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Third Party Validation Builds Credibility

7 December 2011

GreenBizCheck Client Sustainapac discusses the importance of third party environmental validation and how it builds credibility.

In a market where consumer understanding of sustainability-related lingo is increasing and people begin to seek out more environmentally and socially friendly options, third party certifications on packaging can strongly influence what they choose to buy.

Not surprisingly, language consumers comprehend best, such as recyclable, biodegradable, carbon neutral, eco friendly, and recycled content, can have a greater impact on purchasing decisions. However, as people become more savvy, more descriptive sustainability claims and third-party certifications will become increasingly important in how consumers choose their green products, and their packaging, from the variety available on shelves.

Packaging that makes a genuine environmentally-friendly claim that is independently verified shows that the company is not just trying to capitalise on a seemingly greener product, but that it is making a tangible investment in greener solutions throughout its supply chain. Acquiring independent verification by a reputable third party can also avoid the charge of greenwashing.

Appropriate labelling helps consumers build trust in a brand by validating a companys commitment to the health of the environment and society.

Here are a few examples of third party certification:

One of the most popular forms of third party certification is via the Planet Ark Carbon Reduction Label, which, since its launch in 2007, helps companies identify greenhouse gas emission savings and help consumers understand how they can reduce their own carbon footprint. Companies that display the Carbon Reduction Label are making a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of their product or service. Although more widespread in the UK, the Carbon Reduction Label is slowly being placed on Australian products, the most recent being ALDIs everyday olive oil range and Mobius Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc by The New Zealand Wine Company.

Another form of third party certification is through the Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), a not-for-profit organisation that exists to reduce environmental harm by promoting the production and consumption of environmentally preferable products and services. The Environmental Choice Australia ecolabel, launched in November 2001 provides to the community and commercial markets an environmental mark of recognition for a wide range of products and services.

The Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS) assures that forests are managed in line with challenging environmental, social, and economic requirements and to couple with this, Chain of Custody certification enables certified material to be tracked from the forest to the final product. Companies that source AFCS timber and wood show their customers that they are being proactive in making forests sustainable for future generations.

The GreenBizCheck Program is a global technology-based environmental certification program for business.The GreenBizCheck certification helps consumers identify companies that are reducing the impact of their business operations. In order to reach GreenBizCheck certification, businesses have to be actively reducing their energy use, water consumption, have effective waste reduction and recycling programs in place and are taking sustainability into the heart of their supply chain management.

By Zoey Jurss, GreenBizCheck