Design a site like this with
Get started

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts

One of the most impactful things adventurous mamas can do for our planet is to be purposeful with our spending. We can support businesses that support the environment. However, there are so many brands, and so many things that we purchase, it becomes overwhelming to research the supply chain, materials, and packaging of every single item we need. Not to mention the core values of each business. And then we have to determine if their values align with their actions. This leads to more time with our noses in our phones/computers, and less time unplugged, breathing fresh air, and bonding with those we hope to protect. 

The following are five important certifications to look for when selecting businesses and products to support financially. In our sustainability holiday gift guide, we highlighted 1-3 businesses that hold these certifications and make gifts worth giving an adventurous mama.

Certified B Corporations

Certified B Corporations (B Corps) balance profit and purpose by meeting high standards of environmental and social performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Basically, these companies value their impact on the community, their customers, the environment, and their workers. The phrases “fair trade”, “social responsibility”, and “sustainability” are their main focuses. It’s considered a big deal because it is the only certification that “measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance”.

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (Image is the certified B corporation logo)B Lab, a nonprofit, administers the certification for interested businesses. B Corps receive a score on the B Impact Assessment. This assesses the company’s impact on its community, customers, environment, and workers. B Corps must make their assessment results (“impact reports”) public. 

One of the most visible outdoor companies holding B certification is Patagonia. While Patagonia was not founded by a mama, it is currently run by Rose Marcario, who is a major maternal ally. (Read all about Marcario supporting mamas here.) 

Mama-owned B Corps we selected for our sustainable holiday gift guide include All Good and Stasher. Purple Rain Adventure Skirts is in the initial certification process. Search for other B Corps here.

1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet began with two outdoor company founders (Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies), agreeing to donate 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofits in 2002. Since then, it has grown to over 2,000 members in more than 45 countries. According to Chouinard, the mission of 1% for the Planet is to fund “diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems”. So far, the program has helped over $200 million be invested in environmental nonprofits working to create a better world.

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (Image is logo of 1% for the planet)You can join 1% for the Planet as a business or an individual. Businesses join by committing to donate 1% of their gross sales through monetary, in-kind, and approved promotional support directly to environmental nonprofits. Individuals commit to donate 1% of their annual salary to environmental nonprofits through monetary and/or volunteer support. 1% for the Planet pairs members with nonprofits whose values align and certifies all donations.

Mama-owned 1% for the Planet business members we selected for our sustainable holiday gift guide include All Good, REDBUDSUDS, Stasher, and wildbird threads. Search for other 1% for the Planet businesses here

Climate Neutral Certification

As more businesses look to become carbon neutral, the founders of Peak Design and Biolite (Peter Dering and Jonathan Cedar, respectively) created a nonprofit to certify companies as having a net carbon footprint of zero. The certification looks at things like office energy consumption, raw materials, and supply chains: all the ways carbon is generated by the creation and delivery of their products. The nonprofit measures a company’s carbon footprint, helps it reduce what it can, and then guides it in offsetting the rest. So far, Climate Neutral has helped 44 companies become carbon neutral for 2020 – by pledging to offset their emissions for 2019. 

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (image is black box with climate neutral certified logo)Popular outdoor businesses have joined, including Klean Kanteen, Lifestraw, and Rumpl. All Good is the mama-owned small business touting the Climate Neutral certification we chose to include in our sustainable holiday gift guide. Click here to view all the Climate Neutral Certified businesses for 2019 and 2020.

Green America Certified Business
Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (image is green america certified business logo)

The nonprofit Green America focuses on four areas:

  • use of a green office/facility
  • transparency in return/refund policy
  • declaration of commitment to social and environmental values
  • a commitment to accurate representation of products/services (aka no greenwashing)

Green America certifies businesses through its Green Business Standards. These standards cover everything from how a company sources its materials and markets its products to the values statement the business places on its website. 

Clif Bar is a well-known Green America Certified business that happens to be co-founded by a mama. We selected one you may not have heard as much about – Rawlogy – to include in our sustainable holiday gift guide. Find more Green America Certified businesses here


The bluesign® certification means that a garment meets strict requirements for water emissions, air emissions, resource productivity, consumer safety, and safety of the workers. The goal is to let the consumer know that the manufacturers are acting responsibly towards the environment, resources, and people.

A Swiss group called bluesign® technologies awards these third party, independent certifications. This group is involved in every step of the supply chain, monitoring materials from the factory to the finished product. To be considered bluesign®, a product must contain at least 90% bluesign® approved textiles and 30% bluesign® approved accessories. 

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (image is a bluesign system partner logo)There are no women-owned, small business bluesign® system partners. Well known outdoor companies that use bluesign® textiles and were co-founded by women include Eagle Creek, prAna, REI, and The North Face. Patagonia also uses bluesign® textiles, and as was previously mentioned, its current CEO, Rose Marcario, is a badass maternal ally. 

We included Wild Rye, a sustainably-focused, woman-owned small business in our sustainable holiday gift guide, because it uses bluesign® materials whenever possible.

For more information on bluesign® and to search for bluesign® system partners, visit the website. Also, REI has a great article explaining the bluesign® certification if you are looking for more information. You can even limit your searches on with sustainability filters, including bluesign® and recycled materials. (Go REI!)

Maternal Allies: Women-Owned Small Businesses with Sustainable Focuses

Awesome small businesses are out there doing epicly sustainable work that do not hold any of the aforementioned certifications. The three we mention below fill unique adventure mama needs: fighting the uphill battle against fast fashion, the age-old issue of how to pee carefree outside without a penis, and sustainable lighting. We chose to include three in our sustainable holiday gift guide: Home Free Tees, Kula Cloth, LuminAID.

Sustainability Certifications: What to Look for When Choosing Gifts (image is women owned logo)

Above we highlighted five certifications that denote sustainability efforts made by businesses. Being purposeful when selecting which businesses to support when purchasing gifts is only the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg. AMI’s board president Meghann Beers wrote a blog highlighting her family’s efforts to live sustainably as they travel the world for a year. This includes offsetting carbon emissions from air travel, using public transportation, selecting sustainable housing, eating out without using single-use plastics, and so much more. 

You can use your everyday actions to support sustainable businesses. Get your haircut at a zero-waste salon – that’s right, even the hair is recycled! Vote for candidates in local and national elections that support environmentally friendly policy. And of course, check out our sustainable holiday gift guide for environmentally friendly businesses to support.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: