Consumers are shifting their loyalties more and more to products that are more transparent when it comes to ingredient claims. Euromonitor found 64 percent of consumers try to have a daily positive impact on the environment and 53 percent said buying green or environmentally friendly products were an important factor in purchasing decisions.
“In the United States alone, sales of greener cleaning products more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, from $303 million to $640 million, suggesting that future growth of such products will outpace that of non-green cleaning products,” according to UL’s Whitepaper Increasing Transparency of Environment and Health Claims for Cleaning Products.
To help ensure consumers get the information they are looking for, UL acquired GoodGuide in 2012. At the time, it was a little more than a list of products deemed safe for consumers; today it is a larger opportunity for UL to educate consumers on health risks as well as what ingredients makeup the end product.
Lou DeSorbo, Vice President and General Manager, UL Information & Insights, and his team believe in the benefit this application provides, which is to help consumers with the information they need to make better shopping decisions and choose products that contain ingredients with fewer health concerns.
Following UL’s acquisition, the GoodGuide platform was revitalized and is now providing improved information — its fully interactive website and mobile application provide a high-level of transparency between product manufacturers and the consumer, in addition to an ever-growing list of products. The overall goal is to encourage retailers and manufacturers to be transparent and help consumers make more informed decisions when purchasing products.
“When the average person thinks about buying safe products, their mind tends to be made by what they hear through word of mouth and read in the media. UL is trying to change that mindset, especially when it comes to products, by providing improved information,” says DeSorbo.
GoodGuide ratings are based on an evaluative health algorithm that was developed by leading experts in the fields of environmental and health sciences. Each rating primarily reflects an assessment of the ingredients in a product. The GoodGuide platform also allows consumers to provide product comments, read ingredient lists, and rate and review the scorecard system that compares products with one another. The guide creates a more level playing field for small and large companies by providing an active list of safe products for consumer purchase.
To help educate the consumer, beginning the second quarter of 2017, GoodGuide will launch a promotional partnership with Good Housekeeping Magazine and its Green Seal, which was developed to help consumers to sift through the confusion of “green” claims on hundreds of products on store shelves. The collaboration is expected improve UL’s bandwidth by increasing the quantity of products available to consumers with product mentions co-sponsored in the magazine. With the GoodGuide app and the Green Seal, UL hopes to expand the average consumer’s product knowledge to allow them to make smarter product-buying decisions. GoodGuide also plans to introduce more product information in the areas of electronics, furniture, textiles and more.
Because consumers are more conscientious about the health impacts from their buying decisions, DeSorbo says that the app will continue to evolve over the next several years by expanding product listings and working with other UL platforms to more easily create value for participants throughout the entire supply chain. The WERCSmart® Platform, for example, requires suppliers/manufacturers to provide basic chemical and formulation information that is used to derive results for business processes by all major retailers. This also feeds the scoring features on GoodGuide for consumers. The final result is for GoodGuide to be one platform that moves between suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers, providing sustainability and transparency.