What is sustainability certification and why is it valuable?
Water quality is a hot topic for consumers these days, but as we all know, consumers not only want products to be safe for themselves and their families, they also want products that are safe for themselves and their families. harmless to the environment. There is no better way to communicate to consumers that a water treatment product is environmentally friendly than through third party certification.
What is sustainability certification?
The Water Quality Association (WQA) Sustainability Certification Program is for forward-thinking manufacturers who want to demonstrate to consumers and retailers that their products are made with the needs of people and the planet in mind. Driven by a combination of societal and economic forces, WQA sustainability certification offers manufacturers a way to improve their bottom line and increase profits by connecting to environmentally conscious markets while helping to reduce their footprint. ecological. Its mission is to ensure that products and the companies that make them continue to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
Sustainability makes sense from a business perspective. According to an article in Forbes magazine, 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand. To add, a recent IBM Consumer Report says 77% of consumers say it’s at least moderately important that brands are sustainable and environmentally friendly. A large majority of these environmentally conscious consumers are millennials, 53% of whom say they are willing to give up a brand to buy eco-friendly products. Since 2014, global sustainable and environmentally friendly investments have increased by 68% and now exceed $ 30 trillion. This is only the beginning as these trends are expected to continue as millennials gain in purchasing power.
What is the value of sustainability certification?
When it comes to water treatment products, the WQA seal of sustainability gives access to this growing market. Once a product is certified, a company can use the seal in packaging and marketing materials, which not only helps the product differentiate itself, but also communicates to consumers that the sustainability claims made are trustworthy. . By using the WQA sustainability seal, a company can leverage an environmentally friendly branding image and demonstrate its commitment to sustainability.
This is becoming more and more evident as more and more products are purchased online. The Conference Board on Global Consumer Confidence has determined that sustainable shoppers in the United States are 67% more likely to be digitally engaged. Even the non-environmentally conscious consumer conducts extensive research before purchasing a product, according to a recent IBM Consumer Report. Not only should a product stand out in the store, it should also stand out online.
The WQA Sustainability Certification gives companies an edge by reaching the digitally engaged buyer through the WQA Certified Web Lists. Getting listed gives a business more exposure to web searches, while also adding more credibility to a business’s sustainability efforts.
There are also hidden benefits of pursuing sustainability certification. Working to reduce a company’s ecological footprint requires improving the efficiency of the entire production process. This directly affects the bottom line. As such, sustainability is more of an investment than an expense.
What is the product certification process?
The certification process itself is similar to that of an audit. It includes product lifecycle analysis, self-assessment and final assessment by WQA sustainability auditors. Manufacturers must first meet the specific prerequisites of the standards.
These prerequisites include testing against a material safety standard; however, this requirement is easily met if you are certified by an ANS accredited certification body. The investment that a company has already made to obtain certification of its products can be applied to WQA sustainability standards, reducing costs and eliminating redundancy.
The material safety precondition, along with other standard requirements, ensure that all major environmental hot spots identified by the life cycle assessment are addressed. Therefore, when the company obtains the WQA sustainability label, consumers can be sure that the manufacturer has taken effective measures to reduce the environmental footprint of this product.
Sustainability certification gives companies credit for what they are already doing to comply with local regulations, such as monitoring air emissions and disposal of manufacturing by-products, so that achieving sustainability certification is probably easier than many imagine. Because WQA uses a points-based system that allows companies to choose from other potential sustainability initiatives to comply with the standard, this is not a one-size-fits-all process.
Finally, a sustainable development certified company is one step ahead of the sustainable development legislation and regulations. With growing global concern for the environment, governments are moving forward with regulations for sustainable processes, such as the disposal of manufacturing by-products. Certification to sustainability standards now will help a business strive towards sustainable practices that will put it ahead of related regulations.
Besides the obvious benefits for the planet and consumers, sustainability certification is invaluable for a business. Key benefits include the ability for the company to access the growing market of environmentally conscious consumers, a head start on potential regulations, visibility as an industry leader, and increased efficiency in the process. production, which can reduce operating expenses.
As sustainability is now a determining factor in consumers’ brand choice, it is essential that companies act and focus on sustainable practices not only to be profitable, but also to protect people and the planet.