Green or Greenwash? The Quiz
Do you really know the difference between FSC and SFI? Has the federal government ended all our greenwashing woes? Find out below!
We invite you to test your knowledge with this quiz that we came up with covering key questions around when our building products are green, and when they're being greenwashed.
- Greenwashing isn't something we need to worry about anymore, because the U.S. Federal Trade Commission prohibits spurious claims and requires third party certification of manufacturer claims in its "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims."
- The definition of a certification is as follows, according to ISO:
- "a document, established by consensus, approved by a recognized body that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results..."
- "a stamp of environmental sustainability granted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)."
- "any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled."
- "a statement from a manufacturer guaranteeing the sustainability of a product"
- Which is the most robust, third-party multi-attribute environmental certification available for carpeting?
- Sustainable Choice
- Green Label and Green Label Plus
- A and B
- B and C
- Which of the following statements about the forestry certifications SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is true, according to a 2008 study by the Yale Program on Forestry Policy and Governance, commissioned by the U.S. Green Building Council?
- SFI and FSC mostly address the same issues
- SFI does not address social considerations--unlike FSC
- A forester may have greater latitude to pursue exceptional environmental performance under SFI
- FSC puts a premium on the preservation of old-growth stands
- All of the above
- If a product is recyclable, it means that:
- Laboratory standards are established for recovering resources from that product
- It is cost-effective to recycle the product
- The product can be recycled on any scale--small or large
- The product's content is 100% recycled
- Which of the following is a strength of multi-attribute certifications, in which a single product is evaluated under many different lenses?
- Certified products must meet a high bar for performance in many categories, not just one
- They provide consumers with a point-by-point scorecard, revealing a complete picture of environmental and social performance
- At their best, they allow consumers to quickly identify best-in-class products
- Their backing by the federal government means that more certified products are available
- Sector-specific green product certifications, like those covering wood and composites:
- Don't necessarily guarantee that a certified product is greener than its material alternatives
- Usually cover multiple attributes
- Provide key performance data for products, as well as evaluation of whether those products meet key thresholds
- Most green product certifications address toxicity in the following way:
- Most certifications don't address chemical hazards
- They include a "red list" of banned ingredients
- They require disclosure of ingredients to 1,000 parts per million
- They require reporting of hazards through Material Data Safety Sheets
- Which statement about certifications for wet-applied products like paints is NOT true?
- The historical basis for VOC (volatile organic compound) regulations has not been indoor air quality, but smog-related
- These products are commonly dealt with by restricting the quantity of total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) in the product, as opposed to measuring the VOCs emitted from it
- The most robust guidance on wet-applied products, on which other certifications are based, is California Section 01350
- Certifications are moving to address not only product content, but interaction between products like paints and their substrates
- All of these statements are true
- In assessing the value of first-party, second-part, or third-party claims, it is most important to:
- Use first-party claims, because manufacturers understand their products best
- Always avoid second-party claims, because trade associations and consultants can be biased
- Whatever the type of certification, scrutinize the relationships and the quantifiable rigor of the program
- Always choose consensus standards that push an entire industry to better performance
- When comparing life-cycle assessment data from two similar products:
- Look for a cumulative score across many categories as the most meaningful measure
- Look to make sure that the assumptions and protocols behind the data are the same
- For projects that are certified Platinum under LEED-NC, 50% of all materials on a project must be third-party certified to environmental standards.
1: b. 2: c. 3: b. 4: e. 5: b. 6:c. 7: a. 8: a. 9: e. 10: c. 11: b. 12: b.
How did you do? Post your comments and questions below, and we'll respond with background on why we chose each answer.
Posted by Tristan Roberts on December 1, 2011
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