My, my, my; what a journey Sustainability Marketing has been. I’ve learnt a lot about sustainability, marketing, and myself. Tamar once again proved why she’s one of the most sought after professors for Sauder students. Her arrangement of the course material flowed so well and she clearly provided explanations to all concepts. Her cheery attitude and welcoming personality created an engaging learning environment in which ideas were fostered, allowed to grow, and blossomed. The content itself was thoroughly interesting. Sustainability is my passion and the material covered taught me so much more than I could have hoped. This is my 2nd marketing class and it once again proved to me why I nearly chose marketing as my major. Having a real, tangible impact in the world is an enticing thought. The client challenges taught me so much about who I am and how I operate. Working with real people, hearing their ideas, attempting to navigate their vagueness: it was a great learning experience. Thank you Tamar for exposing me to such an exciting field and I look forward to diving back in after exams!
I love certifications. I believe they can be very useful tools to gauge the environmental and social impacts of products and a great way for a company to communicate their sustainability efforts. However, separating the great certifications from the good ones can be very challenging. After doing copious amounts of research, I came to the following certifications I believe represent the best of the bunch.
EcoLogo was created by Environment Canada in 1988 as a means to help consumers identify products that have a less harmful effect on the environment. Its key benefit is that it’s a multi-attribute, life cycle-based sustainability standard, meaning it takes into account various environmental impacts over the course of the products entire life. It has since been acquired by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) who have used their considerable experience in safety testing to transform the certification into one that utilises rigorous scientific testing and exhaustive auditing to ensure that products comply with their strict standards. Some examples of companies that produce EcoLogo certified products include: Cascades, Attitude, and Nature Clean.
Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard
Cradle to Cradle certification is administered by the not-for-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The concept was famously developed by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart. It takes into account 5 key product impacts: Material Health, Material Reutilisation, Renewable Energy, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness. Its key benefit is that it is a tiered certification, meaning a product can be awarded either a Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum level certification. This creates a platform for continuous product improvement in which companies can strive to improve their level. Some examples of companies that produce Cradle to Cradle certified products include: Method, Mushroom Material, and Herman Miller.
I hate my family. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but they seriously frustrate me, particularly when it comes to buying green products. As someone who cares deeply about sustainability, I get tired of seeing products like Tide, Antibacterial Jergens Soap, and Purex around the house. I try many a time to convince my family to make more responsible purchases but it’s like talking to a bloody brick wall! The last straw was when my mother bought all-purpose cleaner from the dollar store. What the hell mum!?
I sat her down and asked her why she doesn’t buy a more environmentally friendly cleaner. She told me they were too expensive. I countered by telling her that it’s OK to spend more on an environmentally friendly product; we should be supporting companies that produce such products. That didn’t fly, and I anticipated that, so I moved on to my next point. Method cleaner is $1 more expensive than Lysol. Over the products life, that is such a minimal amount. She countered by telling me that a $1 here and there adds up. I understood that but asked her how often she truly purchases home cleaning products. She was still adamant that it was too expensive so I gave up before I lost it.
She’s made strides since then and is now purchasing recycled paper toilet rolls. It is Purex Envirocare but at least it’s a start. EcoLogo certified Cascades is a better choice but I don’t want to push it, it took long enough to get to here. I actually showed my mum a TED Talk the other day in which the speaker talked about sustainability by design and how pretty much all of our modern products are designed to be energy wasters. She told me she learnt a lot from the talk and will try to take more steps to me sustainable. Once again the incredible power of TED Talks come to the rescue!