Cognis has set up a green criteria for their ingredients and chemicals in order for their customers to identify how green they want their products to be.
Under their Portfolio Easy Guide, four leaves means ingredients derived from 100% renewable natural feedstock, and which did not undergo chemical process that uses catalysts or other reaction aids. Three leaves means the ingredient is still derived from 100% natural renewable feedstock but has been chemically processed. One leaf or two leaves indicate combination of natural and synthetic feedstock; the ratio of natural to synthetic C-atoms determines which of the two categories the product is assigned to.
The final level, called “Cognis Synthetics”, comprises ingredients based entirely on chemically processed synthetic feedstocks. No leaf for this one.
I think of this as a very good idea and a useful tool for marketing. I wonder why the consumer products market do not have this type of green labeling in the first place?