Cleaning up the green certification landscape

Cleaning up the green certification landscape

Let’s face it: green certifications are littering the marketplace. There are literally hundreds of certifications and marks out there causing consumer confusion.

It’s time to clean it up.

So this week’s announcement that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to release updated Green Guidelines by the end of summer is a welcome one. It’s been several years since the last update, and only recently has the agency started to enforce the guidelines.

According to legal experts familiar with the new regulations, more than 300 existing green certifications could be in trouble with the new standards.

The new standards are expected to govern claims including “biodegradable,” “sustainable” and “recyclable.” For consumers, this is great news. We hear in focus groups and in our proprietary Pulse studies that consumers rely on packaging for information, and are particularly interested in biodegradable packaging and recycling. With the new standards, perhaps confidence in certifications will rise and only accurate, meaningful marks will survive.

For marketers, this means making sure all your boxes are checked off. Will your current claims meet the new standards? If the expert is right, the certification landscape will soon be less crowded, meaning that the marks still standing will face a clearer path to consumer recognition. What will you do to help build a trusted mark in the new reality?

About the Author

Karen Barnes

Karen is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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