Decoding Sustainability Certifications

April 1, 2022
| Created by Hannah Langley, MS, RDN, CD

Happy Earth Month! If you have a renewed focus on sustainability, the food you eat is a great place to make some changes. Watch out for deceptive marketing tactics on packaging like greenwashing, where vague language like ‘natural’ or ‘eco-friendly’ is used to make a product appear more environmentally friendly than it actually isFor sustainability certifications that do exist, they have various factors such as reduced emissions, social practices, and giving back to sustainable organizations. Here are some reputable sustainability certifications to look for on packaging during your next trip to the grocery store and what they mean.

Climate Neutral Certified

In order for a company to be certified climate neutral, they must have measured all greenhouse gas emissions created during the production and delivery of their products, offset their emissions through the investment in carbon reduction projects, and have a plan in place to further reduce their emissions.  

Rainforest Alliance Certified

The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that aims to protect forests and Indigenous communities while promoting sustainable farming practices. Rainforest Alliance certified products have been produced in ways that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Pay special attention for the frog logo on your coffee, tea, and chocolate products.  

Monterey Bay Seafood Aquarium Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is pioneering the global sustainable seafood movement through their Seafood Watch program. The Seafood Watch program provides ratings of “Best Choice,’ “Good Alternative,” and “Avoid” for seafood products based on the sustainability of their catching or farming practices. Harmons follows Seafood Watch guidelines and only sells products that are given a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” rating. Look for the green and yellow fish tags in the seafood department and listen to the Sustainable Seafood episode of our Taste of Harmons podcast to learn more.  

Certified B-Corp

Certified B-Corporation is a certification given to companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The certification is given through B Lab, a nonprofit organization that uses an impact assessment to review how the company is governed and its effect on workers, the community, and the environment. Notably, this certification is given to companies as a whole, not just a handful of products within a company.  

1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet provides a reputable and accountable way for businesses to donate money to environmental causes. As the name implies, partners of 1% for the Planet must donate at least 1% of their annual sales or salary to environmental and sustainability organizations. The annual recertification process provides oversight and continued reassurance that companies are following through on their donations.

Regenerative Organic Certified

Products that have been regenerative organic certified are produced from organic farming practices and have met strict criteria for the maintenance of soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Regenerative agriculture ensures that crops and animal products can continue to be produced without harming the environment.  

If you’re interested in taking a sustainability-focused tour of your local Harmons Grocery store, contact your store’s dietitian at