Getting Ready to Ride the Green Wave
Prime Line is similarly innovating—its Web site features an “Eco-Responsible” promise and labeling system, which categorizes products according to their environmental attributes. The system includes a numbering scale that identifies product features such as “recycled,” “bioplastic,” “reduced material” and “reusable.”
“We’ve numbered [items] to provide an easy … reference system for distributors and end-users to read when they look at our products,” said Lederer. For example, a product with a one, a seven and an eight next to it means it contains recycled content, uses greener material substitution and was produced using alternative energy. “We’re not saying, ‘This is green, buy it!,’ and you don’t know what you’re buying, or why it matters. Instead, we’re telling you why it may matter to you, but you decide for yourself,” he explained.
On the soft goods side, Dri-Duck’s first entry into sustainable product offerings was organic cotton. Dri-Duck has a team that researches all types of products, trims, dyes and processes that are available in the marketplace, while another team is responsible for the design of new and innovative products that can be sold in the promotional market.
How can a distributor be certain his supplier is the “real deal” with regard to environmental strictures? “The most important thing is to make sure that the proper certifications are in place and that they are traceable,” answered Groves, who said that claims can be made, but the distributor must ask to see the certificates to ensure “truth in labeling” is being practiced.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is not just to ask if they are labeling/representing their products correctly, it is imperative to see documents,” she declared. As part of its green image and practice, Dri-Duck belongs to the Organic Exchange, Organic Trade Association and Bridging the Gap (a local sustainability agency)—and the company is also considering joining 1% For the Planet or a similar program in which Dri-Duck can choose where profit contributions should be channeled.