by Laurel Turk
November 12th, 2009 in Environmental, Green Seal, Greenwashing
It’s hip. It’s trendy. It’s the “in” thing to do. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious every day, and companies are scrambling to keep up with the demand for less waste, more recycling, and more eco-responsibility.
But how can a consumer be sure which companies are really taking their committment to the environment seriously, and which are just giving consumers lip service?
Good news for the good guys: Green Seal, the D.C.-based non-profit certification leader for green products and services, is launching a pilot Company Certification Program that offers the first — and only — holistic assessment of a company’s product line and its business operations. The new program builds on Green Seal’s development of 30 environmental standards and certification of over 3,500 green products and services, taking into account things like greenhouse gas emissions, water conservation, biodiversity impact and labor relations.
The assessments will be conducted by independent experts during on-site visits, and the company’s supply chain and major products will be under the microscope. Social and environmental impact studies will be taken into consideration as well.
This is good news for consumers: they’ll be able to feel good about giving business to companies they know are walking the talk.
This is good news for the companies that truly care about their impact on the environment: for the first time, they’ll be able to prove their claims. Consumer trust will skyrocket.
This is NOT such good news for companies that are just jumping on the green bandwagon: Green Seal (and consumers) will be all over you like white on rice. And you know the statistics, right? Consumers who have a positive experience with a company or brand might tell 2 or 3 people. But get on their bad side, and they’ll tell 10.
Bottom line is this: consider very carefully any green claims you make and your motivation for making them. If you’re trying to boost sales by catching a trend wave, this new certification is going to make things very difficult for you. But if your company is really committed to helping the environment — well then, prove it.