Environmental Claims: Beware!

Environmental Claims: Beware!

By: Lee Boyland We’ve all heard of “eco-friendly” or “green products,” but what do these statements really mean? The truth is, they don’t always mean much. As designers and as consumers, we need to be savvy about searching for and selecting truly environmentally friendly products. So, what do you need to look for? There are three levels of environmental claims – ranging from the least reliable to the most reliable: 1st Party Environmental Claims: These are made within the organization or manufacturer who produces the product but are not compared to a standard. They may be as vague as “environmentally friendly” or “low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)” 2nd Party Environmental Claims: These claims are made outside of the organization or manufacturer, but are not free from conflict of interest. They may include CRI or Cradle to Cradle 3rd Party Environmental Claims: Third party claims are most reliable, and are independent of the organization or manufacturer. They include FSC, Green Seal and NSF. As designers and consumers, we need to beware of vague, too-good-to-be-true claims. In order to make a more informed decision about an organization’s or manufacturer’s “environmental claim,” boldly ask for certifications and data on their products. This information was taken from a CEU called “Environmental Claims” provided by Bentley Prince Street. For information on guides for various types of environmentally friendly products, visit: Bureau of Consumer Protection

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