Spelling It Out: What Do All of Those Certifications Mean?

Kermit the Frog once said: “It’s not easy being green.” It turns out that it’s not easy to understand when products are green. While many companies claim they are environmentally friendly, the truth is murky.
There are a number of certifications that companies can seek to prove their products and services truly are safe and sustainable. However, a simple Google search shows an alphabet soup of acronyms and phrases. It’s critical to spell them out to ensure our efforts to improve the health of our planet are not in vain.

Cradle to Cradle & Cradle to Cradle Material Health Certificate

Cradle to Cradle Certified products endure rigorous testing to make sure they reach sustainability standards across five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, wastewater stewardship and social fairness.
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute uses independent testing to rate products from basic to platinum.
Products are evaluated based from their conception through their reuse or disposal.
Assessments focus on products’ chemical makeup, the way they are manufactured, their ability to be reused and their impact on watersheds, environments and people.
Cradle to Cradle’s Material Health Certificate aims to improve transparency regarding the chemicals in manufacturers’ products and supply chains. In this case, the assessment focuses solely on the material health standards laid out by the Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute. Independent testing is used to verify toxicity and emissions. There is no basic rating for this certificate: only bronze and above.

C2C Certified Material Health Certificate™ is a trademark of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. 


Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to selecting products that are safe for people, pets and the environment. An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a starting point for information.

An EPD is an independently verified document that explains a product’s chemical composition, manufacturing process and ways it can be disposed of or reused. This also includes a life cycle assessment (LCA), which details a products entire journey from raw materials to it's disposal or reuse.
An EPD does not guarantee a product is more environmentally friendly than others. However, it does help companies get on the path of transparency.


Buildings can have hidden costs for the people who construct them, and those who live, work and play inside of them. It’s crucial to know whether building materials are releasing dangerous compounds, polluting the air inside.
GREENGUARD certifications independently evaluate safety claims for products with low chemical and particle emissions. GREENGUARD Gold offers strict criteria that focus on people with health concerns, the children and the elderly. The goal of the certification is to help building professionals and designers make safer choices, especially for homes and schools.

View our Certifications

Interested in learning more about all of Kingspan's environmental certifications? Click the link below.

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