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California Certification Programs and Awards

Certification for corporate responsibility varies by industry and product category, process and and sustainable business

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California Green Lodging Program

Information for business or pleasure travellers on how to choose options that are more environementally friendly.

Green Gardener Certification Program

City and County of Santa Barbara

California Commissioning Collaborative

Provider Certification Programs with guides for commissioning new and existing buildings. Building commissioning is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner's operational needs.

Buy Recycled Program

The California Integrated Waste Management Board's Buy Recycled Program promotes the State's policy to 'buy green.'

Sustainable Building Tool Kit

This tool kit was created by the California Sustainable Building Task Force to assist project managers and provide quick, direct access to helpful information and documents.

Fish-Friendly Farming (FFF) Program for Grape Growers

Unique green certification program for grapegrowers: Fish-Friendly Farming provides third-party certification that documents environmentally friendly land practices.

California Green Builder

The California Green Builder program (CGB) is the effective and cost-effective green building program for production builders and California homebuyers. Created by homebuilders for homebuilders, the voluntary program meets the needs of builders, buyers, and California’s cities and counties alike.California Green Builder is recognized by the California Energy Commission.

General Corporate Programs

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE)

Groundbreaking initiative that develops market-based solutions for the recycling and reuse of post consumer carpet

Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program

Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program is administered by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions and based in San Francisco,provides a simple way for the public to quickly identify environmentally superior electricity Green-e Program Center for Resource Solutions P.O. Box 29512 Presidio Building 97 Arguello Boulevard San Francisco, CA 94129

Green-e Retail Greenhouse Gas Reduction Certification Program

In 2006, CRS launched an initiative to develop the Retail Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Product Certification Program. The program will include a retail GHG reduction product standard, verification protocols, and consumer disclosure guidelines. Similar to what Green-e provides for the voluntary renewable electricity market, this new effort aims to provide a credible consumer protection service to the burgeoning voluntary GHG reduction consumer market. Center for Resource Solutions

The Green Seminary Project - Certification Program

The Green Seminary Certification Program (GSCP) is being developed to encourage, guide, and recognize seminaries that significantly engage in the process

Green Congregation Programs are encouraged and supported with how-to information on the Web of Creation site. David Rhoads
Director, Green Seminary Program

Agriculture Certifications

Organic Trade Association

Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association that focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

Organic Trade Association
PO Box 547, Greenfield MA 01302
Shipping: 60 Wells Street, Greenfield MA 01301
Phone: 1-413-774-7511
Fax: 1-413-774-6432
General inquires:

Certified Green Gardener

The Green Gardener Certification Program for Santa Barbara County educates and certifies local gardeners in resource efficient and pollution prevention landscape management practices.

Green Gardener Certification Program
City and County of Santa Barbara
Public Works Dept
P.O. Box 1990
Santa Barbara, CA 93102-1990


USDA’s National Organic Program, which develops and implements national organic standards

Canadian Organic Growers Inc.

is Canada's national membership-based education and networking organization representing farmers, gardeners and consumers in all provinces.

Certified Organic Food

Gaia One Knowledge System provides a network of farmers, gardeners, consumers and industry professionals working together to bring organic food to the world. Also features ECO-Market Database for organic growers, products, and services National Integrated Pest Management Plan (National Integrated Pest Management Network) - Contacts with state and regional integrated pest management centers information, publications and IPM calendar

Certified fisheries: MSC Standard

The MSC Standard is the only internationally recognised set of environmental principles for measuring fisheries to assess if they are well managed and sustainable. The MSC is an independent, global, non-profit organisation which was set up to find a solution to the problem of overfishing. They were first established by Unilever, the world's largest buyer of seafood, and WWF, the international conservation organisation, in 1997.
MSC Chain of Custody process
A way of ensuring product traceability and the credibility of the MSC standard. Schools and restaurants are encouraged to undergo certification, and thus be able to use the MSC eco-label to demonstrate their environmental responsibility to consumers.
Directory of where to buy certified fish
Directory of stores with certified fish products

The Marine Stewardship Council
+44 (0) 207 811 3300
ASI - Accreditation Services International GmbH
Charles-de-Gaulle Str. 5
53113 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49-228 / 367-6613
Fax: +49-228 / 367-6630

Energy Certifications

U.S. EPA, Energy Star

US EPA Energy Star programs and products help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR certification and labeling program for energy management is the most well-known in the United States; more than 56 percent of Americans recognize the symbol and equate it with energy efficiency. Since the program's inception in 1995, almost 2,000 buildings, representing 400 million square feet of commercial space, have been awarded the ENERGY STAR label. Approximately 13,000 organizations, including small businesses, use ENERGY STAR to improve their energy management practices.

Building and Construction-related Certifications

Green Building Pages

Green Building Pages provides extensive listings and information for the development, building and construction industries and products. DATABASE



ECOBUYER is a resource tool for professional buyers and consumers who seek environmental responsible products or services.


GreenSpec is the UK construction industry's definitive guide to sustainable construction. Inside GreenSpec you will find a wealth of information aimed at helping you to design more energy and resource efficient buildings using materials and technologies that minimise damage to people and the environment.

LEED Building Certification

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED is becoming the standard green building certification program in the United States and Canada. In its first four years, LEED has accredited almost 20,000 building professionals and has certified more than 230 building projects with another 2,000 projects registered seeking certification. LEED is a voluntary program that rates building performance based on a point system. Building strategies include: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and operational or design innovations.

Phone(202) 82-USGBC or 828-7422
Fax(202) 828-5110
U.S. Green Building Council
1015 18th Street, NW, Suite 508
Washington, DC 20036

Green Building Initiative (GBI) Green Globes

In 2005, the Green Building Initiative licensed the Canadian program Green Globes for use in the United States. Green Globes is an online, interactive assessment tool designed for new construction (an existing building version is making its way to the market and may be available soon). Roughly 150 confidential questions are arranged in seven categories: project management, site, energy, water, resources, emissions and effluents, and indoor environment. Although Green Globes is initially a self-assessment tool, buildings can be certified with third-party verification. Green Globes aggregates survey scores in an anonymous database that is used for benchmarking. Green Globes is dynamically linked to ENERGY STAR's Target Finder software so that information provided is automatically calculated into target goals for your project.

The Green Building Initiative
222 SW Columbia St., Ste. 1800
Portland, Oregon 97201
Phone: 877.GBI.GBI1
Fax: 503.961.8991

Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA)
Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP)

After meeting the certification requirements in areas such as air quality (low-formaldehyde emitting composite wood), resource management and environmental stewardship, companies are awarded the ESP seal to display on their products.

1899 Preston White Drive
Reston, VA 20191-5435
TEL: 703-264-1690
FAX: 703-620-6530

Cradle to Cradle Certification

Product Certifications

Cradle to Cradle Certification provides a company with a means to tangibly, credibly measure achievement in environmentally-intelligent design and helps customers purchase and specify products that are pursuing a broader definition of quality.

Evalutations are based on criteria including: Materials; Material Reutilization/Design for the environment; Energy; Water; and Social Responsibility.

These criteria cover using environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting; the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency; efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production; and instituting strategies for social responsibility.

If a candidate product achieves the necessary criteria, it is certified as a Silver, Gold or Platinum product or as a Technical/Biological Nutrient (available for homogeneous materials or less complex products), and can be branded as Cradle to Cradle.

MBDC is a product and process design firm dedicated to revolutionizing the design of products and services worldwide. William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart founded MBDC in 1995 to promote and shape what they call the "Next Industrial Revolution" through the introduction of a new design paradigm called Cradle to Cradle Design , and the implementation of eco-effective design principles.

MBDC: McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC
700 E. Jefferson Street, Third Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22902
phone: 434.295.1111
fax: 434.295.1500

Green Building Design and Construction

Sustainable design or building "green" is an opportunity to use our resources efficiently while creating healthier buildings. It provides cost savings to all Californians through improved human health and productivity, lower cost building operations, and resource efficiency--and it moves us closer to a sustainable future. This resource center from the California Integrated Waste Management Board provides extensive information about green building:
  • Green Building Basics
  • Building and Buying Green in Indian Country: A Guide for California Indian Tribes
  • Sustainable Building Tool Kit
  • A Review of Construction Projects Using Sustainable Materials
  • Training Programs for state and local government.
  • Special Environmental Requirements Specification Section 01350
    Program Information and Activities
  • CIWMB Program Overview
  • Contacts
  • Grants
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Management

State Energy Program: California Green Building Initiative

The Executive Order sets a goal of reducing energy use in state-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2015 (from a 2003 baseline) and encourages the private commercial sector to set the same goal. The order also directs compliance to the Green Building Action Plan (PDF file 166 kb), which details the measures the state will take to meet these goals. More details about the project can be found on the documents page.

California Energy Commission / Green Building
1516 Ninth Street, MS-42
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-654-4800

UC Sustainable Ag. Research & Education

University of California sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, providing information about sustainable agriculture. The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) is a statewide program within UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was created through the grass roots efforts of organizations and individuals concerned about the environmental impacts of agriculture, the health of rural communities, and the profitability of family farming operations in California. At the request of the California legislature, the University of California established SAREP with three mandates: administer competitive grants for research on sustainable agricultural practices and systems, develop and distribute information through publications and on-farm demonstrations, and support long-term research and sustainable farming systems on UC farmlands. CAL Environmentally Preferable Products Database (ON HOLD) California Division of the State Architect. The goal of the project is to create a free, online EPP database to support the tremendous amount of school construction planned in California over the next decade. The database will serve as a resource for owners, architects, and contractors to find environmentally preferable building products that have been screened against a comprehensive set of environmental, health, and performance criteria.

Hospitality Businesses

California Green Lodging Program

The California Integrated Waste Management Baoard conducts a statewide Green Lodging program to divert waste from landfills, conserve energy and water, and support clean air. This California program includes nearly 100 “green hotels” throughout California, including two corporate partners--Hilton Hotels Corporation and Kimpton Hotels.

Environmentally Friendly Hotels

Go beyond ecotourism and sustainable tourism: find hotels - bed and breakfasts, resorts, motels, lodges, and inns - worldwide that are committed to the environment and greening of the hospitality industry.

Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC)

The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC) hasdeveloped this resource guide to help hotels “green” their properties. Green hotels strive for excellence in the areas of recycling and wasteminimization, energy efficiency, and conservation.

175 Auburn Street
Newton, MA 02466
Tel: 617-527-7950

CERES’ Green Hotel Initiative (GHI)

The objective of the GHI is to increase and demonstrate market demandfor environmentally responsible hotel services. CERES
99 Chauncy St.
Boston, MA 02111
Tel: 617-247-0700

Green Globe Sustainable Tourism Certification

Green Globe is the worldwide benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry and offers a range of information and resources to help your business or community progress through the Green Globe program.

Rainforest Alliance Certification Programs

Sustainable Tourism: Certification Programs and Information Under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), the Rainforest Alliance and our partner organizations work with farmers to bring their operations up to our standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers’ rights and local communities. The Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council is a proposed global accreditation body for sustainable tourism and ecotourism certification programs.

Other Resources

Green Seal: Greening the Lodging Industry Green Seal’s program works withhotels and motels to green their operations and purchasing, and offers a green hotel certification to qualifying hotels.

ISO 14001 ISO 14001 offers general environmental management certificationstandards at the corporate level (not site specific). Note that ISO 14001 does not itself provide certification, but rather provides astandardized framework for implementing an environmental management system.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GreenBuilding Rating System is a voluntary national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEEDstandards are currently available for new construction and major renovation projects, existing building operations, and interiorsprojects.

Energy Star The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established Energy Star criteria for commercial buildings. Those among the top 25% nationwide in termsof energy performance and maintaining an indoor environment that conforms to industry standards can qualify to receive the ENERGYSTAR Label for Buildings.

Meeting Strategies Worldwide focuses on greening the conferenceand meetings industry. They consult with organizations to develop and implement green policies, including strategic planning,organizational education and training, and marketing.

The Green Meetings / Conference Initiative was developed and issupported by the EPA’s Pollution Prevention Division to provide conference planners and suppliers of conference green options andopportunities for conference planning.

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) offers its Best Practices forEvent Suppliers and Event Organizers, an in-depth guide to green meetings.

Green Restaurants

Green Restaurant Association The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) is a national non-profit organization that provides services in research, consulting, education, marketing and community organizing. The GRA involves restaurants, manufacturers, vendors, grassroots organizations, government, media, and restaurant customers in a convenient way for all sectors of the restaurant industry, which represents 10% of the U.S. economy, to become more environmentally sustainable.

The Bay Araea Green business Program: California

The Bay Area Green Business Program is a successful partnership of environmental agencies and utilities that assists, recognizes and promotes businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. To be certified "green," participants must be in compliance with all regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste. We offer motivated businesses and agencies an easy-to-use framework for improving environmental performance. Over 725 businesses and public agencies have been certified since 1996.

Thimmakka Certified Green Restaurants [TCGR]

Thimmakka Certified Green Restaurants [TCGR] conducts culturally and economically appropriate environmental outreach to Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Burmese, Afghani, Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, African -American and Chinese restaurants and bakeries.


Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

The Baldrige Award is presented annually by the President of the United States to organizations that demonstrate quality and performance excellence. Three awards may be given annually in each of five categories:
  • Manufacturing
  • Service company
  • Small business
  • Education
  • Healthcare Established by Congress in 1987 for manufacturers, service businesses and small businesses, the MBNQA was designed to raise awareness of quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have implemented successful quality-management systems.

    Healthy Building Network Leadership Awards
    The Healthy Building Network (HBN) is a national network of green building professionals, environmental and health activists, socially responsible investment advocates and others who are interested in promoting healthier building materials as a means of improving public health and preserving the global environment.

    The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) is a small organization with a remarkable track record for breaking new ground in promoting sustainable communities. Every year since its founding ILSR has researched the feasibility of communities generating a significant amount of wealth from local resources and has worked with the increasing numbers of communities interested in moving in that direction. In their initial years they focused on a neighborhood surrounding Washington, D.C., Adams Morgan. Their urban townhouse became a working model of sustainable ideas, with rooftop hydroponic gardens and solar collectors and a commercial basement sprout operation and composting toilet. They researched the income flows and ownership patterns of the neighborhood and helped to build cooperative businesses. Institute for Local Self-Reliance 1313 5th Street SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55414-1546
    Phone: 612-379-3815 Fax: 612-379-3920

    Edited by Carolyn Allen
    | california | certification |


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