In a forum separate from the larger survey, UL polled, interviewed and hosted a discussion with a small group of business professionals (purchasing managers and the like) to determine what green product claims effect their choices.
“For business purchasers, certifications provide a science-based assurance from a third party that a product’s claims are authentic,” concludes the UL report.
A second opinion
Companies rely on the businesses they purchase supplies from to honestly explain a product’s origin, and they simply can’t scrutinize every supply chain in question. Third-party verification about a product’s sustainably and environmental impact in the form of trustworthy certifications go a long way to expedite and simplify B2B purchases.
“Our clients expect us to be experts in the selection of environmentally superior products. However, we are only as good as the information we receive from manufacturers. If that information is false or misleading, our reputations can be put at risk. Research and/or third-party testing are important factors in verifying a manufacturer’s claims,” a Canada-based designer told UL.
Green consumer behavior
Over 1,000 consumers participated in the UL Environment study Claiming Green: The influence of green product claims on purchase intent and brand perception.
People shopping for personal care items, including deodorant, lotion, shampoo and body wash, are definitely inclined to choose products that are natural in some way and that meet an understandable standard of ecologically responsible and sustainable production.
“The personal care space is a marketplace in transition. Consumers are…asking more questions about the truth of claims on packaging. We see enormous potential opportunity for manufacturers who get ahead of the curve by making clear, relevant third-party-substantiated claims that resonate with consumers’ health concerns,” UL Environment says.
Rabbits and recycling
The Leaping Bunny certification logo from the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) was a consumer favourite, motivating 27% of respondents to purchase products with the logo and a comparable number of consumers to pay more for such products. Again 27% of consumers attributed a “positive brand impact” to the Leaping Bunny symbol.
In the personal care category, USDA Organic certification and Natural Products Association Certified both scored well too as purchase incentives, being worth spending more money on, and having “positive brand impact.”
“Claims explicitly related to natural/organic/biobased content had the most influence, chosen by 44% of respondents, with claims relating to chemicals and toxins coming in second at 42%. These product claims far outpaced those touting general environmental benefits (24%), recycled packaging content (15%), and waste reduction (8%),” the UL Environment study found.
Statements and logos regarding recycled packaging content and recyclability were distinctly confusing to consumers in the survey and could use further contextualization. UL points to this as an area ready for innovation: “We see real opportunity here for manufacturers to capitalize on consumers’ interest in recycling with clear messaging that helps them bridge the knowledge gap.”