Posted by Katie Altoft on April 5th, 2011
EcoLogo is North America’s largest, most respected environmental standard and product certification mark, EcoLogo has established stringent standards for certain types of products, ensuring that only 20% of products in any of those product categories could meet the standards (http://www.environmentalchoice.com/en/criteria/). In this way, they highlight the best of the best. Manufacturers can choose to submit their products for third party testing achieving EcoLogo certification if all the requirements are met. EcoLogo is one of several product certifications that are available to green products. But as a consumer it’s important to be conscious of greenwashing, and be able to discern between fact and fiction on a product label.
So what should you look for? In a happy, green world, all products would be organic, biodegradable, derived from natural sources, have minimal packaging and be processed locally, for a start. The challenge is that in an emerging market place, finding all of these characteristics in a single product is very challenging. Most often you’re making tradeoffs, finding products that provide you with the best combinations. For example – we still struggle to develop some ingredients organically and many products still contain some synthetic preservatives, because many natural ones just don’t work as well…yet.
Another challenge is how this information is communicated to consumers. There aren’t clear, universal definitions for many of the descriptions you’ll see on consumer products, and many manufacturers have taken some pretty liberal interpretations of what a green product looks like. Look for proof on their website, and check the ingredients as well. Some things that you’ll want to avoid include parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrance, and propylene glycol. Odds are good that a product that calls itself natural and but has nearly 100 ingredients, many of which you can’t pronounce, probably isn’t all that natural (but that isn’t the only screen, nature makes some pretty crazy things too!). To ensure that your green products truly are green takes a little work – ensuring that your source is reputable is one step, and third party certifications such as EcoLogo, or GreenSeal can be another. Just be sure that the certification mark is legitimate…that’s another greenwashing trick - the seal that looks like a certification, but is really only a decoration.
Green Cricket chose to seek EcoLogo certification for their Foaming Hand Wash soap, because they were confident in the ingredients and manufacturing process, and that the product would sell in sufficient quantities to justify the costs of certification. I am pleased to say that they did indeed receive EcoLogo certification, and the product will now bear the EcoLogo mark in the next production run. Congratulations Green Cricket!