Over the last few years, business and consumers have grown increasingly conscious of corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. In fact, five years ago, only 55% of consumers shared they would pay extra for products and services from CSR-committed companies. Just last year, that number jumped to over three in four consumers (77%) willing to pay more for goods and services from companies focused on sustainability efforts.
However, this added attention on environmental sustainability led to the emergence of “greenwashing.” Greenwashing is a marketing tactic that fabricates how sustainable a company’s product or practices actually are. Read on to learn more about key questions to ask manufacturers to determine whether their commercial cleaning products will support your organization’s sustainability goals.
Learn The Difference Between “Green” and “Sustainable”
Understanding the differences between different eco-friendly terms helps you find a cleaning tool manufacturer whose CSR goals align your own. For example, two commonly used phrases are “green” and “sustainable.” “Green” refers to the specific health and environmental impacts of a manufacturer’s product, and only the environmental aspect. On the other hand, “sustainable” is used when the overall system for manufacturing a product is completed in a way that avoids a depletion of natural resources and provides other social benefits to a community in need.
To avoid buying from or partnering with a company that participates in greenwashing practices, be sure to vet them with the following questions:
Have you set goals to decrease your negative impact on the environment? In most cases, it’s unrealistic to expect a manufacturer, especially one that has been around for a while, to quickly adjust their processes to be 100% green or sustainable. However, now that global climate change has been a main concern for the public for the last several years, environmentally responsible manufacturers should have clearly outlined goals for how they intend to limit their carbon footprints, source materials sustainably and give back to their communities, among other CSR-related goals. Goals should be specific, such as reducing carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, and the manufacturer should be able to address the tactics being implemented to reach each goal.
Which certification system are you using? There are various types of product and process verification frameworks that companies can use. When selecting cleaning products from a supposed, green-certified manufacturer, it’s essential to confirm if that manufacturer’s development processes have been verified via a third-party organization. A third-party certification, such as Green Seal, helps ensure the green or sustainableverification is legitimate by objectively assessing if the manufacturer upholds environmentally responsible standards.
How are you tracking your use of natural resources? Researchers have been warning of the quick reduction in natural resources over the last several years – oil, gas, and coal resources are all expected to diminish between the next 30-70 years. Thus, it’s essential to see if a manufacturer is taking inventory of their use of these resources. Responsible manufacturers will track their consumption levels and may be exploring alternatives that can protect the future health of the planet. For instance, determine whether the manufacturer is reusing any materials to limit the need for new natural resources or has a plan in place for reducing reliance on natural resources.
Do you utilize sustainable packaging? Ask the manufacturer if they’re using sustainable packaging to ship and store their products. If a company takes necessary action to reduce their water or air pollution during the manufacturing process but doesn’t consider its contributions to plastic pollution, that may be a red flag. As landfills continue to overflow, businesses must prioritize investing in packaging that can be easily recycled or comes from recycled goods. Innovative packaging can also reduce the size of goods so that they are more efficient to ship and store.
Do Your Due Diligence
While it might be tempting to select a manufacturer with the lowest cost, the short-term savings for your cleaning program could have long-term, harmful effects on the Earth and its natural resources. Consider cleaning tool manufacturers that are transparent about their dedication to the environment. Asking the right questions will ensure their sourcing, manufacturing and transportation processes align with your organization’s CSR goals.
Learn more about Green Seal certified products and sustainable manufacturing practices at www.abcoproducts.com or contact us at (888) 694-2226.