TerraVeritas - Sustainability Validation Sciences

By: Terraveritas  09-12-2011
Keywords: Sustainability

Professional purchasers and consumers are beginning to ask for independent proof of environmental claims. Even when companies have independent third-party verification of specific claims, the claims can still be misleading and subject to ‘greenwashing’ charges if the claims are not relevant or meaningful. We bring credibility to our clients’ messaging by assessing Claims and their calculations for internal logic, conservativeness and veracity; reviewing the applicability and conservativeness of all assumptions and data sources; checking the accuracy and reliability of all data sources; considering the impact uncertainty in the data quality; determining if the Claims are verifiable, reasonable and accurate; and assessing the Claim’s language against the US Federal Trade Commission’s and the Canadian Competition Bureau’s guidelines for environmental marketing.

TerraVeritas is uniquely positioned to assess a claim’s language to ensure it is specific, defensible, relevant, and not committing egregious or flagrant ‘greenwashing’. Our assessments include a high level screening of product category impacts, the determination of materially important impacts, and an in-depth review against Industry Canada’s “Environmental claims: A guide for industry and advertisers” (CSA PLUS 14021) and the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims”. We will also conduct a high level “greenwashing” screen of a wide range of marketing materials including, and provide a summary of how the Claim is compliant and/or non-compliant and recommend language and any necessary qualification statements that should be made.

We help our Clients develop the most resonant, accurate and “greenwashing” free claims. To identify current and potential customer needs, we adapt our EcoMarkets Survey methodology, conduct interviews, qualitatively research publicly stated positions & views on related environmental issues, and compile and analyze the results. Our recommendations identify which issues will resonate the most, thereby giving our Clients the ability choose the most appropriate position and Claim. Additional advisory services include how many environmental issues within a single Claim, the pros and cons of using actual data versus developing a model with published data ranges, which life cycle stages should be addressed by a claim, and how to assess the credibility of data sources or testing methods.

We help Clients bring robust and relevant sustainability to their own organization, individual suppliers, or their entire supply chain, with the ultimate goal of continual improvement. We conduct engaging and transparent consultation processes with employees, suppliers and broader stakeholder groups; translate high level sustainability principles into measurable and meaningful criteria and metrics; develop related verification and audit programs (in particular for supply chain aspects); develop all related program materials (e.g. guidance manuals for suppliers, overall audit protocol and process guidelines, verification checklists, etc.); manage audit processes (e.g. selection of qualified and experienced auditors, audit scheduling and surveillance, preparing annual reports); and provide measures for continual improvement through annual supply chain program review and reporting.

Many companies have been self-certifying their claims based on their own internal reviews. We help our Clients gain the independent review required by today’s marketplace by providing independent third-party reporting; assessing whether products or services meet existing “green” standards (such as UL, NSF, CSA, EcoLogo, and GreenSeal); conducting product sampling; maintaining chain-of-custody integrity; facilitating laboratory testing; selecting qualified auditors; arranging for and performing on-site audits; and developing verification programs for multiple suppliers or products.

We help Clients define and understand the issues (those based in science and those in perception) that should inform their specific environmental or sustainability positioning. We determine the risks and opportunities that are presented when goals, science, & perceptions overlap. We deliver this by performing a high level screen of environmental impacts, consult with the Client and its various stakeholders, and analyze the results.

We translate the language of science into a common, memorable, and understandable frame of reference by quantifying the sustainability benefits of Client offerings into everyday terms (e.g. savings in terms of number of product shipments received, savings in terms of number of grocery store trips made). This is a tangible and meaningful way to tell a good story, educate consumers and professional purchasers, and ensure accurate and repeatable measurements of environmental performance. The results can be used for marketing collaterals, trade show handouts, interactive web-based tools and/or contributions to annual reports.

We help our Clients integrate sustainability principles and goals into business strategies, thereby minimizing risk, increasing productivity, reducing manufacturing and operational costs, increasing market share, and improving their competitive position. We address everything from short to long term planning needs and deliver long-term business value. Our services in this area are tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients and reflect their specific marketplace challenges.

Keywords: Sustainability