Eco-Labeling in Green Product Marketing – Who Do You Trust?
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Eco-Labeling in Green Product Marketing – Who Do You Trust?



When it comes to eco-labels and certifications, the name of the game is trust. Who can consumers trust in their search for credible, clear information – not for profits? Government? Retailers? Even ...

When it comes to eco-labels and certifications, the name of the game is trust. Who can consumers trust in their search for credible, clear information – not for profits? Government? Retailers? Even for-profits? Join a lively debate and learn about the latest newcomers to the field of eco-labeling and certification — and decide for yourself. Note: This session is sponsored by Underwriter’s Lab in partnership with the EPA ENERGY STAR program.



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Eco-Labeling in Green Product Marketing – Who Do You Trust? Eco-Labeling in Green Product Marketing – Who Do You Trust? Presentation Transcript

  • Eco-Labeling Whom Do You Trust? Jacquelyn Ottman Christopher R. Nelson Amy Wolfrum Marilyn S. Black, PhD Jill Vohr
  • Eco-labeling—Whom Do You Trust? Moderator: Jacquelyn Ottman, J. Ottman Consulting, Inc. Christopher R. Nelson, UL Environment Amy Wolfrum, ICF International Marilyn S. Black, PhD, Greenguard, Air Quality Sciences Jill Vohr, Energy Star Program, US EPA
  • Eco-labeling—Whom Do You Trust? Introduction Jacquelyn A. Ottman– J. Ottman Consulting
  • Chris Nelson – Director, Global Commercial Development UL Environment Eco-labeling Panel: Trust and the Role of the Private Sector
  • Consumer Trust in Environmental Claims •  Consumers are beginning to place more of a focus on environmental attributes for the products and services they buy but primarily in areas they can understand and make value judgments on •  Environmental claims have a significant brand value attached and companies need to find more effective ways to engage and educate consumers •  Strong reliance currently on manufacturer self- declarations •  NGO’s are in much stronger position to clarify and substantiate claims being made by companies •  All stakeholders would benefit from 3rd party assessments, standards and certifications to help end consumer confusion
  • Standards and Certification Programs •  Standards developed through recognized bodies will provide a transparent, common framework by which Example Programs organizations and companies can validate green claims - leads to engagement of a wide range of stakeholders and quicker market acceptance •  Establish common benchmarks with known qualifications by which to validate claims being made – encourages innovation and can adapt to new developments in technology •  Criteria for testing and certification should be transparent so technical expertise and qualification of verification bodies can be validated •  Education and awareness programs need to be developed to communicate focus and intent of programs – single attribute vs. multi attribute vs. LCA
  • Why UL Environment? •  Strong brand recognition and trust through UL’s heritage as the global conformity assessment leader Brand for product safety •  Well positioned to be environmental standards and conformity assessment leader •  Global capacity and capability to test a wide range Standards & Trust of environmental attributes Expertise •  115-year history of standards development expertise(1,300+ standards) •  Focus on knowledge and thought leadership through training courses and advisory services Global Capability •  Powerful and credible resource against accusations of greenwashing
  • Who is UL Environment? •  UL Environment helps support the growth and development of sustainable products, services and Products organizations in the global marketplace through standards development, educational services, and independent third party assessment and certification to foster stewardship and respect of our environment Energy Company •  Seeking to provide clarity and transparency to increase credibility and confidence in the marketplace •  A wholly-owned subsidiary of UL launched in 2009 Testing / Advisory focused exclusively on environmental services Certification Training Services •  Developing a publicly available database where all validated and certified products will be listed Standards
  • Contact Information Chris Nelson Director, Global Commercial Development T: 847.664.3386 888 - 4 - UL GREEN
  • Amy Wolfrum, ICF International Eco-labeling Panel: Trust and the Role of the EPA
  • How well is EPA/ENERGY STAR trusted? 29% consider US EPA “very reliable” as a source of information about protecting the environment (compared to 27% for consumer publications, 29% for electric utilities, 10% for news/media, and 7% for retailers).1 34% respond that the fact that ENERGY STAR is sponsored by the Federal government increases its credibility.2 43% respond that the government backs the ENERGY STAR symbol, so they can trust it.2 1 Source: Schulman, Ronca, and Bucuvalas, Inc., (DRBI) and Research into Action, Inc. 2008 Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Demand Response. 2 Source: EPA Office of Air and Radiation, Climate Protection Partnerships Division, National Awareness of ENERGY STAR® for 2008: Analysis of 2008 CEE Household Survey. U.S. EPA, 2009
  • ENERGY STAR halo effect?
  • Who is responsible/best equipped? 50% of TOP (Total U.S. Online Population) say that the Federal Government ranks first or second in terms of who should take the lead in environmental issues (35% for business and industry, and 21% for environmental groups).3 30% of TOP say that the Federal Government would be the most effective in achieving a balance between environmental protection and economic growth (15% for large companies, 8% for environmental groups).3 In sum, most studies support that although the Federal Government may not enjoy a high degree of trust in the area of eco-labeling and/or claims, the public considers them responsible for protecting them against false claims and suggests EPA as a critical player in identifying a solution. 3 Source: GfK Roper Green Gauge Report, 2007
  • What is the Federal Government/EPA up to? The Hill/Federal Feinstein Bill, FTC “Green Guides”, USDA Organic EPA Administer Executive Order (EO) 13423. Potential for revision to further guide/ encourage Federal purchasing of environmental preferable products Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) leading the development of voluntary consensus standards for environmental preferable products and services (via ASTM, IEEE, NSF), particularly related to building products such as carpet, office furniture, resilient flooring, wall coverings, roof membranes, and textiles, as well as standards supporting green chemistry Through Sustainable Products Network (SPN), EPA determining role in reviewing and/or developing standards/labels for environmentally preferable consumer products Variety of eco-labeling programs – single and multi-attribute
  • Examples of EPA eco-labeling programs
  • Considerations for what makes a trustworthy eco-label/claim? Science-based Continuously improved Involves open/balanced process Unbiased Internationally harmonized Transparent Robust Market viable Consumer-friendly Tested/verified
  • Marilyn S. Black, PhD, Founder, Greenguard Institute Air Quality Sciences Eco-labeling Panel: Trust and the Role of Single Attribute Programs
  • Why Third-Party Certification Matters? Why UL Environment •  Public health concerns •  XXXXXXXXXXXXX •  Trust and credibility vs. marketing claims •  No official standards or regulations
  • Preference for Handling IAQ Certification •  Almost 40% prefer governmental involvement •  Approximately 30% prefer independent organizations •  Consumers do not prefer manufacturers, industry trade associations and retailers handle IAQ certification Source: Harris Interactive Consumer Study, Dec 2008
  • GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Mission “To Improve Public Health and Quality of Life through Programs that Improve Indoor Air”
  • GREENGUARD - Single Attribute Program •  Reduce complexity •  Easy to understand •  Address health directly with sound scientific basis •  Less costly •  Allow consumer choice •  Provides building block to complex program
  • Health & Well Being is Key Consideration
  • Jill Vohr – Energy Star, US EPA Eco-labeling Panel: Trust and the Role of Retailers
  • Retailer Perspectives on Trust We asked the retailers (Amazon, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Menards, Nationwide, Office Depot, The Home Depot, Wal-Mart)
  • Schulman, Ronca, and Bucuvalas, Inc., (DRBI) and Research into Action, Inc. 2008 Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Demand Response Table 5 Reliability of Information Sources about… Percent who say a source is “very reliable” Protecting the Saving energy environment Base: Asked of one-half of the sample. 2002 2004 2006 2008 2002 2004 2006 2008 Consumer publications 25% 30% 29% 30% 21% 26% 24% 27% U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) 27 28 29 29 22 23 25 27 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 26 27 28 28 25 26 25 29 Electric utility 25 32* 28 27 20 20 24 29 State government 14 16 13 13 12 10 14 16 News/media 9 10 10 9 7 8 9 10 Contractors 8 8 9 8 5 4 6 5 Retailers 6 8 7 7 4 5 6 7 * Statistically significant difference from previous year (at the 95% confidence level)
  • Retailer Response to Increased Activity Re: Eco-Labeling/Claims Retailers are changing their practices due increased consumer concern about the environment – particularly global warming and climate change. In fact, 90% of Americans agree that there are important green issues and problems. -Environmental house cleaning -Pushing suppliers -Initiating environmental marketing programs -Earnestly seeking out third-party guidance on how to define green and sources for backing-up claims
  • Retailer Eco-”Messaging” Retailers are taking different approaches to eco-labeling/claims: -Creating retailer-specific eco-marketing “platforms” -Developing programs that leverage individual third-party green certifications, such as ENERGY STAR, WaterSense, Forest Stewardship Council -Working to define their own specifications for green – with one or more stakeholder -A mix of the above
  • What are Retailers Looking for in an Eco-label/Claim? -Consumer demand -Credible source -Easy to communicate/understand -Supplier buy-in -Cost-effective
  • What are Retailers Looking for in an Eco-label/Claim? Wal-Mart/Arizona State University