Why the (accredited) certification is important?

Frequently, companies invest more time and money on building a green image for their products then in actual and effective good environmental practices. We witness the certification of products with labels that, quite often, want to link these products to Nature but, in reality, are not entirely environmentally correct. As an example, we can find the image of a forest on a hazardous chemical substance container.

However, certification can be a quick and efficient way to decipher the environmental quality of a product, as long as it is an accredited certification, that evaluate the good management of resources, since the manufacturing until the usage, going through the processes that those companies implement. The PSC highlights several certifications that can be applied and that are accredited by credible certification systems.

As follow, are presented credible certifications, national and international. They are divided in:

  • product/equipment certification;
  • building certification;
  • companies certification.


Janelas BoavistaSustainable value 

In order to become a PSC partner, the companies should have products that respect, at least, four out of ten Principles. After a year as a PSC partner, the company is awarded with the Sustainability Value certificate, attributed by the PSC – that attest how many principles the product covers. This certificate was created in November 2012 and is an exempt document that certifies the real quality of the product sustainability level.

FSCPromotionalGuideForest Stewardship Council 

The FSC is an non-governmental organization, international and independent, composed by three chambers: economic, enviromental and social, that defines the Principles and Criterion FSC for a responsible forest management. It is an accredited entity that regulates the usage of the label FSC, recognizing qualified certifiers as to undertake FSC forest certifications.

pefcProgramme for the Endorsement of Forest Council

PEFC Portugal is a Portuguese Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management, that allow the portuguese forest products the fullfilment of minimum requirements that assure a sustainable forest management. It aims at guaranteeing the consumers PEFC certified products that come from a forest management where sustainability principles are applied consistantly, based upon three basic pilars: social, environmental and economic.

sistemadecertificacaoerotulagemHydro accreditation

This is a certification system, whose membership is voluntary, based on technical specifications developed by the ANQIP and tests developed by accredited laboratories. Five companies are already part of the certification: Tiba, Oliveira & Irmão, Valadares, Geberit and Sanitop. Certification and labeling of hydro efficiency of the products consists of a classification, taking into account water consumption in toilet equipments, reducing its waste in about 40%. The best hydro efficiency corresponds to the letter A and the worst efficiency to the letter E. There’s also used a graphic icon with drops.

napm  NAPM – National Association of Paper Merchants

This certification concerns paper with recycled content 75% minimum or 100% coming from genuine paper. The raw material should come from the factory waste, from printed and rejected paper or from domestic or office waste paper.

Mobius_Loop_with_PercentageO loop Mobius

It means that a product, or part of it, can be recycled  in proper facilities. The logo certificate includes the percentage of recycled content in the product.

criRótulo CRI green label and CRI green label plus

Created in 1992 by the Carpet and Rug Institute, the label CRI identifies carpets, sits and glues with low VOCs emissions. It is recently available a label that obeys to very demanding criteria.

natureplus NATUREPLUS  

This label applies to products related to buildings and lodging, that include minimum 85% of renewable raw material or materials that come from ore exploration, that come from an almost unlimited source. The product should also present a declaration of its content.


GREENGUARD Environmental Institute monitors the Greenguard Certification Program and establishes the standards of air quality in closed spaces for products, environment and buildings, according to global standards of ISO norms.

GREENGUARD® for Children & Schools – it’s a certification program of products with low emissions in the interior of the buildings, decor and finishings used in educational systems, since pre-school until highschool.


In colaboration with FSC, the ICEA certifies the forest the follows FSC requirements.

ibr-pruefsiegel1271861894IBR – Institut für Baubiologie Rosenheim GmbH” (Institut for Bioconstruction, Rosenheim)

The IBR label is the international quality and refers to sustainability criterion respected in products for construction and housing.

recThe EU Ecolabel

This label establishes criterion that limit the main environmental impact of the three phases of the service cicle of life (acquisition, service provision, waste) and specially, reduce energy consumption, reduce water consumption, and limit the production of waste, improving the usage of renewable resources and less environmental hazardous substances and promote the comunication and environmental education.

raRainforest Alliance Certificate

Rainforest Alliance works with loggers, farmers and tour operators to assure that its assets and services  respect the environment and are socially sustainable.

escandinaviaNordic Ecolabelling – Scandinavia 

The Nordic Ecolabel demonstrates that a certain product or service is a good environmental option. Today there are up to 60 product groups, and companies, that ranges from furniture, to liquid detergents, to hotels.

acermiAssociation pour la certification des materiaux isolants

This certificate garanties the product quality during its manufacturing. The product is subject to compliance verifications through sample analysis, according to defined technical specifications.


adene Certification for energy efficiency and air quality (SCE)

Energy certification is the result of the transposition of the Directive no. 2002/91/CE in 2006 into national law in conjunction with the Building regulations and decrees relating to RCCTS and RSECE.

SCE aims at:

– assuring the regulatory aplication, in respect to energy efficiency conditions, the usage of renewable energy systems and also the conditions of the interior air, according to the regulations in the RCCTE [2] and in the RSECE [3];

– certifying the energy performance and interior air quality in the buildings;

– identifying corrective or improvement measures that can be applied to buildings and respective energy systems, particularly boilers and air conditioning equipments, both to energy performance and interior air quality.

Energy certification is mandatory for the new and big buildings since July 2007 and it is mandatory to new and small buildings since the 1st July 2008. Since January 2009 it covers every building including the existents.

Energy certification is mandatory.

LiderA – Environmental certification system

The portuguese system LiderA, was developed by the IST (Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa) and the version 2.0 is available since 2009. It’s a voluntary system of recognition (conception phase) and certification (handling phase) of sustainability. It applies to zones and buildings of different uses: housing, commercial, turism, etc. Evaluation goes from A++ til G, similarly to energy certification,  comprising 22 areas, including energy.

Domus Natura – Environmental Certification System

The Domus Natura system is in Portugal since 2008. It was developed by SGS (Société Generale de Surveillance) in 2005. Domus Natura system includes a quality certification named Domus Qual (building quality control). Domus Qual consists of a declaration of comformity that aims at varifying the full compliance with the legal requirements, regulatory and normative and construction technical quality conformity applied to the project. Domus Natura conjugates the precedent quality level with environmental concerns, energy efficiency, efficient resources management with the purpose of raising comfort and reduction of usage costs. It has 6 categories and 127 criterions of which 21 are pre-requirements of Domus Qual.

SBTool Portugal – Environmental Certification System

SBToolPT-H systeme was developed by Minho University and lauched in 2009. It’s based on the SBtool system, and approved by iiSBE. The system relies on 3 aspects of sustainability. It is composed by 9 categories and 44 parameters. This system is adapted to housing and refurbishing.

LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (USA)

Environmental quality certification of buildings in the USA. It was developed by the US Green Building Council, in 1998. Certification concerns several environmental criterion, such as energy, interior air quality, water, materials and inovation.

BREEAM offices – British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (United Kingdom)

The BREEAM system was developed by BRE (Building Research Establishment), and exists since 1990. BREEAM offices is mandatory for all office buildings, new or refurbished, of the british central government. BREEAM’s objective is to minimize the negative effects of local and global environments, promoting comfort and health in interior spaces.

TUV-Eco-Hospital Eco Hospital Certificate of TUV Reihland

Eco-Hospital certification from the Group TÜV Rheinland aims at assuring the compliance with national environmental, health and security legislations at workplaces and with the social responsability in an hospital context, in order to guaranty the implementation of consistent practices to the level of resources consumption optimization, leading to excelent results.

eco hotel Eco Hotel Certificate of TUV Reihland

Eco-Hotel certification is intended to hotel industry sector, namely hotels, tourist complexes and apartment, focusing on an environmental politic that ensures the water and energy consumption and the consequent associated costs, guaranteeing, simultaneously, the accomplishment of environmental legislation applied to the sector.

rec The EU Ecolabel

This label establishes criterion that limit the main environmental impact of the three phases of the service cicle of life (acquisition, service provision, waste) and specially, reduce energy consumption, reduce water consumption, and limit the production of waste, improving the usage of renewable resources and less environmental hazardous substances and promote the comunication and environmental education.

Zero Carbon

Voluntary system for the carbon management that include the quantification of emissions, energy consumption reduction and emissions compensation of an individual, activity or enterprise. Emission compensation is made through the acquisition of carbon credits generated by the selected technological and forest projects.

logo_Turismo_de_Natureza_ICNBNature Tourism

The recognition of nature tourism projectS by the ICNB – Ordinance nº 261/2009, of 12th Mars, requires a set of requirements and criteria for good environmental practices and the participation in, at least, one nature and biodiversity conservation project.


AA 1000 Accountability (social responsability)

AA 1000 was created and developed by the Instituto de Responsabilidade Social e Ética _ ISEA (Social and Ethic Responsability Institute), to assist organizations on the definition of objectives and goals, in the progress measuring in relation to these goals, in auditing and reporting of performance and the stablishment of feedback mecanisms.

sa8000bSA 8000 (social responsability)

The norm SA 8000 allows the evaluation of the organizations’ social responsability. Includes requirements and auditing methodology to evaluate the working place conditions, concerning child work, forced labor, health and work safety, liberty, discrimination, disciplinary practices, workload, benefits and management responsabilites in keeping and improving the work conditions. Just like the SA 8000 (18 certified in Portugal), the NP 4469 is, on a national level, the norm that defines the implementation of management systems that allow good Social Responsability practices.

ohas18001OHSAS 18001

The OSHAS system allows organizations to manage operational risks and improve their performance, orienting the management of Security, Hygiene and Work Health aspects in the organizations. Considers highly the prevention of accidents, risk reduction and collaborators well-being.

9001ISO 9001 – Management Quality System Certification

This norma specifies requirements for the quality system management, in which an organization needs to demonstrate its capability to, in a consistent way, offer products and/or services that meet its clients requirements and meet the regulations. Its function is to promote the standardization of products and services, so that the quality can be constantly improved.

Iso14001ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System Certification

The certification according to ISO 14001 can be a previous inderect step to the access EMAS. Beyond other major or minor differences between the referentials, the one that determines is the public exposition that EMAS registration atributes, in a way that it requires the provision of information to the public about the environmental performance of the enterprise, through the publication of an Environmental Declaration.

emasEco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)

EMAS is a voluntary mechanism destined to enterprises and organizations that want to compromise themselves to the evaluation, management and improvement of their environmental performance, enabling demonstrate the credibility of its environmental management system and environmental performance, before third parties and according to the respective referentials. EMAS has four basic pilars: continuous improvement of environmental performance, workers participation,  compliance with the environmental legislation, public information of the environmental declaration.

Zero Carbon

Voluntary system for the carbon management that include the quantification of emissions, energy consumption reduction and emissions compensation of an individual, activity or enterprise. Emission compensation is made through the acquisition of carbon credits generated by the selected technological and forest projects.


In 2006, the Ecoprogresso created Carbonfree, with the objective to certificate the emissions compensations through the acquisition of carbon credits or the implementation of projects specificaly designed to reduce emissions in the community in which the company is settled.

Green-eGreen-e – Renewable Energy Efficiency

For 10 years now this certication is available in the USA and Canada and it assures that the used energy comes from windmills and solar panels constructed in 1997, and that wasn’t affected by simultaneous selling of energy, and that doesn’t produce GHG, and that the acquisition surpasses the minimum demanded standards, and that it is contributing to the expansion of renewable energy production in the USA and Canada.

ecooffice1Project Eco-Office

It is a joined initiative between the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and was launched on the 5th June 2002 to mark the World Environment Day. The first phase of the program, still in progress, consisted on the distribution of Eco-office kits, that contained material to help create awareness in the enterprises and motivate more environmentaly friendly habits in the work place. 88 kits were distributed in Singapore.

100R100R® – 100% recycling garanted

This is a label given by the Sociedade do Ponto Verde (a private nonprofit  entity that promotes the collection, selection and recycling of pachage in Portugal) that certifies events, shows or commercial spaces with a “ponto verde guaranty”, in which package generated waste are afterwards redirected to recycling. The member entities and enterprises take responsability in creating and implement the necessary infrastructure  to the correct waste sorting of the packaging.

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