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Product sustainability rating

Verified Sustainability Footprint for Products

To enable a thorough, transparent and trustworthy assessment of your products’ sustainability performance, the GSES has adopted the Sustainable Product Footprint (SPF) Standard. Based on this standard, the GSES system platform generates a holistic product scorecard. The SPF Standard includes the Circular Footprint, the Health Footprint, the Environmental Footprint and the Social Footprint. The SPF standard and digital GSES product scorecards are translated into the GSES Nature Impact Rating.

The GSES platform automates the process of product sustainability ratings through digital assessments, input of Bills of Materials (BoM), and uploads of evidence for verification. Every product evaluated using SPF is provided with a digital scorecard accessible online. This scorecard has the option of being publicly displayed in the GSES database, catering to the needs of corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and public institutions seeking to identify and engage with environmentally conscious suppliers. The scorecard can be implemented in web shops, whereby consumers can see the Nature Impact Rating.

Governance of the certification: scheme

The administration of the Sustainable Product Footprint falls under the jurisdiction of the National Sustainability Institute. This institute operates with a governance structure that comprises a Technical Committee, a Board of Experts, and a Harmonization Committee. These bodies collaborate to oversee and uphold the standards of the certification scheme.

Transparency layer: third party verification

Independent certification bodies, such as Control Union, KIWA, Bureau Veritas and TMS, are responsible for granting the Sustainable Product Footprint Verification and performing the Verification process. An external audit is conducted following the guidelines of ISO 17029 and ISO 17065 for product verification

The Nature Impact Rating derives from the Global Sustainable Enterprise System (GSES) SPF scores. This independent, universal information label ensures consistent global sustainability product information. All major global certifications and eco-labels are integrated into the overarching GSES Score.

How is the score determined?

Each product is rated with zero to five green leaves. The fewer (negative) impacts a product carries, the higher its leaf count. For detailed insights into the scoring methodology, simply click the leaf icons next to our products.

GSES product

How does it work?

A product footprint’s score reflects the aggregation of the Environmental footprint, the Circular footprint, the Social footprint and the Health footprint. All footprints extract in the Sustainability Score for products: the Nature Impact Rating

Circular Footprint (CF)

The Circular Footprint (CF) is part of the GSES Sustainable Product Footprint certification scheme. The CF is based on existing standards such as the Material Circularity Indicator (MCI) of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Material Reutilization ratio of Cradle to Cradle and the detachability index of the Dutch Green Building Council. 

Health Footprint (HF)

The Health Footprint (HF) is a component of the GSES Sustainable Product Footprint certification. This footprint enables an assessment of risks of toxic substances associated with a product and its production process.

Environmental Footprint (EF)

The Environmental Footprint (EF) is part of the GSES Sustainable Product Footprint certification. The EF is based on existing life cycle assessment (LCA) standards: ISO14040, ISO14044, PEF, ISO14025 and EN15804. GSES has made some additions that have made the EF into a certifiable standard.

Social Footprint (SF)

Social Footprint is based on the ISO 26000 guideline. The KPI’s attached to a product regarding social claims are independetly verified.

GSES product

Sustainability score

Components of Nature Impact Rating

ID Symbol Symbol discription Discription
C1

Recycled content used

The quantity of recycled input materials. Recycled materials are materials from recycling or reused sources. Both types of materials sources are put together, because it cannot always be determined if a material has been reused or recycled. Recycled or reused materials that are originally from bio-based resources are also counted in this indicator.

C2

Biobased content used

The quantity of biobased input materials. Biobased materials are materials that form a biotic source, extracted from living resources, i.e. of plant or animal origin (including algae, bacteria and mould). Renewable material (from abiotic sources) is not counted.

C3

Compostable after use

Shows how circular a product or parts of a product can be processed after its use phase. A material is compostable if it decomposes under certain conditions in a short period of time (usually a few months) and provides nutrients to ecosystems in the process.

C4

Actual recyclability after use

This refers to three circular processes that are combined: recycling, reuse, and refining (chemical recycling). Only actual recyclability is considered rather than potential - the product should be recyclable in practice and at scale. Based on data from the Nationale Milieudatabase.

C6

Product's content that is easily separable into homogeneous materials for all components

Components must be separable using common tools (e.g., hammer, screwdriver, pliers) with minimal technical experience and instruction.

C7

Extended Warranty period

A guarantee by the manufacturer of at least 1 year longer warranty period than required by EU regulations. The platform will request a proof of this warranty

C8

No plastic packaging

Packaging that does not contain any plastic materials (including bio based plastic materials)

C9

High recycled content packaging

Packaging that contains at least 95% recycled materials

-

Potential recyclability after use

An informative indication of the percentage of the product that has the potential to be recycled after use. For informative purposes only, not scored.

H1

REACH Compliance

The manufacturer must declare that the SVHC list is checked for the product and that none of the substances are above threshold.

H2

Additional product health safety declarations [Used to be: EU Declarations]

Declaration of threshold compliance based on additional regulations that are aimed to identify chemical use in products. The list of additional regulations and/or restrictions is derived from the Cradle to Cradle Basic Level Restricted Substances List (RSL).

H3

Human toxicity cancer

The output provides insight into the cancer impacts on humans related to chemical use and emissions in the total supply chain and manufacturing process.

H4

Human toxicity non-cancer

The output provides insight into the non-cancer effects in humans of toxic substances in chemical use and emissions in the total supply chain and manufacturing process.

-

Lab tested

An option to upload a link to a lab test indicating the used chemicals and substance concentrations. For informative purposes only, not scored.

H5

Freshwater Ecotoxicity

Bill of Materials and additional reportsThis category indicator refers to the impact on freshwater ecosystems, as a result of emissions of toxic substances to air, water and soil.

E1
Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint, or Global Warming Potential (GWP in kg CO2eq) is the amount of carbon-containing greenhouse gases released into the environment (air).

E2
Content
Acidification

The Acidification Potential (AP) is related to the amount of mainly SOx and NOx emissions to air in the supply chain, during production and/or transports and/or use phase and end-of-life phases.

E3

Content 

Energy Use

The energy, primary, non-renewable (PENRT) footprint is the amount of fossil energy used in the supply chain and during production and/or transports and/or use phase and end-of-life phases.

E4
Water Usage

The Use of freshwater (FW) is the amount of freshwater used in the supply chain, during production and/or transports and/or use phase and end-of-life phases.

E5
Environmental Cost Indicator

Environmental Cost Indicator is a single-score indicator, it simplifies and unites different environmental data points into one (monetary) number. For informative purposes only, not scored.

GSES product score

FAQs: Nature Impact Rating

The Nature Impact Rating reflects an expression derived from the Global Sustainable Enterprise System (GSES) Score. It operates as an independent, overarching information label aimed at informing consumers globally about product sustainability. The Nature Impact Rating employs the Sustainable Product Footprint standard of GSES for the Nature Impact Rating calculation. This system incorporates a verified, comprehensive measurement framework that assesses a product’s impact on the planet at a product level. The sustainability of materials and production processes is evaluated. Verification and validation lead to a score—the Nature Impact Rating.

The Nature Impact Rating employs the Sustainable Product Footprint standard of GSES for the Nature Impact Rating calculation. This system incorporates a verified, comprehensive measurement framework that assesses a product’s impact on the planet at a product level. The sustainability of materials and production processes is evaluated. Verification and validation lead to a score—the Nature Impact Rating.

The Nature Impact Rating is presented alongside the products through a green leaves system. Ratings range from zero green leaves (minimal impact) to five green leaves (significant impact), including half leaves. This visual representation indicates the product’s environmental impact. The Nature Impact Rating can be used online as well as in physical stores. An elaboration of the products’ sustainability information can be seen on a ‘product scorecard,’ including information on each indicator that was used to calculate the leaves, and additional unscored information.

Each product’s Nature Impact Rating considers:

  1. Its impacts related to circularity: including its biobased and compostable content, recycled and recyclable content and other indicators like extended warranty periods, or plastic free packaging.
  2. Its health impacts: including the declaration of restricted and banned substances, and impacts on human health.
  3. Its environmental impacts: including its carbon footprint, water footprint, and fossil energy use.

A comprehensive list of indicators used in the Nature Impact Rating can be found on the GSES website, or the Sustainable Footprint Standard handbook.

The number of green leaves, ranging from zero to five, signifies a product’s impact on the planet. A higher number indicates a more positive impact. A product with more leaves is performing well with regards to circularity, health and environmental impacts. A lower number of leaves shows poor performance: this product could do lots to improve its effects on people and the planet. Validated products with zero leaves are shown to maintain transparency.

The impacts of transportation involved in the manufacturing of the product are included in the Environmental Footprint. Furthermore, there is an option to add the transportation from where the product has been manufactured to where it is intended to be used. When this transportation data is added, the Nature Impact Rating is adjusted to reflect this information. When this data is missing, the Nature Impact Rating is slightly reduced to adjust for data missingness. We continuously work to widen the scope of the Nature Impact Rating to include more and more direct and indirect impacts of the product.

Products lacking measurement, verification, or validation will not display a score. This ensures only relevant information is presented.

No, the Nature Impact Rating pertains to a product’s impact on the planet, not its quality. Even a product with a low rating may possess positive elements that the retailers/wholesalers/brands aim to enhance gradually.

Yes! It can evolve through adjustments in material, packaging, production processes, and expanded measurement, verification, and validation efforts.

GSES product

Why this solution?

Assessing the environmental, circular, and health footprints of products offers several significant benefits:

01.

Transparency and Accountability

Footprint assessments provide clear and quantifiable data on a product's environmental impact, circularity, and health considerations. This transparency helps build trust among consumers, investors, and stakeholders by providing factual information about a product's sustainability.

02.

Informed Consumer Choices

Footprint assessments empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. By understanding the environmental and health implications of products, consumers can choose options that align with their values and preferences, driving demand for more sustainable products.

03.

Product Improvement

Footprint assessments empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. By understanding the environmental and health implications of products, consumers can choose options that align with their values and preferences, driving demand for more sustainable products.

04.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Footprint assessments help pinpoint "hotspots" in a product's lifecycle where the most significant environmental impacts occur. This information allows companies to focus their efforts on reducing these impacts, resulting in overall resource conservation and decreased pollution.

05.

Circular Economy Integration

Assessing circular footprints encourages a shift towards circular economy principles, such as product longevity, repairability, and recyclability. By considering the entire lifecycle of a product, companies can design products that minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency.

06.

Health and Safety Considerations

Evaluating health footprints ensures that products are safe for consumers, workers, and the environment. This approach encourages the use of non-toxic materials and processes, leading to healthier products and safer working conditions.

07.

Risk Mitigation and Compliance

Footprint assessments can help companies identify potential regulatory risks and ensure compliance with evolving environmental and health regulations. This proactive approach minimises legal and financial liabilities.

08.

Competitive Advantage

Companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability through rigorous footprint assessments can gain a competitive edge in the market. Such efforts resonate with environmentally conscious consumers and can attract a loyal customer base.

09.

Supply Chain Resilience

Evaluating footprints extends beyond individual products to the entire supply chain. This approach promotes greater supply chain transparency, resilience, and collaboration, reducing risks associated with resource scarcity and disruptions.

10.

Greenwashing Prevention

Verified Footprint assessments provide objective, standardised measures of sustainability performance. This helps combat greenwashing – the misleading portrayal of products as more environmentally friendly than they actually are – by offering verifiable data to back up sustainability claims.

In the context of combating greenwashing and achieving more sustainable supply chains and products, assessing footprints serves as a robust solution. By providing scientifically backed data and standardised metrics, footprint assessments offer a credible way to verify sustainability claims and differentiate genuine efforts from superficial ones. This promotes transparency and accountability across the supply chain, leading to more sustainable practices and products and ultimately contributing to a greener and healthier future.

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