Certifications Help Consumers Conquer Green Confusion
What's that, you say? You want to shift your spending to greener goods but you don't have a clue what's "green" and what's being "greenwashed"?
You're not alone. Polls show that confusion is one of the top reasons why shoppers don't buy more eco-friendly products.
Certifications and standards help solve the problem in two ways. First, they set meaningful environmental goals (for saving energy, protecting air and water quality as well as public health, conserving wilderness and wildlife) that motivate manufacturers to be more ambitious in reducing their environmental footprint. Second, they inspire confidence in consumers, who value the "third party verification" of a company's eco-claims. It's one thing for a business to crow about how green it is. It's far more reassuring if someone else says so, too.
Earlier, we reported on Greenzer.com, an e-commerce portal that helps consumers by linking to products that are either certified sustainable, "inherently" green (like reusable shopping bags), or have predominantly green attributes.
GreenYour.com, the newest site in the green shopping spectrum, has also made certifications and standards the cornerstones of its recommendations.
A GreenYour product must meet one or more of the following:
1. Green Certification: The product or its principal components are certified and labeled by a credible environmental organization such as EPA’s Energy Star program, USDA Organic, Greenguard, Green Seal, EcoLogo, or the Forest Stewardship Council.
2. Green Attributes: The product or its principal components are extracted, harvested, manufactured, distributed, consumed, or disposed in an environmentally or socially responsible way. Green attributes also can relate to materials or ingredients that are ecologically responsible in nature, such as post-consumer recycled content paper, organic cotton, or bamboo, as well as socially responsible business practices, such as Fair Trade practices.
3. Green Yield: The product allows the consumer to reduce his or her direct greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water use, or waste. Examples include reusable water bottles, public transportation, CFL lightbulbs, or low-flow fixtures.
Already, Greenzer.com has compiled a catalog of 15,000 products that meet its criteria. GreenYour.com is adding certified products to its site as fast as it can. That's encouraging news, given how much stuff is still being manufactured with little concern for planetary impact. Websites like Greenzer.com and GreenYour.com are helping create momentum that, at some point, should transform every product and service in the marketplace.