- Benefit from product certification
- Get a product certified
- Get supply chain or organisation-wide certification
- Get other sustainability certifications
- Comply with government rules for green claims
- Find local business grants and schemes
According to a 2020 study by the Carbon Trust there is growing global demand for carbon emission labels on products.
In the UK specifically:
- 63% think carbon labelling is a good idea (up from 55% in 2016)
- 64% feel better buying from businesses they know are reducing emissions (up from 53% in 2016)
To accurately label products you need to measure and certify their carbon footprints. This can be done at the product level or across the organisation.
Going through this process can also help businesses to:
- design better products
- identify waste in the production process
- lower costs and find efficiencies
- attract investment
While small businesses are not currently required to certify their emissions, being able to credibly measure them helps ensure future compliance in the event that changes.
There are a number of options depending on the type of claim you’re making and the level of carbon reductions you’re trying to make.
Organisations that manage certification and labelling use different international standards to measure the product life cycle.
Products are often measured as either ‘cradle to the gate’ (business to business) or ‘cradle to the grave’ (business to consumer).
This defines the scope of the certification you’re trying to achieve.
Expect to pay consulting fees to labelling organisations to become certified. You may be eligible for grants to help cover the cost.
Carbon Trust certification
To certify the carbon footprint of products, Carbon Trust offers these labels:
- measuring CO2 – the product footprint is known
- reducing CO2 – the product footprint is smaller year over year
- lower CO2 – the product footprint is smaller year over year
ClimatePartner offers ‘Carbon Neutral’ product certification. This means the product’s carbon footprint is continuously calculated and reduced.
If you want to move beyond product-level certifications, there are options for larger parts of your business to get certified.
From Carbon Trust, these certifications include:
- Route to net zero
- Carbon neutral
- Zero waste to landfill
- Carbon management in infrastructure
- Standard for supply chain
ClimatePartner also offers an organisation-wide certification for carbon neutrality.
There are a number of other environmental certifications that can build your reputation as a green business.
These include verification for:
- environmental management systems
- use and sourcing of raw materials
- building design and energy performance
Environmental standards such as ISO 14001 map out a framework that organisations can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.
Third-party organisations such as the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the British Assessment Bureau offer certification services to help you implement an environmental management system and comply with ISO 14001 standards.
Find additional accreditation standards and schemes from:
- Green Accord
- Green Mark
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol
- Planet Mark
- Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
- UK Ecolabel Index
The government’s Competition and Markets Authority regulates businesses making green product claims.
They require that:
- claims must be truthful and accurate
- claims must be clear and unambiguous
- claims must be easily accessible and not omit or hide important relevant information
- comparisons must be fair and meaningful
- claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
- claims must be substantiated
Businesses that make misleading environmental claims may be held liable under consumer protection legislation.
Use our finance and support page to find green business grant programmes in your region.
Some are designed to help SMEs with developing and certifying greener products.
They can also offer:
- grants with no payback requirement
- matching funds up to a total amount or percentage of costs
- loans with low or no interest
- free expertise for energy assessments
Funding is dependent on the size of your business and where it’s located.
You can also use GOV.UK’s fund listing service to find programmes that apply to your business.