How do you develop a sustainable product? As a supplier to the cruise ship interiors industry, you may be keen to ensure your products are part of the sustainable conversation. There is good reason for this – cruise lines are starting to make selections partially based on sustainability, as are designers.
But who decides whether a product is sustainable? You may be familiar with metrics such as water use, carbon footprint, percentage of materials that are recycled or reused or waste reduction. Yet you may be unsure how to judge these metrics in order to be able to claim that your product is sustainable.
We’ve gathered a handful of the companies currently offering certification and awards in sustainability. These companies not only offer researched guides to sustainability metrics, but their certification also adds credibility to your product.
Some of these companies look at materials, while others take a wider look at building or hospitality.
The Forest Stewardship Council ® , commonly known as FSC ® , offers labels on forest-based products, including paper and tissue. They offer three ‘labels’ that can be added to the body of your product or the packaging. These are, in their own words:
The FSC 100% label means that the forest-based timber or fibre within the product comes entirely from FSC-certified, well-managed forests.
The FSC Recycled label means all the timber or fibre in the product comes from reclaimed or re-used material.
The FSC Mix label means the wood within the product is from FSC-certified forests, recycled/reclaimed material, or controlled wood. FSC Controlled Wood is material from acceptable sources that can be mixed with FSC-certified material. To count as FSC Controlled Wood, a material’s forest of origin must be risk assessed against the FSC Controlled Wood standards and found to be at a low risk of being:
- illegally harvested
- harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
- harvested in forests where high conservation values are threatened
- harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
- harvested in forests where genetically modified trees are planted
Cradle to Cradle
Cradle to Cradle, or C2C, is a product certification system that measures products made for the circular economy. C2C assess a wide variety of products, from flooring to window treatments. Their criteria are measured across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. Each product is assigned an achievement level – basic, bronze, silver, gold, platinum – for each category, so there is a lot of room for nuance.
LEED is a program created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to facilitate and certify green buildings. They support a range of projects and scales, from their Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) rating system for commercial interiors such as retail and hospitality, to scorecards for entire cities and communities. Their rating is tailored within these subsections and ranges across certified, silver, gold, and platinum.
The EU Ecolabel is a certificate of environmental excellence that promotes the circular economy. Products and services awarded this certificate must meet high environmental standards throughout their lifetime, from raw material extraction and production to distribution and disposal.
Energy Star certification focuses on utilities and appliances, as well as buildings and plants, that save energy. Backed by the U.S. government, Energy Star offers guidance and support to businesses and consumers, in addition to certification.
Green Key is a standard of excellence within the tourism industry. They award their label to tourism establishments that adhere to the environmental criteria of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). Green Key aims to reduce the overall use of resources through implementation of sustainable operations and technology, raise awareness and behavioural change in guests, staff and suppliers and raise the overall standard of sustainability within the hospitality and tourism industry.
Moving into a more sustainable future
The certifications are there – and it is increasingly likely that they will help boost the profile of your product in the eyes of the decision makers. Take the first step by investigating your certification options. Catch up on other sustainability tips from industry leaders here.