As the conversation has shifted from “Is Global Warming for real?” to “I need to make changes in my purchase decisions” consumers are being offered an array of products from food to housing that have labels that claim they are energy efficient, biodegradable, organic, eco-friendly or otherwise claim to be green choice we should be making when we buy that new car, new house, or new blouse.
So, how do consumers (i.e. all of us) make informed decisions? Well to paraphrase what mother always said: we need to maintain our standards. And the standard in this case is sustainable. Wearing o’ the green label is nothing but greenwash if it is not backed up with a guarantee that the product meets the standards of sustainability:
“Sustainable products are those products providing environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health, welfare & environment over their full commercial cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to final disposition, providing for the needs of future generations.”
The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) is a 501 (c) of leading environmental groups, governments, and companies working to achieve 90% sustainable products market penetration and stop irreversible climate change, by 2015.
MTS has developed certification standards aptly named SMaRT (sustainable materials rating technology) that cover 24 criteria of pollution reduction minimums, reporting and labeling requirements, and the certification process.
You can download a pdf written by Mary Hunt, SMaRT Sustainable Standards 101, which is exactly what the title suggests: a virtual introductory course about SMaRT Sustainable Standards. Its also available on slideshare. I guarantee you will be a whole lot smarter after you read it.
As I have mentioned previously, MTS has recently launched a blog, Smart Solutions for Sustainable Business and there are many contributors such as Randy Moorhead from Philips Electronics, Bob Bailey from Fireman’s Fund and Denny Darragh of Forbo Flooring Systems writing about the way their respective company’s have incorporated SMaRT standards into their products and services. When they say “green” they mean it and can prove it!