Ottman Check List For Credible Green Marketing Claims

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Information about Ottman Check List For Credible Green Marketing Claims
Marketing

Published on May 6, 2014

Author: JOttman

Source: slideshare.net

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Use this checklist as a practical tool for use in ensuring the credibility of your green marketing claims and programs.

HOWTO MAKE CREDIBLE GREEN MARKETING CLAIMS 34 · SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 ADVERTISING AGE HAVE WE BUILT A FOUNDATION FOR EFFECTIVENESS? ■■ Have we defined our values and what sustainability means to us? ■■ Are we walking our talk? Is a sustainability mindset firmly embedded within our company’s culture, core values and business strategy? ■■ Are we communicating our values to all stakeholders? ■■ Does our CEO openly believe in and support sustainability? ■■ Do our employees understand the key environmental and sustainability issues affecting our business? Are they empowered to act? CAN WE FULLY SUBSTANTIATE OUR CLAIMS AND COMPLY WITH THE FTC GREEN GUIDES AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS? SETTING THE STAGE ■■ Are we building a fact base for our environmental market- ing claims by evaluating our products’ and packages’ envi- ronmental impact throughout their life cycle: raw materials, manufacturing and production, distribution, marketing to in-use, after-use and end-of-life management? ■■ Are we working with suppliers to understand environmen- tal impacts throughout our products’ supply chains? ■■ Have we educated ourselves about various green marketing pitfalls by consulting secondary literature, legal precedent and reviewing past cases of the FTC and the NAD? ■■ Are we taking steps to educate all of our internal and external personnel involved with making environmental claims, e.g., our in-house and outside counsel, marketing, advertising, communications, sustainability and environ- mental staff and vendors, about the relevant terms that affect our business within the environmental lexicon? ■■ Have we thoroughly assessed all of our current campaigns, claims and use of brand names, package designs and imagery (corporate graphics, seals, logos, etc.) to ensure they follow the revised FTC Green Guides? SUBSTANTIATING SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS ■■ Do our specific claims involve a holistic understanding of our products’ environmental and social impact and do they avoid focusing solely on one or two environmental attributes? ■■ Are we avoiding claims that are virtually impossible to sup- port, such as general environmental marketing claims and claims of biodegradability for products and packages that wind up in landfills? ■■ Are we avoiding deceptive or misleading claims, in other words: ■■ Are our claims meaningful, specific, complete and without exaggeration? ■■ Are we being straightforward with type size, proximity, etc.? ■■ Are we avoiding overstatement? ■■ Are we avoiding vague, trivial or irrelevant claims that can create a false impression of a product’s envi- ronmental benefits? ■■ Are we providing complete information? ■■ Have we obtained all necessary substantiation from our suppliers for all claims that we make about their materials, processes, etc.? ■■ If we are marketing products outside the U.S., are we com- plying with legal requirements and guidelines provided by other countries? Are we avoiding making contradictory claims in different countries in order to maintain credibility? Do our claims translate properly into foreign languages? THIRD-PARTY SEALS AND ENDORSEMENTS ■■ Have we considered the use of credible certifications and eco-labels issued by independent third parties including government, industry associations and NGOs? ■■ In selecting the appropriate third-party labels, have we considered the levels of awareness and purchase influ- ence that exist among consumers for these labels? ■■ Are we providing the appropriate disclosures to our certifications and eco-labels on product, packaging and/or THEOTTMANCHECKLISTFORCREDIBLEGREENMARKETING Use the following checklist as a summary of key points made in this report, as well as a practical tool for use in ensuring the credibility of your green marketing claims and programs. CONTINUED ON P. 35

ADVERTISING AGE SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 · 35 HOWTO MAKE CREDIBLE GREEN MARKETING CLAIMS advertising? Are we making sure any supporting information is available on a website? ■■ If there are no third-party standards and eco-labels in our industry, are we taking advantage of opportunities to join with industry peers to create a consensus-based standard such as those of the American National Standards Institute that could then be verified by third parties? ■■ Have we considered the use of an environmental product declaration as an alternative to eco-labels, with the ability to provide more detailed, LCA-type data or disclosure, especially with institutional purchasers? ■■ Are we taking advantage of any opportunities to get claims for which no standards exist certified by an inde- pendent body? ■■ Are we disclosing our relationships with third parties, including any certifiers or paid endorsements? Are we following the FTC’s Endorsement and Testimonial guide- lines (as well as the Green Guides)? ■■ What can we learn from reputable experts about the prop- er use of terms not defined by the FTC Green Guides, such as “natural,” “sustainable” and “water footprint.” CORPORATE SELF-DECLARATIONS ■■ If we are using a corporate self-declaration, what is the basis or standard upon which we are making the declara- tion? Is it crystal-clear to consumers that our company or organization has issued the self-declaration and not a third party? CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING ■■ Have we considered the benefits and risks of cause marketing? Are we following best practices in promoting transparency in our cause-marketing campaigns? ■■ Are we ensuring that cause marketing, just like green marketing efforts in general, considers a holistic approach to our brand? ■■ Are we focusing on causes and environmental benefits that are most relevant to our brand? ARE WE COMMUNICATING TRANSPARENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY WITH OUR CONSUMERS AND RETAILERS? TRANSPARENCY ■■ Are we providing all the information consumers and other stakeholders seek to evaluate our brand’s environmental benefits? Specifically, are we providing access to details of products and corporate practices and actively reporting on progress? Are we reporting the bad as well as the good? ■■ Are we making it easy for stakeholders to evaluate our cor- porate environmental performance by following industry CONTINUED FROM P. 35 SOURCE: J. OTTMAN CONSULTING, INC. USED WITH PERMISSION guidelines such as those promulgated by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to ensure consistency in reporting? CONSUMERS ■■ How sophisticated are our consumers about common envi- ronmental marketing terms? Are we avoiding the mistake of assuming that our target audience knows more about envi- ronmental issues affecting our products, the science behind our products, etc. than they actually do? ■■ Have we tested the net takeaway of our messages and images among consumers for comprehension and believability? ■■ Are we being prudent about using LCA as a marketing tool? Are we fully aware of its shortcomings in this regard as well as, relatedly, lack of consumer understanding about LCA and how to interpret its results? ■■ When touting our products’ environmental benefits, are we being transparent about those environmental and social impacts not measured by LCA? RETAILERS ■■ Do we understand what types of proof our retailers may require in order to support our environmental-marketing claims? Have we completed any required surveys? Have we submitted our products for any required testing? BE THOROUGH ■■ Are we prepared to address the environmental impact of our marketing practices and materials? Beyond the common prac- tices of using recycled paper and soybean inks, are we work- ing to disclose the environmental impacts associated with our print, broadcast and digital-marketing supply chains? ARE WE PROMOTING RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION OF OUR PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT THEIR LIFE CYCLE? ■■ Are we engaging our consumers in proper use of our prod- ucts as well as in conserving resources in general, including encouraging them to use only what is needed, and con- sciously reducing waste? ■■ Are we making provisions to have our products dis- posed of responsibly or returned for recycling, reuse, remanufacturing or repair? SHOULD WE SIMPLY FOCUS ON THE CONSUMER BENEFITS OUR PRODUCTS PROVIDE? ■■ Have we considered opportunities to promote our products by focusing on primary benefits either exclusively (and thereby avoiding the use of environmental-marketing claims altogether) or as a complement to environmental attributes? For instance, are we addressing specific direct benefits of our products to save money? Protect health?

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