Dec82010

Quick Steps To Check Greenwashing Of Packaging

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Authentic sustainable packaging

Have you ever questioned if a sustainable packaging product was as “eco-friendly,” “green” or “sustainable” as claimed by the manufacturer? Do you always trust corporate marketing machines, labels and their claims? 

There is good reason to worry. Authentic sustainable brands have established their leadership position by being diligent in validating the sustainability of the packaging they select. Your company’s packaging choices are important because consumers are getting smarter and questioning claims of sustainability. A sustainable packaging choice can make or break the success of a product. Authentically sustainable companies are conscientious about every aspect of their product – and authentically sustainable packaging is essential.

Eco-Newbies with good intentions to develop a sustainable product have been fooled by clever marketing folks. With a rapidly growing market for sustainable products, some packaging companies have turned to devising marketing schemes as a quick fix, rather than developing packaging which is truly sustainable. For instance, if an adhesive label was promoted as being “tree-free” you might be surprised to discover that the tree-free label was actually made with plastic! It is certainly treeless, but it is not what you had expected from the tree-free label marketing claim.

What is the conscientious buyer to do when there is not a common and legally-compliant definition of green, eco-friendly and sustainable?

One can turn to trusting certifications, but that could be complicated, misleading or tricky. There are way too many certifications, and their methods may be inconsistent and often questionable. In our fast-paced world, even questionable products have found ways to qualify for sustainable certifications. Buyers like them because they simplify their purchasing process – but caveat emptor.  Depending upon the certifying body, you will be best served to do further due diligence.

Savvy buyers of sustainable packaging take time to dig a bit further.

Three Quick Steps to Research Sustainable Products:

1. Google the manufacturer – Do they produce 100% sustainable products, or is this just a sustainable product line in their product offering? Has the company been sustainable since their inception?

2. Google the product – What have third parties said about the product? What are the product “ingredients?” If they are unwilling to share these details, be wary.

3. Common Sense – Use your own common sense, and ask yourself: “Does this seem to be green/sustainable? If it is green/sustainable, then how can it …?”  If you’re not 100% convinced, your suspicions are likely valid.

This is simply a short list of quick checks, but it is certainly far better than trusting marketing claims and certifications.

Distant Village designs beautiful custom handmade sustainable packaging. We create packaging to help our clients build strong brand identity that communicates an authentic sustainable position.

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One Comment

  1. Distant Village
    Posted Mar 15, 2014 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Probably the best alternative for sustainable packing is ElevatePackaging.com Elevate Packaging is the leading source for sustainable paper packaging and folding cartons. All packaging is produced with 100% wind energy and made from 100% recycled paper using agri-based and soy ink for all printing.

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