This guide explains some of the common green claims and labels you will see in Canada.
The Canadian EcoLogo (also known as Environmental Choice) helps you identify products and services that have been independently certified to meet strict environmental standards that reflect their entire life cycle—from manufacturing to disposal. EcoLogo standards are designed so that only the top 20% of products available on the market can achieve certification. More than 7000 products—from paint to paper—carry this logo.
The international ENERGY STAR symbol marks products that are among the most energy efficient on the market. ENERGY STAR-qualified products include: major appliances, heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, lighting products, electronics, office equipment, windows, doors and skylights.
The Canadian EnerGuide label lists a product’s estimated annual energy consumption and compares it to the energy performance of similar products. The EnerGuide label appears on products such as major household appliances, heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, new houses and automobiles.
Forest certification logos indicate that forest products, such as wood and paper, come from sustainably managed forests. The following three internationally recognized forest certification systems are used in Canada. All three provide consumers with independent, third party assurance of sustainable forest management, ethical behaviour and adherence to local laws.
Marine Stewardship Council Certification Logo
Products bearing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label come from fisheries certified to have met the MSC’s standard for sustainable fishing. These fisheries must show how they minimize environmental impact, and that they have sustainable fish stocks and an effective management system in place that meets all local and international laws.
For more information, go to www.msc.org.
Canada Organic Logo
Food products that meet the Canadian standard for organic production (at all stages, from growing to marketing) and contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients and no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) may display the Canada Organic label. Producers must also follow sustainable management practices to avoid damage to the environment and ensure the ethical treatment of livestock.
TransFair Canada Logo
Fair trade schemes, such as TransFair Canada, set standards to ensure that certified products are produced in a socially and economically fair, and environmentally responsible manner. These programs promote sustainable development and work to improve the livelihood of farmers and other workers in the developing world.
The recycling symbol (or Möbius loop) indicates that a product or packaging is recyclable, contains recycled content, or both. When used to show that a product or packaging contains recycled content, the percentage of recycled content should appear, either inside or next to the symbol. When a Möbius loop is used to indicate a product is both recyclable and contains recycled content, there must be an explanatory statement supporting both claims.
Society of the Plastics Industry Symbols
Many plastic and packaging products display a symbol that looks like the Möbius loop, but has a different purpose and meaning. This symbol is part of a resin coding system produced by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) that identifies the different resins found in plastic bottles and rigid containers. Recycling firms have varying standards for the plastics they accept and the presence of an SPI code does not mean the product is recyclable or recycled in your community.
Check with your municipality to see which types of plastics and other materials are collected locally.
Other Environmental Claims
Manufacturers, importers, distributors or anyone who promotes a product or service may decide to make environmental claims about it. These claims are usually based on a single attribute (for example, that a product is biodegradable or recyclable), rather than on the environmental impact of the product’s entire life cycle, and may not be independently tested or certified. To learn more about these claims, go to Environmental claims: A guide for industry and advertisers. The Competition Bureau has developed this guide in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association, to help businesses ensure their environmental advertising is not misleading. Consumers may also find the guidelines helpful when trying to evaluate environmental claims.
For more information on green claims visit the following:
- Environment Canada – Green buying: Guide to ecolabels
- Global Ecolabelling Network
- Consumer Reports: Greener Choices Eco-labels Center
Competition Bureau Canada
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9
Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices
Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Consumer Protection BC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E1
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Toronto, Ontario M3M 1J8
Prince Edward Island
Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Office de la protection du consommateur
Québec, Quebec G1K 8W4