You Say You’re Green? OK, Prove It!
• For self-declared claims: marketers should use “clear and prominent qualifying language to alert consumers that it created the certifying program.”
• For third party certification based on audits or verification of a series of parameters: marketers will need to show that the certification “constitutes competent and reliable scientific evidence to support its claims.”
Here’s where you need proof!
If you currently use any of these terms or phrases, you will need to substantiate or qualify them:
Degradable—Does it actually “completely breakdown and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after disposal?”
Compostable—Will the product/package breakdown into usable compost in a safe and timely manner? That is, will it break down in approximately the same time as the other materials with which it is composted?
Recyclable—Recycling programs are not available evenly across the country, so the Green Guides now propose language that reflects three tiers of availability:
• If a “substantial majority” has access to the kinds of recycling facilities that can handle your product or packaging, you can make an unqualified recyclable claim.
• If a “significant percentage” has access to the kinds of facilities that can recycle your product/packaging, you must say that the product or package “may not be recyclable in your area.”
• If “less than a significant percentage” has access to recycling facilities, you must say that it is “recyclable only in the few communities that have recycling programs.”
Made with Renewable Materials—What are the renewable materials? How are they sourced? Why are they renewable?
Made with Renewable Energy—You may not make unqualified claims of renewable energy use if any part of the power used to make any part of the product or package was derived from fossil fuels. Be aware that fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) currently provide more than 85 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States.
• Define their sustainability strategies,
• Deliver a positive, sustainable image,
• Gain credibility, trust and respect, and
• Measure the results of their green initiatives and actions.
Gail is a nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects and brings enthusiasm and a unique blend of experience to the podium. As an industry analyst and journalist contributing to publications in the United States, Canada, India and Brazil, she has covered a number of beats, particularly sustainability in printing and mailing, print on demand, variable data printing and direct mail.