Getting Support from Third Parties
Once you’ve started thinking about green marketing, it might be a good idea to get support as you set up your products and services and start creating your marketing material along the correct green guidelines.
The Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) in the US has a range of free resources to help business owners start up and run their own green business. Topics include creating green products and services, advertising, green marketing, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliance for green marketing materials, and market research.
It also lists green marketing case studies, energy efficiency guidelines, green commuting ideas, and green contracting opportunities to sell goods and services to the government.
The Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers small businesses information on compliance with all key regulations, including energy efficiency ratings. It also offers training, grant opportunities and guidelines on how to get certified as a small business with the EPA.
They also offer the Safer Choice resource https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice for consumers and manufacturers so they can make smart decisions about what raw materials to use and what products are best to buy. As part of this program, they also offer guidelines for a safe environment in the workplace in terms of chemicals, and a similar program in reference to the use of pesticides.
The Sustainable Marketplace program
The Sustainable Marketplace https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts is run by the EPA and offers guidelines on choosing and sourcing greener products if you are a business or institution. It also offers consumers advice about how to make greener choices in relation to the many items they buy, which can give valuable insight into exactly what green consumers are looking for and why.
The Global Ecolabelling Network
The Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) oversees various types of green certification. Depending on the kind of product, a company can write their own declaration of their product or service is green, or get the certification or a license. If the certification is mandatory, the GEN can help ensure that any hazard warning and essential information about the product is correct. The manufacturer can also get seals of approval, report cards and single certification, such as Energy Star compliance and ratings.
The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers detailed guidance about acceptable marketing practices in relation to green marketing, which they refer to as environmental marketing. It gives clear definitions of various key terms, such as organic and “clean diesel”, and specific labeling guidelines. The full document can be found at https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-issues-revised-green-guides/greenguides.pdf. It offers definitions on a number of topics commonly found on labels, such as “free of”, non-toxic, and more.
Environmental Health Perspectives
This useful journal, published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), offers a wide range of articles regarding the impact of various manufacturing practices on the environment and how to produce cleaner, greener products. Their article on greenwashing is a must-read for anyone wishing to produce honest and accurate green marketing materials and ads. http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/118-a246/
Your Current Vendors
If you are thinking of making your products greener, check with your suppliers. Chances are they have greener versions of many of the products or raw materials that you use. You get to maintain your existing business relationships with reliable vendors and they get to keep you as a happy customer.
If you are thinking of going green, there’s no need to go it alone. There are many third parties and free resources available that can help you navigate the new waters of green marketing, and make sure you set yourself up for success.