What can you do to increase your consumption responsibility? It starts with being more vigilant. Try not to get fooled, and look for the warning signs. Manufacturers who haven't yet sought certification – take note.
1. Look for labels that are very specific.
Much of the labeling and research performed by manufacturers goes on behind closed doors. Although the FTC warns companies against making broad, unsubstantiated claims of environmental friendliness, they don't do much to aid consumers in sorting through the mounds of “greenwashed” products in order to find those that are truly eco friendly. Several of these labels, like Green Seal, conduct Life Cycle Assessments on their products and are very thorough.
(Example of what a LCA entails.)
2. Educate yourself about “greenwashing” triggers.
Don't assume a product is eco friendly because of cleverly placed symbol of a leaf, or environmental messaging. Unless there is some degree of quantifiable data to back up a claim, always question its' veracity.
(Coca-Cola was asked by the Danish ombudsman to provide documentation to back-up their claims over their 2009 plant-based bottles. They could not.)
3. Research companies that claim to sell “green” products.
Many companies will often put information about the research they are doing on their websites. Smart consumers can find out more about this by digging online a bit.
4. Don't be fooled by the packaging.
Some retailers will use flashy packaging to attract customers towards their “green” products. This is entirely counterintuitive to the concept of responsible manufacturing. Flashier labels and more colors mean more dyes and plastics – we love it when manufacturers stick to simple kraft packaging!
5. Only use “green” products that have credible certifications and/or labels.
One of the most effective ways for retailers and consumers alike to wipe out greenwashing is by supporting products that carry credible environmental labels. These go through stringent enforcement and are a huge indicator of a company's dedication to environmental sustainability. Products with ISO certified labels such as Eco Logo, Green Seal, FSC, Green-E, Energy Star, Greenguard, EPA Seals receive a higher Raw Score on our site. These are just a few of the certifications that our products carry.
Organizations in charge of regulating environmental messaging, such as the FTC, do little in terms of actually sorting through "greenwashed" products for consumers. We`ve already taken care of that for you - all of the products on our site hold credible eco labels and contain over fifty percent recycled materials (except for our soaps and inks, of course.) Rest assured that the products you find at The Raw Office won`t have been involved in any "greenwashing" schemes - should you have any questions on our products, do not hesitate to contact us.