Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

Alternatives to Eco-Labels

Eco-labels are a popular and effective way to certify that a product really is as green as it claims to be. But what are some alternatives to eco-labeling, and what are the benefits of steering away from third-party certification? By Jacquelyn Ottman, with Sarah McGrath

Congratulations! You have a shiny new green product and you want to market it the right way. You worked hard to make it state-of-the-green-art – and you want people to believe that the product really is as green as you claim it to be. You naturally …Read more...


EcoPower to the People

Whom do you trust to make green marketing claims? The answers surprised us. Yesterday at the Sustainable Brands ’09 Conference in Monterey, California, we polled all 350 participants about the notion of trust when it comes to verifying green claims and create standards for products.

We specifically asked these on the cutting edge of green and sustainability leaders and activists who they themselves trusted to this important task, who consumers trusted, and who they thought was best equipped to verify claims and create standards for green products and …Read more...


Eco-Logos: A Double-Edged Sword?

Eco-logos are all the rage - but how valuable are they as a green marketing tool? Are there some hidden risks that warrant a second look? Let's consider the three ingredients of an effective marketing logo - green or otherwise - and their implications for the savvy eco-marketer.

Here are the three factors at play:

1. Recognizability. Eco-logos can reinforce green messages, a welcome benefit for sure. But of the myriad eco-logos on the market, only a few are known to consumers. They consist of the, chasing arrows recycling logo, …Read more...


Apples Versus Oranges: To Compare or Not?

I received an email this morning from a frantic manufacturer of laptops: "We need to finalize a green marketing claim for an ad we're preparing. Our laptops use less energy than desktop computers. Should we make the claim? Help! We don't want to be accused of greenwash!" (Note: Company name not included and category has been changed for confidentiality - but you'll get my points!)

On the surface a comparative green marketing claim such as this one looks pretty innocuous. However, dig a little deeper and you find some issues.


How Far, Pray Tell?

How far have your products traveled from manufacturing plant or farmer's field to market? Perhaps it's time to tell your consumer. In a marketplace where more and more consumers want to know their carbon footprint, and the marketers themselves are often confused about how to craft their sustainability messages, meaningful, easy-to-understand information is at a premium. Too many think, for instance, that bamboo (which travels 6,000 miles to get to your floor) and fair trade bananas are going to "save the planet," when the truth is that locally procured alternatives …Read more...


It Isn’t Always So “Friendly” Being Green

Don’t join the growing number of marketers throwing around phrases like "environmentally friendly,” “Earth friendly," and "ozone friendly." While such claims have a calming ring, they can be very misleading. The simple fact is, there is no such thing as an "eco-friendly" product; all use resources and create waste to some degree. To avoid such confusion in the marketplace, the Federal Trade Commission introduced its Environmental Marketing Guidelines in 1992. Some key takeaways:

—Be specific. Marketers are liable not only for inaccurate statements but also for consumers' misinterpretations of …Read more...


Sustainable Branding in the 21st Century

sustainable brands image

Just got back from the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference, in Monterey, California. Over 550 people gathered to hear about the latest trends, see the leaders in sustainability speak, and learn about new tools to conduct their business in a better way.

I had the honor of keynoting the conference. Several of the points I made were iterated by many of the speakers and by participants via their insightful questions from the floor. So there's a lot of consensus out there about what …Read more...


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