product certification frequently asked questions

  1. WHO OFFERS THE CARBONFREE® PRODUCT CERTIFICATION?

Certification protocol was developed and is offered exclusively by Carbonfund.org Foundation. 

Information on the Carbonfree® Product Certification program can be found here: Carbonfund.org Product Certification.

  1. HOW DO PRODUCTS BECOME CARBONFREE CERTIFIED?

The Carbonfree® Product Certification program uses life cycle assessments (LCAs) to determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over a product’s entire  life cycle. GHG emissions (expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents) that cannot  be reduced or eliminated from the product’s life cycle are offset or  ‘neutralized’ with third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency  and forestry carbon offset  projects.

A carbon offset is a verifiable reduction in carbon emissions somewhere in the world other than where the emission is generated.  These external reductions offer clean energy transformation (e.g. wind, solar), sequestration (e.g. forestry) and clean technology (e.g. energy efficiency).  The projects also offer a range of benefits including conservation, clean water, job creation and innovation. Credits are generated when a project is verified and registered – allowing companies to purchase these credits and offset the emissions produced in the manufacturing and use of their products.  These credits are then permanently ‘retired’ on behalf of the product/company.

Carbonfree® certified products earn the use of the Carbonfree® mark along with being listed in the Carbonfund.org online product certification database. The Carbonfree® mark can be found on a variety of products today, including foods, beverages, electronics and apparel.

  1. WHY IS THE CARBONFREE CERTIFICATION MATTER?

Carbonfree® Product Certification is a meaningful, transparent way for you to provide environmentally-friendly, carbon neutral products to your customers. By determining a product’s carbon footprint, reducing it where possible and offsetting remaining emissions through our third-party validated carbon reduction projects, you can:

  • Differentiate your brand and product

  • Increase sales

  • Improve customer loyalty

  • Strengthen corporate social responsibility & environmental goals

Not only do customers care, but so do other stakeholders – employees, stockholders, and reporting bodies such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project(CDP). Both in terms of reporting to your stakeholders through Corporate Sustainability Reports/Corporate Responsibility Reports and in terms of reporting to third party initiatives such as the GRI and CDP, this certification give you important information to report from offsets and carbon foot printing.

  1. WHAT IS A LCA AND WHY IS IT REQUIRED?

A LCA is a Life Cycle Assessment that looks at the full cradle-to-grave cycle of a product. This is from raw material extraction through to use and disposal. LCAs provide the exact per unit carbon footprint of the product. This information can be used to reduce inefficiencies in the supply chain and allows companies to offset the per unit carbon impact through high-quality carbon offsets. Without an LCA, it is not possible to offset your product’s full carbon footprint.

LCAs also have many other benefits beyond the certification. Delloite Consulting covers the benefits of a LCA. As they note, “LCA is fast becoming an increasingly effective way for businesses from all industries to prioritize and assess opportunities to create added value across a product life cycle.”

  1. MY COMPANY ALREADY HAS DONE LCA WORK. CAN WE USE IT?

Yes! Many companies have done good LCA work already. If your LCA has been done within the past 3 years, is based on and meets one of the program protocol's accepted standards, it can be submitted and reviewed for approval.

  1. WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT LCA STANDARDS?

The approved LCA standards in the CarbonFree Certification Protocol include the following:

  1. HOW DOES THE LABEL COMPLY WITH THE FTC GREEN GUIDES?

In 2012 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released the much anticipated Green Guides. To help understand how the CarbonFree Product Certification complies with the Green Guides, we have created a table address each relevant point of the requirements.

  1. HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE CO2 YOU OFFSET REPRESENT REAL CARBON EMISSION REDUCTIONS?

The hallmarks of quality carbon offsets are third-party certification standards, verification and auditing. All Carbonfund.org offset projects are verified by a third party to the highest certification standards. This sort of review, coupled with an annual third-party audit of our finances and portfolio, ensure that our donors are supporting only high-quality carbon offset projects making real carbon emission reductions.

The third-party verification of our projects also ensures that the emission reductions are additional to what would otherwise have occurred, surplus (i.e. not already mandated or required), and are permanent reductions.

  1. WHAT IS THE COST OF THE CERTIFICATION?

The cost of the certification varies on the product. Costs include: a LCA if not already done, registration, and carbon offsets for ongoing product sales. Please contact us for a custom proposal and quote for your product.

  1. HOW DO YOU RETIRE CARBON?

Simply put, we retire carbon by not using it. When we purchase carbon offsets or support a carbon reduction project we gain the right to the emission reductions. Many groups buy these rights and then use them to pollute or sell them. We buy the carbon reductions and retire them, meaning that they are taken out of circulation forever.

  1. DO YOU SUPPORT CARBON-REDUCING PROJECTS IN THE US AND INTERNATIONALLY?

Yes. We support carbon reducing projects from trusted sources anywhere in the world.