What does all this mean? What is natural beef? Does it truly have a definition? What do words like “lite”, “all-natural”, or even “green” say about anything? Legally, these words mean nothing. From a marketing standpoint, it says that the vendor is attempting to market his product a certain way. Amazingly, some vendors fib, and that product may not be green at all.
Certification is a different standard. It is our goal to insure that the suppliers, manufacturers and distributors listed on this site adhere to the independent certification procedures of their segment of the industry. Each industry has different certification type bodies. For example, the seafood industry has a variety of “certification” bodies such as the Marine Stewardship Council or the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They each have standards that are recognized industry-wide for sustainability, growth and limited environmental impact. So whether a vendor claims to have post-consumer paper cups or certified hormone-free beef, or certified sustainably caught seafood, we will update you not simply on the vendors’ claims, but also on who has certified them and what procedure they were required to complete in order to be a “certified” vendor.
Blue Ocean Institute: The Blue Ocean Institute was founded by MacArthur Prize-winning scientist/author Dr. Carl Safina and Mercédès Lee to be “a unique voice of hope, guidance, and encouragement”. They “use science, art, and literature to inspire a closer bond with nature, especially the sea”.
California Sustainable Wine Alliance (CSWA): California Sustainable Wine Alliance is a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable winegrowing. This organization offers a sustainable program called Sustainable Wine Program (SWP), which certifies wine growers doing the right thing.
Cuesa: Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture is a non-profit corporation established in 1994 in San Francisco. The corporation is committed to supporting a sustainable food system and educating consumers about sustainable agriculture. It is operated through the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco which is a Certified Farmer’s Market.
Eat Wild: This site offers resources and guidance to look for safe, healthy and natural food. Updated news and links to local farms are available.
Fish Choice: Fish Choice is a seafood industry directory that has over 200 listings. The directory has seafood vendors that meet the qualifications of a sustainable company according to their requirements.
Food Alliance: Food Alliance is a third party certifier providing verification to suppliers and distributors who are following sustainable principles. Food Alliance certifies using a volunteer based operation which works to provide companies with certification.
Global Animal Partnership: The Global Animal Partnership is a non-profit, charitable organization with the goal of improving agricultural animal welfare. Their signature initiative is their “5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards”, which use independent 3rd party auditors to rate and certify over 1,400 livestock operations.
Global Aquaculture Alliance: The Global Aquaculture Alliance is a non-governmental international farmed seafood sustainability certification body. They currently offer “Best Aquaculture Practices” (BAP) certifications for shrimp, tilapia, salmon, pangasius and catfish farms, as well as feed mills and processing plants. Visit their website for more information on the requirements and guidelines they adhere to.
Local Abundance: Local Abundance is a program designed to educate restaurant and retail staff as well as agricultural and seafood distributors on the fundamental issues of sustainability. Their mission is to facilitate an increase in communication between staff and consumers both about the sustainable products offered and the movement itself.
Marine Stewardship Council: One of the most prominent global wild seafood certification boards, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has developed standards for seafood sustainability, has outreach programs for both fisheries and retailers/restaurants and works to educate consumers on the importance of purchasing sustainable seafood.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch: The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program works with restaurants and consumers to help them make good choices about the seafood they eat. Frequently updated, their Seafood Watch Pocket Guides are well respected, quick and easy sources of information on which fish to buy and which fish to not buy.
Non GMO Project: Non GMO Project is a nonprofit organization that is a third party certifier. This company certifies the Non-GMO Project Verified label.
Organic Authority: This site offers updated news and resources related to organic products.
Organic Trade Association: The Organic Trade Association is a trade association for the organics industry in North America. There is a wealth of educational information on their website about organic food on as well as information about non-food organic products.
Protected Harvest: Protected Harvest is an independent certification organization established through the collaboration of several different partners, such as The World Wildlife Fund, The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association and The University of Wisconsin. Protected Harvest certifies farms using sustainable practices.
Rainforest Alliance: Rainforest Alliance is a nonprofit organization that is determined to keeping forests standing. They achieve through alternative methods of forest preservation. Rainforest Alliance provides certification to managers, farmers and tourists of the forest to make sure rainforests survive.
Safe Quality Seafood Associate (SQSA), LLC: Safe Quality Seafood Associate LLC is a consulting firm in Miami, FL. The organization’s main focus is the research, construction, implementation and auditing of aquaculture and seafood certification programs.
Salmon Safe: Salmon Safe is a nonprofit organization founded by the Pacific River council. They provide certification for fisheries in Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia.
Seafood Choices Alliance: The Seafood Choices Alliance endeavors to help the seafood industry become more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable from farm/fishery to fork. They do this through “convening and connecting stakeholders, facilitating dialogue, and using strategic communications”.
SeaWeb: This international, non-profit organization encourages awareness about ocean issues by promoting science based solutions to the most serious ocean perils.
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership: The mission of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is to engage and catalyze global seafood supply chains in rebuilding depleted fish stocks and reducing the environmental impacts of fishing and fish farming.
Sustainable In Practice (SIP): Sustainable In Practice is a vineyard and wine making certification organization. For an establishment to be certified SIP, the company must go through a verification process from independent accredited inspectors. SIP certification requires the whole farm to be sustainable in order to achieve certification.
World Aquaculture Society: The World Aquaculture Society is a non-profit organization created to “strengthen and facilitate communication and information exchange on high priority topics and emerging issues within the diverse global aquaculture community”. They have over 3,000 members in nearly 100 countries.
World Wildlife Fund: You may not know this, but the World Wildlife Fund also promotes “economic incentives, consumer initiatives, and trade management measures that encourage sustainable fisheries” as part of their work to preserve biodiversity on our planet. Note that the link will take you directly to their Seafood Sustainability Page.