.One of the most consistent consumer demands is that products be eco-friendly. This is especially true with younger purchasers when they are purchasing outdoor furniture or other goods.
But, what does ‘eco-friendly’ actually mean?
In the broadest sense, of course, it simply means that the product s leave a smaller footprint on the planet, less toxicity in the air and in the water, and, less waste in the landfill. In terms of actual criteria, here are some specific ones environmental groups have indicated:
- Your products and/or services are free of toxic materials and ozone-depleting properties
- Your products and/or services are durable and designed to be reusable over the long-term – single use items like plastic straws or disposable sear covers are highly frowned upon.
- Your products are manufactured following environmentally-friendly guidelines or are produced from recycled materials. This is harder to do and harder to display as eco-friendly; but, critical to long term sustainability.
- Your products can be recycled. Bonus points if you make it easy by getting it acceptable at local recycling centers or arrange for free returns to you like printer toner containers.
- Better yet, your product can be completely broken down and reused to make a new product. Bonus points again for a free return policy.
- Your packaging is eco-friendly, biodegradable, made from recycled materials, can be recycled and/or is conservatively used. Oldies like cardboard boxes and newbies like corn based packing peanuts fit well here
- For all those areas of your business where you can’t guarantee the eco-friendliness, minimalizing is the best approach.
And, how can we, as manufacturers and processors, show we are meeting our obligation to produce our goods and service in an eco-friendly way?
Certification is the most obvious route to proving that you have met a set of environmental criteria which establishes your right to claim that your product is eco-friendly. Caution here: there are all kinds of labelling which purport to certify green products. Not all are legitimate. For your convenience, here is a list of 25 of the most respected..
Many of you may choose not to follow this path because of the paperwork or cost involved. If so, there are a few other options.
Since your main purpose is to highlight your eco-friendliness, labels that specifically and obviously describe your exact claim for eco-friendliness are your first line of marketing. Your website and any other media you utilize should also highlight the specifics of your green product or service.
Eco-friendly production is good for our environment and good for business.