Aman Desouza is Director, Innovation and Sustainability for CertainTeed Corporation
Not least among the challenges of sustainability are the challenges of recognizing and avoiding greenwashing. The market seems to want sustainability and demand greener products but it also wants to know, understandably, that the claims of sustainability are credible and have been verified.
From a manufacturer’s standpoint, we look for ways to provide that credibility, which in turn we hope will give us a competitive edge, accelerate the adoption and sales of our products and bring value to our sustainability efforts. We are, after all, a competitive and profit oriented bunch. So, over the last few years, most manufacturers have moved from making blanket statements about sustainability towards fact based claims and they are now moving even further towards the use of third party labels.
This is all very good and generally positive, but does it help the customer?
The problem is that not all labels are created equal and for the most part, labels are not even comparable, which does not help the consumer much. While there is certainly value in the 3rd party validation that a label offers, we are essentially shifting the burden of credibility from products to labels.
I propose that what consumers need to facilitate good decisions are not verifications of a myriad claims of uncertain value in their context, but a few simple, relevant facts and the knowledge required to evaluate them in context.
Should the facts be verified? Certainly! That’s where third party validation would be valuable.
This is part one of this blog. Watch for the second installment.