Once upon a time, buying green products meant looking for a few, well established seals of approval or certification. Energy Star, USDA Certified Organic and the recycled sign were a few of the well recognized logos.
Today consumers are confronted with a myriad of green images. Proprietary green brands abound issued by manufacturers, retailers and trade groups, hoping to cash in on the green movement or clarify their green credentials have created their own versions of “certification”.
Some of this is driven by large corporations’ frustration with the FDA and USDA’s refusal to keep up with the changing landscape and issue new guidelines. Some is driven by an urge to create a “green” standard of their own. Either way, consumers aren’t buying it.
A recent study by the Natural Marketing Institute found that consumers trust the established green branding not associated with any particular company much more than they trust proprietary labels.
….consumers indicate that they are more likely to make eco-friendly purchase decisions if the eco-labels are also widely recognized and trusted brands in of themselves. Familiar labels for programs like the EPA’s Energy Star have a more significant influence on consumer behavior than others.
This information in and of itself should be enough to encourage our government agencies to move forward with regulation and certification efforts or at the least to start defining in what cases words like “natural” can be used.
We can only hope.