The cycle of each awarding procedure for the GREEN BRANDS of a country is of two years long.
That means that the quality seals awarded also have a maximum validity period of two years.
The biennial procedure is concluded with a closing ceremony in the respective country to honour all the awarded brands.
In addition to the brands, a GREEN BRANDS personality from the respective country is also honoured.
In AUSTRIA, the first procedure was concluded in November 2012 and now we are already in the fifth procedure, which will be concluded in November 2020.
In GERMANY, the first trial was concluded in November 2013 and we are now also in the fifth trial of GREEN BRANDS Germany, which will be concluded in November 2021.
The first proceedings of the GREEN BRANDS Czech Republic, GREEN BRANDS Hungary and GREEN BRANDS Switzerland will be concluded in October / November 2020.
The processes in Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria will start in autumn 2020 and are expected to be concluded in November 2022.
The awarding procedure involves three important phases:
Nomination – the first step to the GREEN BRAND award
The nominations are made in a variety of ways to ensure the broadest possible participation of all brand sizes and industries in our process (companies / products / food / service providers / associations):
A study carried out in cooperation with the renowned market research institute Ipsos identified around 62 different categories of those brands which, in the opinion of those surveyed, are perceived to be environmentally friendly, ecological and sustainable and are therefore “green brands”.
Several small and medium-sized companies/brands have for years/decades committed themselves to an exclusively ecological and sustainable ideology and implement this ”par excellence” in their daily business life. They are less prominent to the consumer/consumer due to their “weak” brand management and are therefore rarely/not mentioned in surveys. Therefore, nomination by NGOs or interest groups is considered very important and valuable.
Through their own methods, our media partners can organise or make nominations by their own means (including through their subscribers).
It is understood that the jury members can of course nominate companies/ products/ services/ associations and also individuals.
This prevents that “only” the big, important and “well known” brands profit, but not those medium-sized companies that possibly implement and practice the GREEN BRANDS philosophy much better, more intensively and longer.
Awarded GREEN BRANDS
Already awarded GREEN BRANDS may also nominate companies/products, as they are proven to know and understand who is suitable to successfully pass the procedure in “their” league.
Validation – the heart of the process
The nominated brands are notified and invited to participate in the validation process.
The participating companies will receive the corresponding questionnaire forms to fill out for the validation process. The questionnaires have been developed in collaboration with the international, scientific sustainability institute SERI (Vienna), the autonomous consulting company for climate protection and sustainability ALLPLAN, ClimatePartner Austria (Vienna) and the members of the jury. The validations are checked and evaluated by ALLPLAN/SERI – including the supporting documents and the certifications. Random on-site verifications will be carried out for the information provided by the participants and detailed queries regarding any unclear information will be made.
The evaluation assesses the performance level of the participant brand on the “GREEN BRANDS Index”. Every participant will receive the evaluation containing the transparent ratings. Only when the evaluated brand reaches the benchmark of 51 % it can be awarded the GREEN BRAND after the final decision made by the jury.
Jury decision – the final step
The Jury decides upon all the brands that meet or significantly surpass the required level on the “GREEN BRANDS Index “. The jury has a final veto right and can approve or reject the honouring of a brand as GREEN BRAND. That means even brands that meet the specified level on the “GREEN BRANDS Index” can be rejected by veto of the jury – or those that only roughly reach the level can be approved by the Jury. The key factors here amongst others are current developments and projects of the respective brands.
All the awarded brands receive extensive services and benefits.
Various expert opinions document the value of the GREEN BRANDS procedure:
“So far, there are only a few governmental eco-labels. Rather, more and more private organizations are trying to fill this gap. Certificates such as organic, MSC, FSC seals are good approaches to inform consumers about production guidelines and to support them in consuming in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. However, the acquisition of these labels is often expensive and, because of the complex certification procedures involved, it is more beneficial to the industry than to the SMEs. Given this background, GREEN BRANDS is committed to a serious, affordable and communicable alternative that has the potential to bring light into the jungle of sustainability labels.
When developing the standards for “green brands” (GREEN BRANDS), one thought was at the forefront: it is not just about individual criteria such as climate friendliness or the absence of certain pollutants. As important as these aspects are: truly green brands must face the ecological challenge in a broader sense. „
“Making environmental sustainability visible”
For many years we at SERI have been thinking about how companies can inform their customers about the resource consumption associated with the manufacture of products. And we do not only have “non-renewable resources” in mind, but also “renewables”. After all, the area on which they grow is limited and we have to use them carefully. The same applies to fresh, usable water: Water, too, is constantly regenerating itself in the global water cycle – but like good soil, it is limited in total and must not be overused.
This is exactly what GREEN BRANDS takes care of: the validation process asks how companies deal with natural resources in all important categories. These efforts are important and it is to be hoped that the state and the EU will soon set standards here. As long as this does not happen, private initiatives like GREEN BRANDS are needed. As an independent, international brand marketing organisation, they contribute to transparency in our “green” markets and also help to ensure that consumer confidence is not gambled away by “greenwashing”.
When developing the standards it was particularly important to SERI that all companies/brands that want to join the GREEN BRANDS family can prove that they are really serious about ecology. However, the criteria should not only give ecological “directional security”, but should also be able to be fulfilled by small companies without losing quality.
It is particularly important for smaller companies and retailers to look beyond the fence of their own company and pay attention to the “ecological rucksacks” that products cause. Ecologically and socially relevant is everything that a company does with its value chain. The GREEN BRANDS method used today is an important step on this path, which must be followed year after year. We consider it conceivable to integrate social and economic criteria into the process in the future.
“Environmental sustainability must become mainstream”
We know from experience that sustainability is different in small companies than in large ones and that the structural sustainability of small companies is often not sufficiently appreciated and is therefore not really included in the evaluation. These companies often lack the experience and resources to successfully market their own brand and access to the media. However, it was precisely these small companies that, as pioneers, did an incredible job of sowing the many small, green plants that are now springing up everywhere against all odds.
To support such companies, to bring them in front of the curtain and help them make further and deeper contributions to real sustainability – not only in the ecological but also in the social environment – is one of the greatest challenges of our time. It is a contribution to initiating and spreading the profound change towards sustainability. GREEN BRANDS makes a particularly valuable contribution to this. Further steps by companies, consumers and politics have to follow”.
GREEN BRANDS awards companies and products that are sustainable beyond others. They are lighthouses that point in the direction we all need to move in: Society, business, consumers – and globally.
I particularly welcome the fact that the initiative pays particular attention to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. GREEN BRANDS is one of many other projects and instruments that serve a common goal.
With its seal of approval, GREEN BRANDS makes commitment visible where entrepreneurial action assumes social responsibility in an exemplary manner. Sustainability needs role models. This is another reason why initiatives like GREEN BRANDS are important: they make role models visible.
“The GREEN BRANDS quality seal honors the commitment to climate protection, sustainability and ecological responsibility of brands, products, services and companies that demonstrably practice ecological sustainability and thus deserve our recognition.
The quality seal is therefore a decisive key to market success. The awarded GREEN BRANDS represent a central value of a company, because they make a performance or a product unique and unmistakable. This is in particular is important for small and medium-sized companies, as they can rarely afford to compete on price. Discounts and savings schemes lead to short-term success, but are not suitable for sustainable, healthy growth. This is where the attractiveness and emotionality of the brand for the customer will be decisive in the future. Green marketing must be authentic: Only when green brands and products as such are backed up by facts can a customer’s green image be truly credible.
The GREEN BRANDS award is important to me because it gives these companies a strong motivation to continue to meet their responsibility for more environmental protection and sustainability in a future-oriented manner. This award makes their social commitment comprehensible, noticeable and tangible for third parties outside the company.
With this in mind, I congratulate all the award-winning companies that have set out on the sustainable path”.
“For consumers, suppliers and other stakeholders, the commitment of green companies is particularly evident through their socially and environmentally sound products. The brand, the hallmark of the product, is therefore an important instrument for publicly highlighting the company’s ecological efforts. Anyone who merely puts on a green coat is immediately exposed. Interested consumers take a close look at how seriously companies actually take their sustainability strategy.
An initiative such as GREEN BRANDS supports this development by honouring brands that act in a particularly climate-friendly, environmentally friendly and sustainable manner and are therefore “green brands”.
The GREEN BRANDS seal of approval is awarded to companies, products, initiatives and personalities who credibly and demonstrably commit themselves to the sustainable development of our economic and lifestyle habits, the energy turnaround and climate protection, implement this ecologically sustainable strategy and exemplify social responsibility to others. This leads to a high recognition value and makes it easier for consumers to identify those brands that stand for environmental and climate protection, resource conservation and sustainability.
GREEN BRANDS has an outstanding importance for me. The customer knows that he can rely on sustainable quality. And he has a positive feeling when buying and using them.
With GREEN BRANDS, an important and unique certificate has been created that enables companies to present their “green brands” to the public, thereby increasing their sales and at the same time making a valuable contribution to the change towards a sustainable society. This is why the German Federal Working Group for Environmentally Conscious Management supports this organisation to the best of its ability”.