White Paper

Understanding the Effective Use of Green Product Labels

Understanding the Effective Use of Green Product Labels

This UL white paper discusses the importance of objective and verifiable environmental claims for products, and provides guidelines for the development and use of effective and legal claims in the marketing of green products. The paper begins with a review of leading causes of false or misleading environmental claims, known as greenwashing, and details the risks associated with such claims. The white paper then summarizes recommendations for effective environmental claims as detailed in the FTC’s Green Guides. The paper concludes with recommendations for companies and organizations on the benefits of a comprehensive approach to assessing the environmental preferability of their green products.

Purchasing more environmentally preferable products and engaging in other sustainable behaviors is becoming the “new normal” for the majority of American adult consumers, with approximately 80% of consumers reporting that they frequently or occasionally purchase so-called “green” products.1,2 However, purchasers are confused by the plethora of vague and sometimes misleading terminology used to distinguish more environmentally preferable products in the marketplace. This confusion can lead to purchaser confusion, and even skepticism, about the real meaning and value of greener products.

This UL white paper discusses the importance of objective and verifiable environmental claims for products, and provides guidelines for the development and use of effective and legal claims in the marketing of green products. The paper begins with a review of leading causes of false or misleading environmental claims, known as greenwashing, and details the risks associated with such claims. The white paper then summarizes recommendations for effective environmental claims as detailed in the FTC’s Green Guides. The paper concludes with recommendations for companies and organizations on the benefits of a comprehensive approach to assessing the environmental preferability of their green products.

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