The reasoning for having a licensing program, Planet Ark Endorsed, to promote environmental products and services, is inherent in Planet Ark's Memorandum of Association. Planet Ark aims:
"To motivate and assist people and businesses to make simple and positive changes to their attitudes and actions in ways which will contribute to the safeguarding of the global environment."
Planet Ark only licenses its logo on quality products and services that, through their use, reduce our impact on the environment. This, in turn, helps to reduce the impact our 21st century lifestyle is having on the wellbeing of the planet, humanity and our fellow species.
The objectives Planet Ark aims to achieve from our licensing program are:
To inform people how to live a more sustainable lifestyle in a practical way, without unduly compromising their way of life.
To demonstrate that environmental benefits can often be achieved through simple purchasing decisions and other behaviour changes. Through this process consumers get increasingly educated about the many ways in which they can reduce their day-to- day impact upon the environment.
To move people into environmentally preferred purchasing decisions, which naturally involves the increased sales of environmental products.
To provide third party credibility of the environmental bona fides of the licensed products and therefore assist in making the products commercially successful.
To generate a growing revenue stream to allow Planet Ark to increase the success of its environmental campaigns. This, in turn, raises the impact and awareness of Planet Ark, which should lead to more product sales - a true win-win for all concerned.
- To demonstrate to the business community that environmentally responsible products are economically viable, thus encouraging the development and distribution of more ‘green' products.
Our endorsement is exclusive in each product category, as we understand the commercial imperative of seeking market advantage via environmental product design.
Evaluation of Products - an overview of how Planet Ark evaluates products.
The product evaluation process employs an interrelated evaluation method. Briefly, this entails each product being evaluated across four areas:
Environment - we are looking for reduced product impact on the environment from cradle to grave. We look at the totality - everything from where the ingredients are derived to the processing, packaging and disposal.
Health - we are looking for the safest possible outcome for the users' health. With an estimated one in six people now having some form of allergy or environmental illness such as asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities and skin or food reactions, protecting personal health is becoming a prominent environmental issue.
Quality - the product needs to perform to the standard required by most people living in our modern society.
Cost - while recognizing the constraints imposed in the areas above we seek cost efficient products to give the maximum value and therefore make the product accessible to the widest possible market.
This interrelated process can perhaps best be described diagrammatically. Each product is evaluated along four axes, with the strength of the product's endorsement suitability represented by the area created by the internal dotted lines.
These areas of evaluation then lead to appropriate detailed guidelines, which vary depending on the product category. For example, a cleaning product has a different set of guidelines to a compact fluorescent light bulb. As an example, please see Appendix 1 for the information required relating to cleaning and personal care product categories.
Auditing of environmental claims/benefits
It is in the interests of the brand reputation of all parties that environmental claims/benefits be audited. With the prevalence of ‘greenwash' the ACCC has taken a strong enforcement stance to protect an increasingly sceptical public who has seen ‘green' become the new ‘black' in the marketing of products and services in Australia.
During evaluation, and when considering logo usage, Planet Ark refers to ACCC guidelines as well as various international standards in this area.
ISO 14020 - Environmental labels and declarations - General principles
ISO 14021 - Environmental labels and declarations - Self-declared environmental claims
(Type II environmental labelling)
ISO 14024 - Environmental labels and declarations - Type I environmental labelling - Principles and procedures
HB 207.1 - Environmental management - Environmental labels and declarations - Type III environmental declarations
Appendix 1 - Example product category
Planet Ark Endorsed Licensing Program
Minimum information required for cleaning and personal care products
Complete listing of ingredients with full chemical names and CAS no's - Ingredients should be shown in order of concentration preferably. It is also required that these ingredients be shown on the product packaging though simplified names for ease of consumer understanding are allowed.
Source of each ingredient eg plant, mineral, petrochemical.
Purpose of each ingredient.
Toxicity data especially relative to intended use for eg skin application for a moisturiser.
Evidence of biodegradability for the complete product as per a recognised standard such as AS4351 or equivalent international standards.
B) Packaging Requirements
For both the product and outer packaging and any labels please state the type of material the packaging is made from.
For all packaging state the minimum % of recycled material the packaging contains.
For all paper and cardboard packaging state the source of all non-recycled content.
For plastics please identify the type of plastic used and also whether all components (i.e. container, cap) have a plastic resin identification code to allow for easy identification for recycling
C) Product & packaging claims
Planet Ark has the following requirements for all environmental & health claims for products endorsed whether the claims be made on packaging or on other marketing material such as brochures and websites.
That all environmental claims be verified. Where recognised standards or procedures exist, they should be tested to those recognised Australian or international standards.
For health claims where no standard exists the basis of making the health claim needs to be stated.