Just this week the Natural Products Association announced the first recipient of its “natural home care seal” – Green Works Natural Bathroom Cleaner. The goal of the certification program is to “eliminate confusion about the meaning of “natural”. Right… that certainly clears it up for me!
I’m not anti-Earth Day or anti-green on any given day. However, from a marketing standpoint, green certificationscontinue to flood the market, decreasing their value – even for the certifications that are beneficial to consumers.
I highly doubt the average consumer can differentiate between green seals. I’m sure if I called 10 people not associated with the CPG industry, they wouldn’t be able to name a single green certification or have any idea of the significance of the Green Seal, EcoLogo, DfE, Green-E, Cradle to Cradle, Natural Products Association Certification, Good Housekeeping Green Seal, etc. And this isn’t the consumer’s fault.
This is a major problem for the industry, and the Federal Trade Commission is even stepping in a year earlier than originally planed to review its green marketing guide. However, I don’t anticipate this will solve the problem anytime soon.
I’m not recommending CPG companies avoid third-party green certifications that enhance credibility. However, CPG companies need to evaluate which green seal will be the most beneficial and push the third-party certification companies to generate more awareness about their seal and why consumers should look for it on retail shelves.