Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:24

Comment Period for Sustainability Standards for Spas Now Open!


With the guidance of the Green Spa Network, Green America is reviewing the standards by which we evaluate spas when they apply for our Green Business Certification. Please comment on our standards for evaluating sustainability in the spa industry below.



Since 1982, Green America has reviewed over 8,000 small businesses in more than 50 industries. Over the years, we gathered our cumulative expertise into a set of comprehensive standards and developed a certification methodology that is measurable and transparent.

We take a holistic approach to green business and look for evidence that a business demonstrates deepening commitments and ongoing progress in three main areas; Environment, Social Equity and Accountability.

We group our standards into two types - required standards and general standards. The required standards represent best practices in a company’s core business at each certification level. These standards are built into the required questions in the online certification assessment whose completion leads to the business earn their Green Business Certification in Gold, Silver or Bronze.

Please review our standards, provided below, and use the comment form that follows to give us your input.

Spa Industry

Required Standards: Bronze


Business is starting on the path of sustainability and implementing sustainable practices in the workplace. They are mapping their impact in company operations. They are removing the worst ingredients from their products.

  • Company social and environmental mission and vision statement on website.
  • Existence of office Green Team to champion green initiatives in company operations. Sustainability work is part of all job descriptions.
  • Sustainability mission and all supporting documents easily available to all staff, whether digital or in paper.
  • Knowledge of environmental and significant labor impacts, feedback mechanisms and disclosure procedures.
  • Clear feedback mechanisms on performance for all staff.
  • Disclosure of process used to modify client/vendor contracts.
  • Design client treatment protocols to incorporate sustainability, including product quality, resource efficiency, and non-toxicity.
  • Treatment products used by staff and available for sale to customers made without synthetic fragrances or musks, dyes, phthalates, or parabens.
  • Policy and employee training that encourages reduction, reuse, and sustainable laundering of linens (including phosphate, petroleum, and synthetic fragrance free detergents, fabric softeners, and whiteners).
  • Provide all spa guests with water or organic tea/beverage that is filtered and chlorine free.
  • Establish community bulletin board.
  • Incorporate company's desire to be a standard bearer for best practices in your industry in company mission statement.
  • Replace equipment on an as-needed basis with more sustainable equipment.
  • Evaluate current pool O&M protocol (i.e. water use, energy use, chemical use).
  • Use sustainable, non-toxic, and/or non-chemical water treatment strategies in pool (i.e. saline instead of chlorine or bromine).
  • Install pool cover systems to reduce night-time water and heat loss.
  • Use sanitizers for equipment that do not contain chlorine or triclosan.

Required Standards: Silver


Business is deepening commitment to social AND environmental responsibility in core business practices, along supply chain, and in community. They are developing criteria/standards, identifying main areas of concern, and creating action plans. They are focused on producing completely natural/non-toxic products.

  • Minimum environmental and labor criteria for suppliers, vendors and contractors; information part of staff training and readily available.
  • Prioritization of sustainable and socially responsible suppliers, vendors, contractors.
  • Annual goals/action plans for sustainable improvement projects in service chain and company operations.
  • Minimum set of environmental and labor criteria/standards on website.
  • Policies that encourage a nourishing work culture, including job flexibility, work/ life balance and employee healing aspirations.
  • Involvement in local community through hiring, sourcing, and supporting activities using volunteer time, financial resources, use of office space, etc.
  • Offer location dependent living wage to all employees including lowest paid.
  • Treatment products used by staff and available for sale to customers made without ethoxylated compounds, petroleum-based chemicals such as dimethcione, butylene glycol, propylene glycol, petrolatum, paraffin.
  • Methods of laundering using cold water, minimal water quantity, or zero use of detergents, fabric softeners, and whiteners.
  • Protocols, employee training, and regular use of non-toxic cleaning and sanitation products.
  • Recycle all pool water on site.
  • Reduce or remove disposable cups, plates; replace with washable alternatives.
  • Source paper goods with recycled content (toilet paper, paper towels).

Required Standards: Gold

Green America Gold Certified Business

Business is pioneering best practices in their industry and embedding social and environmental responsibility into the DNA of the company. They are reporting, reassessing, continuously improving performance. They are focused on producing the purest product at the highest standards possible, including organic, Fair Trade, and/or local.

  • Shared documents include regularly updated metrics by which successes and in progress work is measured.
  • Annual reassessment of priorities/goals/action plans for sustainability improvement projects in service chain and company operations.
  • Regular focus on improvement of client healing experience in alignment with sustainability mission and connection to nature (i.e. sensory inputs including sound, aromas, visual elements.)
  • Regular employee training and development practices in core work and sustainability.
  • Educational materials offered to clients on environmentally and socially preferable product/service offerings and industry best practices.
  • Involvement in local or national organization supporting community building.
  • Treatment products used by staff and available for sale to customers third party certified as not tested on animals. For non- spa treatment products available for sale, at least half made with ingredients/ materials that are at least 50% local, fair trade, and or certified organic/biodynamic.
  • Install renewable energy water heating systems (i.e. solar, waste heat, geothermal, etc.
  • Purchase of sustainable equipment and materials use in operations, including spa textiles and linens, massage tables, vintage and reclaimed furniture, exercise machines, etc.

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