product approval policy
Most people want to consider the health and environmental effects of the products they buy, but who has time to research high-quality green alternatives to the products we use every day? At Green Home, we do the research for you. Every product we sell has gone through the Green Home Product Approval Proccess to become a Green Home Preferred Product.
All Green Home products have qualities that promote environmental health or resource conservation. These qualities include but are not limited to reduced toxicity, reusability, energy efficiency, responsible packaging, recycled content, intelligent design, responsible manufacturing techniques, and reduction of personal environmental hazards. Green Home has developed a rigorous approval policy that allows us to qualify each product based upon these criteria as they apply to specific product categories.
We consider a number of environmental attributes and group them into three categories of criteria:
- Personal (relating to the product's health effect on the user)
- Environmental (relating to larger environmental impact and life cycle assessment)
- Social (relating to the company's policies and practices)
Personal health issues such as toxicity in use carry the most weight and issues involving corporate responsibility carry less.
The User Experience
Depending upon the product and the person using it, the importance of any particular green quality may vary. If you're setting up a nursery, you'll want non-toxic paint to keep the baby's air as clean and healthy as possible. If your remodeling the attic, you might be more interested in the paint's insulating qualities. If you're concerned about preserving natural resources and keeping chemicals out of landfills, you may want to know about recycled paint.
Criteria for "greenness" is not all relative however. Green Home's rating system, based on the above three categories, will soon accompany all product information. Green Home is on a mission to share as much information as it can about the criteria that we use to determine each product's "greenness" and explain why we choose certain products over others.
Green Home's Department of Product Approval is our in-house research and policy arm. It acts independently from the Product Procurement Department, much as the editorial and advertising departments at reputable newspapers operate independently. Green industry veteran Marc Mowrey, author of _Not in Our Backyard, A History of the American Environmental Movement, heads Green Home's Department of Product Approval.
Out of house, Green Home has a Board of Environmental Advisors made up of career environmentalists with a broad working knowledge of environmental issues who provide guidance and perspective to the Product Approval Department and Product Approval Board.
Some of Green Home's Board of Environmental Advisors are part of Green Home's Board of Product Approval. These Board Members possess expert knowledge on green product assessment based on decades of experience in a range of related fields. Green Home will not carry any product that has been vetoed by any member of the outside Board. These members are not employees of Green Home.
Green Home also makes use of many Environmental Experts that include specialists in all niche environmental areas, including energy conservation, indoor air quality, recycled materials, etc. Green Home is able to turn to a wide and diverse range of experts for advice on specific medical, chemical or manufacturing issues as they relate to a particular product.
Green Home Preferred Products
Green Home will make its product approval and screening services available to other retailers, as well as to you, the consumer. We will apply the same rigorous screening process that we use for our online offerings to the general merchandise offered by major retail stores. These and other retailers will indicate which of their products have been Green Home approved, by displaying a Green Home Preferred logo with those products in their online and mail catalogs or on shelves in their stores.
Phase I - The Initial Pass
Products approved through Phase I are those currently carried on Green Home, and have received the "Green Home Preferred" trustmark. In this Phase I, the Department of Product Approval conducts initial research on the company and the product. The department then determines that the product possesses one or more positive environmental attributes and finds no reason to believe that the product is toxic or harmful to consumers. After the Department accepts a product, the Product Approval Board has six months to review the product for approval or veto. If the Board vetoes a product, it is removed from our list of preferred products and from our site.
All of the products currently listed on the Green Home Web site have been approved through our Phase I methodology. We are constantly reviewing these products, updating facts and specifications and removing products that fail Phase I criteria.
Phase II - Aggregation, Affidavit, and Approval
Products approved through this method receive the "Green Home Approved" trademark.
In Phase II, Green Home will utilize one of three methods to approve products:
- Aggregation - Green Home aggregates existing third-party certification seals or logos. Products possessing one or more of the logos we accept will be granted the Green Home Approved trademark.
- Affidavit - Because the number of products awarded third-party certification seals is relatively small, we allow manufacturers to disclose all ingredients and manufacturing processes (i.e. MSDS) and the opportunity to sign an affidavit guaranteeing that the environmental attribute or attributes we are screening the product for are valid and true.
- Approval - Finally, because the environmental attributes of some products, such as push lawn mowers and clotheslines are self-evident, neither the seal nor the affidavit is required if approved by the Product Approval Board.