In the April issue of Good Housekeeping, Rosemary Ellis, editor in chief of Good Housekeeping, is launching its official green seal. The seal will help consumers identify “green” products from those so prevalently greenwashing. Unless of course, the products have already been certified green by numerous certification programs in the marketplace – Green Seal, EPA Designed for the Environment, EcoLogo, GreenBlue, Green Label, Eco-Label, GreenGuard…
The problem is consumers are not only bombarded by greenwashing, but they have to decipher all these “green certifications” that continue to be created. Conducting marketing and public relations in the CPG industry, I still had to consult Google for green certifications because the list continues to grow longer each passing day. If I cannot even remember or recall them, how will a busy mom of three? And will consumers actually look for these certifications? If so, will they know the difference between the certifications?
The answer is no. As long as the green certifications company are more focused on the number of certifications they can achieve, and less worried about educating the public on when and why to look for their certifications, these green labels will mean nothing to consumers. This is precisely why the government needs to step in sooner than later and standardize the green product certification process much like it did with food nutrition labeling and organic product guidelines.
However, I think of all the certification programs available, The Good Housekeeping Green Seal will actually be the most trusted among consumers because of the equity in the Good Housekeeping brand and seal. Consumers will quickly and easily recognize the seal because the design is only slightly different than the original seal (an excellent strategic decision).
While the news about the Good Housekeeping Green Seal did not provide specific guidelines on what will be evaluated outside of energy efficiency, packaging reduction and water quality, hopefully Good Housekeeping will revel more information on the criteria so the seal has real value to consumers and manufacturers alike.