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An Official USDA Eco-Friendly Product Seal Is Being Approved For Green Products

January 20, 2011 16:13 by Daniel
            

It's official: the United States Department of Agriculture announced this week that they have developed and approved a seal to be imprinted on any products which are deemed "eco-friendly". Since people are starting to care more and more about making eco-friendly purchases, the USDA decided that the use of the "USDA Certified Biobased Product" label would help make their decisions much easier.

In addition to the official seal, the label will also include a percentage of how much of the product is made from corn, soy, and other renewable resources. Companies will need to meet a minimum requirement of eco-friendly standards in order to receive the benefit of the USDA label.

The USDA eco-friendly label is set to launch this spring, and is already responsible for the endorsement of 20,000 biobased products in the US and over 100,000 "green" jobs. The creation of the label comes as part of the USDA BioPreferred program which was created by the 2002 Farm Bill. As the label gets gradually worked into consumer products, it will be used on all types of items including household cleaners and skincare products.

So what makes the USDA Certified Biobased Product label so important for both businesses and consumers? Well, it does several things. First and most importantly, it creates a protection for consumers that guards against "greenwashing". No longer can businesses advertise their products as being eco-friendly by using deceptive marketing tactics and bait-and-switch schemes.

Without the clearance of the USDA label, businesses can be certain that consumers with an environmental attitude will no longer be purchasing their products. It forces companies that are hedging their bets on "going green" to either make the full effort to use renewable materials, or risk going out of business.

Before the introduction of the new eco-friendly label, the term "eco-friendly" had an arbitrary meaning that some consumers interpreted differently, and other people did not understand at all. Now that the USDA has gotten involved, they have established a uniform system of measuring eco-friendliness that consumers can trust.

Much like the Food and Drug Administration approves foods and medicines for consumption, the USDA will ensure consumers that the product they are purchasing is everything that the company says it is.

The USDA label will also act as a catalyst for the "going green" movement. As the government is setting the bar for the new eco-friendly standard, businesses don't want to get left behind. The label acts as free marketing by any company that has it, with the United States government acting as an official endorsement.

Companies know that regardless of the political overtones in the country, people will always trust their government when it comes to things like the inspection of products and services.

Make sure to be on the lookout for the USDA eco-friendly label once it comes out this spring. By buying products which have the official label, you can take part in perpetuating the "going green" movement and give your money to the companies that deserve it.

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Some Great Tips for "Green" Branding

January 12, 2011 15:02 by Daniel
            

The "going green" movement continues to build momentum, and companies are quickly realizing that they better become eco-friendly now or risk losing business. Plenty of new companies are starting out as a "green" brand; older companies want to re-brand their products to be more eco-friendly. Both types of companies want the whole world to know that they are "going green", but what is the best way to get the word out to the public?

There are dozens of ways that your company can achieve "green" branding - you just have to know some of the do's and do-not's. Below are two of the most important ways that you can successful brand or re-brand your product "green", along with one very big practice that you should avoid at all costs.

1. Use As Many Advertising Outlets as Possible

The first thing you want to do is focus your "green" branding efforts on as many fronts as you can manage. Depending on the size of your company, you might have an entire department to develop your "green" branding strategy, or you might have to do it all yourself.

You want to get the word out to your existing customers through traditional means - this could mean anything from sending a direct mailing to the homes of your customers announcing your focus on eco-friendliness, to encouraging customers to try your "green" products with a promotional discount. Depending on the nature of your business, you will know the avenue in which your customers feel most comfortable being contacted.

Also understand that in the 21st century, the Internet is king. Never before has there existed a way where businesses can reach such a large amount of people in such a short period of time. Since both new and existing customers surf the web, you can accomplish "green" branding through a variety of ways. First, you may want to consider re-designing your website to feature more eco-friendly themes and environmental news. Starting a blog devoted to "going green" is a great way to show your customers that your concern for the environment is authentic (Use the Motivators Go Green Blog as a good example to get started).

Social media is also huge when it comes to green branding opportunities. You can readily update your Facebook Fan page with news about your "green" developments, or use your company Twitter account to update customers on the progress of your company, and other eco-friendly news.

2. Use the Right Eco-Friendly Promotional Products

To give your "green" branding the extra push that it needs to stick in people's minds, consider distributing some eco-friendly promotional products to your customers. These promotional items are either made from recycled materials, or designed from materials that are biodegradable for the future. Almost any promotional items that you have used in the past can be found in their eco-friendly form.

The point of the eco-friendly items is to demonstrate up front to your target market that your company has made a commitment to conserve natural resources and limit the amount of pollution that they put into the water and atmosphere as a result of production.

Recycled Cotton Tote Bag made from 100% recycled cotton

Some of the most popular eco-friendly promotional products either have a useful function, or attract people's attention because of their unique materials or manufacturing. For instance, eco-friendly apparel is great because it is made from organic materials and provides warmth for your customers. On the other hand, people seem to be drawn to promotional items made of bamboo. Since bamboo is so durable and regenerates so quickly, it is considered an eco-friendly material to use. Incorporating these products into your "green" branding shows that you are serious about "going green".

3. Don't Greenwash

Now that we have made note of two of the most important ways to generate "green" branding, we must focus on the most crucial thing to NOT do: greenwashing. For those that have not heard of greenwashing before, it is the process of deceiving your clients into believing your product is eco-friendly through the use of marketing and public relations tactics. Greenwashing is running rampant as companies see the potential for profit in the "going green" movement.

Companies who "greenwash" their products often overemphasize the eco-friendly qualities of their products by highlighting them in exaggerating ways. This might mean changing the color of their packaging to the color green, or claiming that their product is eco-friendly when less than 10% of the materials used to make it are post-consumer recycled or biodegradable.

An example of a "greenwashed" billboard

The bottom line with greenwashing is that consumers are starting to catch on to the fact that companies take advantage of eco-friendliness in some scenarios. You might be able to get away with this practice for a short period of time, but in the long term you are going to get burned. People appreciate honesty, and when a company lies to their customers it is very difficult to recover from that. So take the advice here - avoid greenwashing at all costs and develop your "green" branding the honest way.

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The Children of Bob Marley Are Set to Launch a New Eco-Friendly Product Line

January 4, 2011 16:04 by Daniel
            

What do you think of when you hear the name Bob Marley? Usually, great music and good times come to mind. Maybe you even consider reggae culture or Jamaican heritage. What you probably won't think about is eco-friendly products. Well, that is exactly what Bob Marley's kids are creating.

Set to launch later this year, the Toronto-based Marley & Co. will feature a wide variety of products which are dedicated to protecting the environment. The Marley children, including reggae musician Ziggy Marley created the website marleyandco.com to advertise and sell their products.

The Marley & Co. product line will feature all different types of items as you can imagine. Some of the featured products include headphones made from hemp, soy beans, and aluminum, clothing without the use of synthetic materials, and eco-friendly coffee grown from a sustainable farm in Jamaica.

Bob Marley's son Ziggy was quoted as saying that they did not start the company to be "brand slappers". Rather, they wanted to start a company from the ground up that reflected the nature of the Marley name. Bob Marley would have absolutely supported the message behind the Marley & Co. brand, and that is why his kin has chosen to go through with it.

For an eco-friendly products company, Bob Marley is definitely a great face. He is recognizable, a liberal thinker, and a born leader. Marley has been used to brand certain products in the past, but they were never for a cause as great as this.

When Marley & Co. is launched, definitely consider browsing the selection of products they have to offer. You will be supporting a good cause, and Bob would have been proud.

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