Certification varies in cost reliability (the level of assurance provided). The best are essential aids to environmentally conscious and budget conscious shoppers; the worst examples are actually greenwashing.
Life cycle analysis is a key tool in certification.
Independent third-party verification is an important part of certification. If the testing is done by the company itself, there is an incentive to interpret results favorable, or even to cheat outright.
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- Certification of Green Products, Think 2100 blog.