Case Studies

GreenCircle Certified

GreenCircle Certified

Since 2010, GreenCircle Certified LLC (GreenCircle) has been helping customers back up their sustainability claims through a system of rigorous third-party verification.

GreenCircle was founded by Tara and Tad Radzinski, who started the company after becoming frustrated with the increasing number of supposedly “green” products flooding the market.

GreenCircle Certified

Drawing on their years of experience in corporate responsibility, green building design and environmental management, the Radzinskis developed a rigorous certification process and steadily built a reputation within the industry.

Today, GreenCircle is one of the industry’s leading third-party sustainability certification providers, giving manufacturers, suppliers, regulators and consumers the tools they need to assess and accurately determine a product or company’s operational sustainability.

The company offers a range of product certifications, including certified energy savings, closed-loop products, life-cycle assessment optimized, renewable resource content, recyclable material and recycled content. On the building and operations side, GreenCircle offers verification of carbon footprint reduction, renewable energy use, sustainable manufacturing practices and waste diversion from landfill.

In addition to this full slate of product, building and operations certifications, GreenCircle offers material ingredient certification (for Declare labels, Manufacturer Inventories and Optimization claims, Health Product Declarations and Option 3 Supply Chain Optimization claims within LEED v4) and supply chain management audits. As GreenCircle prides itself on market leading certifications, the company launched a Certified Environmental Facts (CEF) multi-attribute certification program in 2011, created in response to myriad mandates, architect and designer demand, executive orders and internal goals from government agencies.

The CEF label itself resembles the familiar nutritional facts labels found on food and beverage packaging and highlights the product’s sustainable attributes and those of the manufacturing facility it was produced in. End users, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, have recognized and encouraged the use of this label in a pilot program that aims to connect sustainable product manufacturers with large, federal purchasers.

Blazing a new trail

As the company continues to grow and solidify its place as a leading third-party certifier, GreenCircle is looking to further expand its influence through a number of new programs and partnerships.

To that end, GreenCircle recently teamed up with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as an auditor for its Living Product Challenge (LPC) certification program. Launched in February 2016, the initiative aims to increase the elegance and efficiency of the design and construction process, bringing today’s manufacturing practices more in line with those found in the natural world.

“We are excited to participate in a pioneering organization that creates standards and authorizes other experts in the industry to review those standards, and are eager to continue to work with their team to deliver audits on Living Product Challenge claims,” says Annie Bevan, vice president, Certification Services at GreenCircle.

The company has already begun the process in certifying a number of products that meet the stringent LPC requirements. Owens Corning’s AttiCat products have already received LPC Imperative certification, which GreenCircle audited.

“We are excited to continue to provide innovative certification services to leading manufacturers in the industry, and continue to catalyze change through third-party certification,” says Bevan. The third-party verification provider is also working with the ILFI on its Declare label program to develop a system to provide manufacturers an opportunity to audit and certify their Declare label claims.

GreenCircle has also recently entered into a partnership with ToxServices, a scientific consulting firm run by renowned toxicologist Meg Whittaker, which performs toxicity assessments on chemicals found in products.

“This partnership allows our customers to further assess the toxic hazards of chemicals in their products, which is an incredible opportunity for those who are committed to product transparency,” says Bevan. ToxServices is another organization participating in the ILFI’s LPC product certification as an essential auditor of the Material Health Imperative, which is a Core Imperative needing to be met to achieve certification.

Meeting the need

With many large purchasing organizations (Google, Wal-Mart, various universities, municipalities, Kaiser Permanente and others) requiring further transparency within their supply chain purchasing programs, understanding the fundamentals of the sustainability of a company’s supply chain is becoming a necessity.

As a result of these requirements, the last few years have seen an increased focus on GreenCircle’s supply chain auditing services. The company is now expanding the scope of the program to include audits on a client’s suppliers, vendors and partners, providing verification of the sustainable attributes of the raw materials supplied to these companies.

“Every manufacturer is either dealing with responding to customers’ supply chain mandates or creating their own supply chain mandates, and we help to audit those programs to see how it impacts their sustainability goals,” Bevan says.

On one recent supply chain auditing project, GreenCircle was called in to audit more than 2,000 components for one manufacturer. “They have 8,000 suppliers in North America alone, so it’s been a huge effort so far, but there’s still a lot to do,” she says. “I think everyone is going to be considering their supply chain more and more as the years go by.”

Spreading the word

As the industry as a whole is advancing its acceptance of integrating green and sustainable products into various green building projects and procurement programs, GreenCircle is looking to become a one-stop shop for all of a customer’s third-party certification needs.

In an effort to connect with an ever-increasing customer base, the company is looking to increase its profile through the introduction of a new website and quarterly magazine.

“In 2016 we’ve put a focus on our marketing services, rather than just being scientists who help you to verify your claims. Our goal is to amplify that in 2017 with analytics and providing more advanced information to our clients,” Bevan says.

The website, expected to launch in the near future, will include a more robust database of GreenCircle verified products as well as expanded functionality that will allow users to access even more information about their certified products.

“Our goal is to continually improve the information we give to our clients,” says Bevan. “We anticipate that these features will enhance the experience for those trying to specify green products.”

The company also launched its first quarterly magazine in April, with another issue recently released in September. The magazine has already garnered a significant following with more than 2,500 downloads of the first issue alone. The first issue was focused on waste diversion from landfill, while the second has focused on real world success stories from long-term GreenCircle clients.

“Not only is this a scientifically rigorous service, but it’s also a great opportunity for our clients to promote their sustainable products and operational achievements,” says Bevan.

GreenCircle will be in attendance at this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, where the company will work to introduce new customers to its extensive third-party certification system while strengthening relationships with existing clients.

With consumers and manufacturers becoming more environmentally conscious every day, GreenCircle Certified has set the stage for success as one of the world’s premier third-party certification providers for green and sustainable products.

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