The majority of Germans are against “greenwashing”

Quelle: obs/PEFC Deutschland e. V.

Source: obs/PEFC Deutschland e. V.

Attempts in PR and marketing to tick the ecology and sustainability box should use watertight evidence. This is the opinion of 80.1% of Germans according to a study by the Association for Consumer Research (GfK), on behalf of PEFC Deutschland e.V. Four out of five citizens consider independently awarded certificates proof of sustainability. One of these certificates is the PEFC seal of sustainably-produced wood and paper products.

This desire for transparency by those who were surveyed shows that they clearly disagree with the concept of “greenwashing”. This is when companies claim to be fair-trade or to produce goods sustainably, without being externally tested for this. “Questions posed by the critical consumer are often dismissed with company-generated ficticious logos and self-appointed certificates”, complained Dirk Teegelbekkers. As head of the forest certification organization, PEFC Deutschland e.V., he has observed the wood, packaging, and paper markets for many years. In many areas of the industry he still sees a lack of commitment to clear criteria and independent controls. “Sustainability requires more than just doing what isn’t expressly forbidden. Especially in the wood industry, company-independent certificates are required in order to guarantee that the raw materials and the products come from well-managed woods.” In light of the fact that year after year 13 million hectares of forest fall victim to deforestation, self-monitoring by a company alone doesn’t quite cut it.

According to PEFC (www.pefc.de) , their certificate guarantees sustainable origin of the wood in question and rules out any illegal sources. This way, PEFC can not only vouch for the wood, but also the entire chain of production by consulting independent experts, like the TÜV. Every certified company has their own reference number, making them part of a transparent production chain stemming from the forestry contractor to the printer. The PEFC seal is a symbol of this watertight proof – according to the association – and protects the company from the accusation of using illegally sourced wood. A dedicated approach “in black and white” to communicating corporate values, just like what the surveyed citizens asked for.

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