My latest GreenBiz article is “10 Tips for Savvy Shopping in the Certification Marketplace.” Excerpt and link to full article below.
10 Tips for Savvy Shopping in the Certification Marketplace
Melissa Schweisguth, for GreenBiz, 7/14/10
In the face of surging skepticism around social and environmental claims, sellers and buyers alike are demanding verification. Sustainability certification has become a booming industry with over 400 in use and new ones emerging almost weekly. This, in turn, has led to scrutiny and public criticism of apparent shortcomings.
Understandably, the net result has been mounting confusion and uncertainty about what particular certifications deliver and their relative value. To help consumers and businesses navigate this landscape, the Consumers Union launched its Greener Choices database several years ago, providing basic information on over 300 labels. Realizing greater breadth and depth were needed, the World Resources Institute recently launched its more detailed Global Ecolabel Monitor.
Equipped with this intelligence, businesses face the question of how to use it to determine what designations to pursue and ask of suppliers. Strategic selection is key. Given the resources involved, it’s not practical to stamp every admirable trait. Nor is it necessary or beneficial, given that businesses can improve many practices and ensure positive outcomes with their own resources and supplier engagement, and the reality that claims lose their value with saturation. To this end, there are several factors to take into account:
2. Relative Priority
5. Real Impact
8. Return on Investment
9. Recognition and Resonance
Read the full article and engage in dialogue with the excellent community of GreenBiz professionals 10 Tips for Savvy Shopping in the Certification Marketplace