False or misleading claims (also referred to as ‘greenwashing’) harm confidence among consumers, and result in unfair competition with businesses that do things correctly.
—Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets Rules of Thumb for Honest Claims
Recently, there’s been an increased amount of information and reporting on greenwashing. At first glance, it might seem like it’s something to get alarmed about: that companies are claiming – falsely or without proof – that their products are eco-friendly and ‘green’.
But at ReCarbonX, we think it’s a very good sign!
Because it means producers finally realise that consumers want to buy ethically and sustainably produced products.
Even those producers who do very little or nothing to improve their products’ footprints are trying to catch this wave.
From a company point-of-view, brand reputation really matters, especially in the age of mass media and fake news, when one wrong step or misinterpretation can damage a hard-won good name. The pressure’s on! So when customers call for ‘green’, you’d better be able to reliably prove you’re greener than your competitor!
Yet today’s consumers have a problem. They’re now faced with a tsunami of eco-certifications and green branding.
On product packaging we’re seeing an abundance of leaves and flowers and recycling arrows, and grass-greens and sky-blues and sun-yellows, and it’s all very lovely, of course, to see nature’s colours on the shelves of our supermarkets and stores.
But the average shopper raises the question: what does it really mean?
Having a certification label is one thing; expecting the customer to spend time researching various websites to understand the sustainability claims is another thing altogether.
As the FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) report stated in their Green Guides online material: “[…] sometimes what companies think their green claims mean and what consumers really understand are two different things.”
The reality is that very few consumers have the time to investigate and verify company claims.
Which means that, right now, there’s an opportunity to evolve a new species of labelling, designed to clearly and understandably demonstrate the exact eco-footprint of any product in comparison with industry averages.
ReCarbonX’s blockchain-based ‘umbrella’ tracking system creates an opportunity for those producers who are willing to stand out from the crowd to get a head-start, and to gain consumer support.
The system can be installed along even the most complex production chains, gathering 24/7 data using the most advanced Industry 4.0 technologies and relevant inputs from multiple ERP systems from multiple enterprises, from raw materials, energy supply, logistics and all other steps involved in the creation of the product.
The system calculates any product’s real eco-footprint. Not just a snap-shot of traditional Life-Cycle Analysis, but a real-time, real-life picture that can easily be showcased for clients and consumers by simply scanning a QR Code on your phone.
It’s the dawn of the evolution of communication with consumers built on transparency and trust.
Written by Oksana Pilatova with Libby O’Loghlin