Many ecolabels that certify certain sustainability aspects of food products only consider a small portion of the food product's life cycle.

A prominent example may be the MSC label which addresses the environmental impacts caused by fish products during the fishing stage (overfishing, bycatch and more) but not the impacts occurring after the fish is landed.

The KRAV ecolabel on the other hand takes at least the processing stage, additionally to the fishing stage, into account.

More information about these two labels can be found in a paper by Thrane et al. (2008): Eco-labelling of wild-caught seafood products.

Are there more ecolabels (the bigger the more interesting) which consider more than one stage (which may be identified - but don't have to - as resource extraction/growing to harvesting, processing, packaging, transport, consumer stage, waste) of food production?

2 Answers 2


I know of two American organizations that offer a life-cycle based certification scheme for food or food services, but they seem to be small and not widely spread. For the record I'm not affiliated to either of these organizations.

1. Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP)

There's a company called SCS Global Services which is a

third-party certifier of environmental claims in the green building, food, energy, and consumer product sectors

They offer an Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) certification to producers, which means that they will use

the most advanced life-cycle assessment (LCA) metrics to confirm that your products meet this standard of excellence

I don't think it's very widely known (I haven't heard about it before), but it does seem to be what you are looking for.

2. Green Seal

The Green Seal is a non-profit organization that

develops life-cycle-based, multi-attribute standards and certify products and services that can prove they meet our strict criteria for human health, reduced environmental impact and excellent performance

They have a list of categories for which they offer this including a standard for Restaurants and Food Services (as well as one for paper products used for food preparation and one for food service packaging).

The company says that they are

a founding member of the Global Ecolabelling Network, the internationally recognized network of ecolabelling organizations

but again I've never heard of them (but that could be because I'm not American).


I can't say that there is one and it would be more difficult to quantify than the specific ones such as Fairtrade or non-GMO.project There is Certified Biodegradable and Rainforest Ecosystem Alliance for 'Social responsibility' and for fish and seafood there are 'Low Contaminant Level' certifications by Seafood Safe, Safe Harbor and Fishwise. Of course there is the Not tested on Animals certified label. I know these are all more focused than what you are asking about.

Your farmer's market is probably your best bet!

Here is a good resource for ecolabels. There are such labels that take into account the whole life cycle but they are optional and dependent on where you live. http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabels/

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