Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between Green Tick® and ISO 14001?
Green Tick® is a sustainability certification system and brand, whereas ISO 14001 is an international quality standard for environmental management systems (ISO 14000 series). The systems are complementary, and Green Tick® auditors use similar principles to ISO 14001 when conducting a sustainability review. The differences are that:
a) Green Tick® involves spot reviews at any time by external auditors (ISO 14001 internal reviews every six months, external review every three years);
b) Green Tick® looks at sustainability in practice (ISO 14001 is primarily a management system);
c) Green Tick® sustainability certification is governed by the ISO 17000 series of international standards for sustainability;
d) An ISO 14001 certification certifies that an organisation has a management system in place, not that it is necessarily operating in a sustainable manner.
2. Is Green Tick® organic?
Green Tick® ORGANIC is designed for the sustainability certification of products that already hold an IFOAM® -registered organic certification (eg. Biogro, Demeter).
3. What is the difference between Green Tick® and the Marine and Forest Stewardship Councils’ labels (MSC & FSC)?
The Marine and Forest Stewardship Councils are industry organisations that use ISO 14001 principles in their certification systems. Their labels are also sustainability labels, but the Green Tick® standard is higher – it is independent of industry, it applies for a shorter timeframe, looks at day-to-day performance, and is subject to spot reviews at any time. The systems are complementary, and Green Tick® auditors use similar principles when conducting an audit. However, Green Tick® is independent of these industries, and is easier for customers to recognize.
4. If my organisation has ISO 14001, MSC or FSC accreditation, will we also get Green Tick®?
Probably. Having these systems in place will be a great help, but your organisation must be able to demonstrate that it is meeting the Green Tick® Standards, and is prepared to keep up to the standard consistently day after day, should a spot review occur!
5. What do I get out of Green Tick®?
Green Tick® is designed to instantly show your customers that your products or services are independently certified as sustainable. Our vision is:
To see Green Tick® certified suppliers get better returns by using this genuinely "green" brand; and,
To provide the public with an easily recognisable and credible sustainability brand - Green Tick®.
To our knowledge, we are the only ecolabel to have formally proven increased sales following certification, and in over 20 years of operation, we have never had a certification challenged or discredited. No greenwash here.
6. What will it cost me?
Costs fall into three categories:
a) The cost of maintaining your operations to the required standard;
b) Application and Audit (review) costs - the cost of having an approved Green Tick® auditor check your operations (there is no charge for spot reviews(audits)); and,
c) Trademark licensing costs – comprising a small percentage of annual net sales of the certified product or service line.
7. How long does it take to get Green Tick®?
This will depend on the size and quality of your operation, and the parts of it you wish to have approved. Usually three to six months if all records are in place.
8. How long does Green Tick® Certification last?
Green Tick® certification is issued globally for three years, and then an organisation is reviewed again if it wishes to continue using the Green Tick® brand.
9. Are you a Green Group?
No, we are not a green lobby group. We are an independent professional services organisation, dedicated to providing independent sustainability certification for the benefit of consumers and industry. We are a New Zealand-owned company, aimed at helping industry present to their markets independent, scientific verification of the "clean green" status of their products and services.
10. Are you an industry group?
No. We are an independent professional services organisation, dedicated to providing independent sustainability certification for the benefit of consumers and industry. We are a New Zealand-owned company, aimed at helping industry present to their markets independent, scientific verification of the "clean green" status of their products and services.
11. What if a particular Green Tick® Standard is not relevant to my business or product?
Then this standard is noted as 'not applicable' in the Auditor's report.
12. How do you define sustainability?
As a minimum, sustainability means that products and services are produced in a way that does not permanently degrade the environment.
This concept of sustainability includes the consideration of:
a) permanent, irreversible effects;
b) the cumulative effects of a number of different elements working together over
space and time;
c) severe temporary effects; and,
d) the full life cycle of a product or service down the supply chain.
13. What if I want a new product or production process certified?
This is called a new product or production line audit. The main objective of the audit is to establish whether the new product or process is designed to meet the certification standard sought. Normally in such cases a 12 month compliance check will follow the primary certification audit.
In this way, Green Tick® Certification is unique is that it allows for innovation and the certification of new products and processes without penalty or undue delay.