money to get certified and approved for ethical and eco-friendly labels & certifications
  • Companies choose which labels or certifications they want (if any) depending on their budget, industry, and how much they want to market their ethical operations
  • Consumers (like me and you) can demand accountability from companies so that the value of ethical & sustainable labels and certifications increases the market value of the products. This could create a much more ethical and sustainable economy
  • Some labels below are true certifications, whereas others are structured more like networks.
  • Some labels below use third-party auditors, while others are based on self-reporting.
  • Some labels below certify raw materials or end products, whereas others certify entire factories and brands.
Environmental Certifications
look for the zero logo-humanofimpact.org

What the certification signifies: a brand or company does not use microplastic ingredients in any of their products.

  • Certified brands must submit a list of ingredients and must then sign a statement that declares that all of the brand's products are microplastic free.
  • The microplastic ingredients that they look for include: Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or Nylon

What gets certified? Cosmetic and personal care brands

Found at: Internationally! Already in over 15 countries.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-logo

What the certification signifies: a textile has met the wholistic standards that cover the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading, and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers. The textiles has also met a certain set of environmental standards (toxicity, wastewater, etc.) as well as social criteria in accordance with the International Labor Organization.

  • GOTS is one of the most trustworthy and holistic certifications!
  • There are a number of different certifying bodies that can actually award certification, but all of them use the same standards.
  • GOTS is an international standard that works in collaboration with organizations around the world.
  • Search their public database by category here.

What gets certified? Any textiles (clothing, bedding, towels, and raw fabrics and fibers)

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a raw material, fabric, textile, or end-product adheres to the Standard 100 which tests for substances like toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans.

  • OEKO-TEX is a trustworthy label that focuses on chemicals.
  • They have other certifications like:
  1. The LEATHER STANDARD for toxic substances in leather
  2. MADE IN GREEN which goes beyond toxic substances to ensure safe, responsible, and environmentally-friendly production processes
  3. STeP which is focused on the supply chain
  4. ECO PASSPORT which also looks at substances, but incorporates more environmental factors
  5. DETOX TO ZERO which considers water waste and sludge
  • OEKO-TEX is based in Switzerland and you can find their certifications all over the world.

What gets certified? Raw materials, fabrics, and textiles, and ready-made goods like apparel, accessories, and home goods. Full directory of certified products directory here

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a product made from cotton comes from a committed BCI Member who pays into the program and who is sourcing at least 5% of their cotton as Better Cotton to start, with a plan to be sourcing at least 50% of their cotton as Better Cotton within five years.

  • BCI is a non-profit organization that’s encouraging a more sustainable way to source cotton through a defined set of standards.
  • It’s a halfway step to organic that is especially useful for farmers who can’t afford to go organic because going organic can take lots of money and three years to do. 
  • BCI is in Switzerland and the UK with Members globally.

What gets certified? Anything made of cotton.

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a product made with textiles was produced in a way that is safe for both humans and the environment

  • Bluesign takes into consideration everything from water waste to dye toxicity to worker and consumer safety and more.
  • Based in Switzerland with certified companies around the world.

What gets certified? Anything made with textiles

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a product received an achievement level (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) in each of the five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. 

NOTE: The overall product label is whichever category has the lowest level (for example, if a product has a platinum in the water stewardship category but a silver in social fairness, then the overall product level is silver).

  • The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard focuses on the circularity of products.
  • Since it’s focused primarily on circularity rather than just the ethics of production on the front end. This means the Cradle to Cradle process and certification could helps us get to a point where everything we make, buy, and own is circular.
  • Check out C2C’s product registry here.
  • C2C also has a Fashion Positive Materials Collection, which is a digital resource for C2C Certified materials used in textiles like yarn, fabrics, dyes, etc.
  • An international company based in California and Amsterdam.

What gets certified? Any textiles (clothing, bedding, towels, and raw fabrics and fibers)

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a trader, manufacturer, or brand produces or sells leather products and has been approved and/or rated (Gold, Silver, or Bronze) based on the environmentally-conscious productions standards set by LWG

  • Audits can be done by several third parties using the same set of LWG standards.
  • LWG standards consider things like waste management, energy consumption, water usage, traceability, restricted substances, and more.
  • Based in the UK, you’ll find LWG members worldwide.

What gets certified? Traders and manufacturers/tanneries in the leather industry. (Members are brands that use LWG-approved traders and manufacturers). Here is a full list

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a non-food product is sourced from the organic raw material of a strict chain custody system provided by the OCS

  • The OCS Certification was written by the Textile Exchange (originally named Organic Exchange), an international, member-supported, non-profit organization. Textile Exchange also has several other certifications, including:
  1. the Recycled Claim Standard - which is similar in that it provides a strict chain of custody from input to final product
  2. the Global Recycled Standard - which goes beyond the RCS by also ensuring social and environmental practices throughout production
  3. the Responsible Down Standard -which verifies responsible animal welfare standards on farms in the down supply chain and tracks the feathers from input to final product
  • Based in Texas, but Textile Exchange works with companies and countries all over the world.

What gets certified? Any non-food product

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a food product or textile ingredient meets strict standards set by the US government in their growing and harvesting process

  • USDA Organic products cannot be treated with any pesticides, synthetics, fertilizers, hormones, or other types of additives.

What gets certified? Food products and ingredients used in textiles, like cotton or wool.

Found at: The United States

What the certification signifies: a food, personal care, appliance, apparel, or other commercial good is made while ensuring human and environmental safety

What gets certified? Everything from drinking water and water filters, commercial foodservice equipment, nutritional supplements, private label goods, personal care items, home appliances, and clothing.

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: It depends on the 3 different labels:

  • FSC 100% means the product is made completely from FSC-certified well-managed forests
  • FSC Recycled means everything from the product comes from recycled material
  • FSC Mix means that the product is from FSC-certified forests, recycled material, or controlled wood

Details:

  • FSC is a global not-for-profit organization that ensures that companies using timber from an FSC-certified forest meet their standards along the entire supply chain.
  • Based in Germany, you will find FSC-certified products all over the world.
  • Find the FSC’s list of certified entities here.

What gets certified? Forests, supply chains, retailers, and wood or tree-based end products. In the fashion world, it's more so packaging and cellulosic fibers made from trees, such as rayon, viscose, lyocell, modal, and Tencel. 

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a farm, food, beauty product, or other good comply with ROC's standards in animal welfare, fairness for farmers and workers, and soil health and land management

  • Still a pretty new certification that is pilot testing but plans to become open for general applications soon
  • ROC is managed and supported by NSF International (see above)

What gets certified? Farms, food, beauty products, apparel, and other goods.

Found at: At the moment, mostly the U.S.

What the certification signifies: Certified wool comes from animals that were raised in such a way that more carbon was stabilized than emitted!

  • Developed by the non-profit Fibershed which is based in California
  • Currently only focused on wool, but in the future they may expand to other materials
  • Shop the Fibershed marketplace here

What gets certified? Apparel, accessories, and home goods made with wool

Found at: The United States

What the certification signifies: For textiles, the ECOCERT label means the fabric is either GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard), and/or Ecological & Recycled Textiles (Ecocert Standard) certified.

  • An independent inspection and certification company
  • Specializes in organic agriculture products

What gets certified? Food products, cosmetics, raw materials, detergents, and textiles.

Found at: Internationally! ECOCERT has accreditation bodies in Europe, the United States, and Japan.

What the certification signifies: the brand or product has signed PETA’s statement of assurance verifying that their product is vegan

  • This certification is only based on self-reporting
  • Brands are not audited to confirm whether or not they uphold the requirements
  • NOTE: just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for the environment. In fact, it’s often the opposite. How? Well, many vegan leather alternatives such as PU are toxic to humans and the earth.

What gets certified? apparel, accessories, home goods, and cosmetics

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: no animals were harmed in personal care and beauty products

What gets certified? apparel, accessories, home goods, and cosmetics

Found at: Internationally!

Fair Labor Certifications

What the certification signifies: a factory or organization that makes goods has been socially certified for adhering to SAI's labor standards that align with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • Established by Social Accountability International (SAI)
  • SA8000 standards are in line with conventions and include things like child labor, forced labor, health and safety, discrimination, working hours, and more.
  • SAI is based in New York and certifies organizations in 62 countries over 57 industries around the globe.

What gets certified? The factories and organizations that make your goods

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a factory that makes goods was audited in categories such as forced labor, benefits, and discrimination, and then given a platinum, gold, or silver certification

  • WRAP is a social compliance certification that works with facilities primarily in apparel, footwear, and sewn goods.
  • WRAP is based in Virginia, USA and certifies facilities around the world.

What gets certified? The factories where goods are made

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: An artisan-made good, like apparel, accessories, furniture, and home goods, is compliant across a matrix of 130 standards that ensure ethical working standards for the various types of labor used to make the product - such as in-home labor, migrant labor forces, and more.

  • Nest is the first certification that ensures (not just audits) ethical working standards for all of the labor that’s done within homes (where some estimates say as much as 60% of production takes place, according to Nest).
  • Nest has a unique training-first program is tailored to address the wide degree of variation in decentralized supply chains, which may result from factors such as multiple layers of subcontracting, migrant labor forces, and broad geographic dispersal.
  • The Nest Standards and Seal represent their dedication to cultural sensitivity and handworker ownership in decision-making.
  • Nest is based in New York and works in over 90 countries, with over 500 artisan businesses and over 180,000 handworkers.

What gets certified? Artisan-made goods like apparel, accessories, furniture, and home goods

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a consumable product or ingredient meets the strict industry-specific standards of Fairtrade International. The standards include factors like fair wages, safe working conditions, and supply chain transparency, all audited by FLOCERT (see below):

  • Fairtrade International works with small farmers, producers, and traders around the globe who meet strict standards.
  • Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA are now separated because Fair Trade USA wanted to give large farms the opportunity to be certified as well

What gets certified? Mostly consumable products and ingredients

Found at: Internationally! Fair Trade International Certified products come from around the globe.

What the certification signifies: a product or ingredient has been audited and certified by Fair Trade International through FLOCERT

  • FLOCERT is the B2B certifying body that audits for Fair Trade International.
  • They also have a couple other programs: EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) and SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) Social Audits for supply chains.
  • Technically, brands don’t have to include the FLOCERT logo on their products, since it’s simply the certifying body for Fairtrade International. However, you will see this logo on products and company websites, so it’s good to know what it is.
  • For more detail on the relationships between the different Fairtrade-related organizations, check out their FAQ

What gets certified? Mostly consumable products and ingredients.

Found at: Internationally! FLOCERT works with companies around the world.

What the certification signifies: an ingredient or end-product follows the labor standards and environmental standards of the Fair Trade USA standards

  • Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA are now separated because Fair Trade USA wanted to give large farms the opportunity to be certified as well
  • Fair Trade USA uses many of the same labor standards as Fair Trade International
  • Fair Trade USA also includes certain environmental standards like the prohibition of GMOs and toxic chemicals
  • Here's their shopping guide!
  • Here's their Quality Management Manual

What gets certified? Ingredients and end products in clothing, food, beauty products, flowers, supplements, shoes, and home goods

Found at: Internationally! Fair Trade USA is based in the United States, but sources from countries around the world.

What the certification signifies: an Australian textile, clothing, or footwear business's supply chains are legally compliant

What gets certified? Textiles, apparel, shoes

Found at: Australia (on Australian brands)

Holistic Brand Certifications

The certifications below take a holistic approach to address the ethical and sustainable aspects of an entire company.

What the certification signifies: a company has been certified and measured for its entire social and environmental performance, from supply chain and input materials to employee benefit and more!

  • B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance
  • Each company gets a "B Impact" score which indicates how much room there is for improvement.
  • Their long term goal is not just to certify companies, but to usher in a new economy where companies are legally required to balance purpose and profit.
  • Based in the US
  • Has certified businesses all over the world
  • Check out the B Corp Directory here

What gets certified? For-profit businesses (not individual products) in pretty much any industry

Found at: Internationally!

What the certification signifies: a brand has met the Eco-Age Principles for Sustainable Excellence and has been verified by Eco-Age

What gets certified? Fashion brands that show a commitment to ethical, social, and environmental behavior

Found at: Internationally!

RSPO-sustainable-certified-palm-oil-logo-human-of-impact

What the certification signifies: a manufacturer or producer is verified under RSPO standards in producing sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil.

  • The tiers of the RSPO certification and accreditation can be found here
  • RSPO-certified growers account for 19% of global palm oil production (2014).
  • To ensure the credibility of the sustainability claim at the end of the supply chain, all organisations that take legal ownership and physically handle RSPO certified sustainable oil palm products need to be supply chain certified.
  • Search the certified suppliers here

What gets certified? Palm oil producers

Found at: Internationally!

Membership Networks, Rating Systems, & Other Resources

The following organizations are not true certifications (but you will see their labels on products). Instead, these are membership networks, rating systems, or other types of resources for businesses, brands, and/or consumers. This difference is important because most certifications (unless otherwise noted, as with PETA’s certifications) require some sort of regular third-party verification in order to ensure strict accountability.

What the label signifies: a company is adhering to ETI’s Base Code, which ensures that works have freely chosen their employment, are being paid fairly, are working in safe conditions, and more

  • ETI is a network
  • Companies are required to submit annual reports to prove compliance
  • Plays a key role in lobbying governments to set and enforce fair labor laws.
  • Here's a list of ETI’s members

What gets certified? Global companies, international trade union bodies, specialized labor rights organizations, and charities

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: There isn’t a Canopy label right now, but they recommend looking for the FSC certification label (see above)

  • Canopy is an international nonprofit organization
  • Works with over 750 companies to protect ancient and endangered forests
  • Canopy states that using these materials like modal (a rayon/viscose fabric often used as a "sustainable" alternative to synthetics & resource-intense materials like cotton) is leading to deforestation
  • Canopy tries to make sure the ‘eco-friendly’ fabrics in your clothing are actually being sourced sustainably
  • Here's Canopy’s list of fashion brands they work with

What gets certified? Brands that use materials from forests, like paper or fabrics, who are committed to working toward more sustainable solutions

Found at: There isn’t a Canopy label as of right now, but they recommend looking for the FSC certification label (see above).

What the label signifies: a company or product has been accurately measured and scored on its sustainability performance

  • Developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) - which is currently working on developing validation programs to increase transparency and accountability
  • A suite of tools for brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes
  • Delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment
  • Based in California
  • Membership is available for organizations around the worldRight now, The Higg Index is primarily for business-to-business (B2B). However, their consumer-facing version has been in-progress for years
  • Here's the list of members

What gets certified? products, brands, retailers, manufacturers, governments, and NGOs can use The Higg Index

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: a company went through 5 major components which verified that it is mission-led, providing solutions to broader issues - like overuse of natural resources, women’s empowerment, refugee livelihoods, human rights, inequality and sustainable farming

  • An assurance mechanism with accountability and development tools for organizations.
  • WTFO is not technically a true certification program
  • Functions like a certification program
  • Based in the Netherlands, but you can find WTFO Certified companies globally
  • Shop products from WTFO entities here

What gets certified? The companies (not the product)

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: a company meets strict ethical standards - like safe working conditions, living wages, and environmental stewardship

What gets certified? The organization (not the product) in apparel, home goods, beauty products, musical instruments, food and drink, and more

Found at: Mostly US and Canada because FTF companies are North American based but FTF companies also source from around the world

What the label signifies: a company or supplier completed a 2-3 year process & was successfully evaluated to ensure that the safety and health for their workers is compliant with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct

  • Companies or suppliers can sign on to become FLA compliant
  • Accreditation is not guaranteed
  • After the 2-3 year period of implementing the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct, FLA evaluates whether the company can be considered for accreditation
  • Here is a list of FLA compliant companies

What gets certified? A company’s supply chain (not the product)

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: a garment brand, factory, trade union, NGO, or government is improving working conditions for garment workers

  • A non-profit membership
  • Audits and educates based on a set of standards that ensure worker welfare
  • Based in the Netherlands
  • FWF works with 11 production countries across Asia, Europe and Africa

What gets certified? Apparel brands (not the product)

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: a company of any shape or size from any industry is committed to giving back 1% of their gross sales to help the planet

  • 1% For the Planet is a network
  • Provides advice and helps pair organizations with trusted nonprofits
  • Every year, it certifies all of the 1% donations from each company to ensure compliance 

What gets certified? Any business or organization who has committed to donating 1% of gross sales to environmental non-profits each year. Individuals can now be members of 1% For the Planet as well, by giving 1% of their annual salary to environmental nonprofits through monetary and/or volunteer support.

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: which fashion brands are the “least” and “most” ethical and sustainable based on things like transparency, fair working conditions, environmental production practices, and animal welfare

  • A rating system, not a certification or label
  • Each brand gets a rating from worst (“We Avoid”) to best (“Great”).
  • Brands must achieve a “Good” or “Great" to display the label
  • Rates brands from around the world and has U.S. and Australia-based apps
  • Check out their directory or download their app for Apple or Android.

What gets certified? Fashion brands

Found at: Internationally!

What the label signifies: the product meets EWG's strictest criteria for transparency and health. The product was verified for following these criteria:

  • Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG's "Unacceptable" list that are of concern for health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns.
  • Must meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label, provide full transparency to EWG, including fragrance ingredients.
  • Product manufacturers must develop and follow current good manufacturing practices to further ensure the safety of their products.

What gets certified? cleaning products and personal care (baby, skin, hair, makeup, men's, sun care, fragrances)

Found at: Internationally!

Did we miss any important certifications? Comment below or email us at hello @ humanofimpact.org and we will investigate and add to the list.


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Ethical shopping is confusing! Bookmark this big list of ethical and eco-friendly labels and certifications so that you know what to look for. This huge list is categorized into environmental certifications, fair labor certifications, ethical rating systems and more! There is even a
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