International Chamber of Commerce Answers Consumer Need for ‘Green’ Marketing Claims Validation

February 16, 2010

Recent studies show that an increasing number of consumers are choosing safe and environmentally friendly products when making a purchase decision. In addition, they are increasingly looking for certification marks or labels on products to validate their health and environmental credentials. Consumers want proof that products really are free of toxic materials and were produced in an environmentally conscious way. In addition, businesses are challenged with meeting ever-growing, complex compliance requirements to avoid recalls which negatively impact brand value and customer confidence. This legal and cultural “green” shift is placing manufacturers and retail brands under greater pressure to ensure their products meet standards and have accurate test and analysis data to support their green claims.

A “green” claim is a self-declared statement, symbol or graphic that refers to an environmental feature of a component, finished product, or packaging. A good environmental claim presents clear, accurate information that is supported by substantiated and verifiable data. A poor green claim, also known as “green washing,” can overstate or misrepresent a product’s environmental benefits and lead to a reducing in consumer confidence in product claims.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has recently released a new Global Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications. The purpose of this document is to provide companies with a guide on how to use environmental marketing communications in an honest and socially responsible manner. The positive end result would be an enduring consumer confidence in green claims.

One green claim example is that a product is free of certain chemicals or raw materials that are harmful to human health or the environment. The ICC Article E2 principle states that such a claim should not be made unless it can be supported by reliable, scientific evidence. For years, in response to harmful substances, Intertek has assisted hundreds of manufacturers, retailers, and distributors with testing, analyzing and validating product chemical composition and certifying to internationally recognized green standards.

“Companies are focused on finding and achieving compliance solutions for green product development. These businesses need to implement an effective strategy to meet requirements and market drivers in order to maintain the ability to conduct business without interruption, thereby gaining a competitive advantage,” said Joel Pekay, Global Marketing and Business Development Director of Intertek’s Health and Environmental Services. “Utilizing effective compliance measures will also increase new market opportunities, providing a balance between social responsibilities with profitability. Intertek recommends independently-issued certification marks or labels on a product that validate its green claims and verify its compliance.”

Intertek’s Green Leaf Mark is used by companies to prove to its customers and consumers that a product complies with multiple existing health and environmental regulations and standards, such as RoHS, REACH, and Eco Design requirements with one recognizable mark rather than multiple marks. The Green Leaf Mark can be used on products, packaging, in point of purchase displays, product advertising and literature to explain its safety and environmental credentials. This differentiation gives companies a competitive edge.

For additional information about Intertek’s green services, please contact our experts directly at green@intertek.com or visit www.intertek.com/green

Contacts
For further information, please contact

Joel Pekay
Global Marketing and Business Development Director
Health and Environmental
Telephone: 630-481-3126
E-Mail: joel.pekay@intertek.com


About Intertek Health & Environmental Services (www.intertek.com/green)
Intertek Health & Environmental Services offers the complete solution for global, regional, or local compliance, providing sound traceability systems and strict enforcement of due diligence policies. Intertek does more than simply help our clients comply, we give them the competitive advantage they desire. Our Services offer comprehensive solutions for RoHS, Restricted Substances, CPSIA, REACH, California Proposition 65, Carbon Management, and Greenhouse Gas reduction, including on-call consulting, testing and analysis, legal representation, certification, and corporate education appropriate for all types and levels of business. Intertek Health & Environmental Services is a leader in global environmental compliance, consulting, technology services and product stewardship.

About Intertek (www.intertek.com)
Intertek is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions serving a wide range of industries around the world. From auditing and inspection, to testing, quality assurance and certification, Intertek people are dedicated to adding value to customers' products and processes, supporting their success in the global marketplace. Intertek has the expertise, resources and global reach to support its customers through its network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 24,000 people in more than 100 countries around the world.