On Going Green

Oct. 11, 2016
After converting to waterborne paints, is it worth it to advertise as a "green shop"?

 I’m considering converting to waterborne paints and marketing my business as a “green shop.” With the challenges the industry has with steering, do you think that marketing effort is worthwhile?

First, it’s great that you’re working toward lowering the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with vehicle refinishing. Waterborne technology has flourished these past few years, and from the many repair facilities I’ve spoken with about their conversions, almost all find success after an initial adjustment period. Anytime the industry can reduce hazards and pollutants while using a quality product is a good thing. I applaud your effort. Second, never mind steering concerns when it comes to the question of marketing your shop as environmentally friendly.

The real question is whether you’re truly operating a green business. Adopting waterborne paint is just one aspect of going green, and saying otherwise could get you in trouble with the law. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun investigating green marketing claims. In June, the FTC brought charges against Kmart, Tender Corporation and Dyna-E International for making “false and unsubstantiated claims that their paper products were biodegradable.”Fundamentally, the “Going Green” slogan indicates an ongoing practice to reduce the carbon footprint of your business. According to FTC rules, companies that advertise Going Green must have a method for documenting their CO2 output.

For collision repair facilities dedicated to going green and marketing the business that way, I recommend a review of the FTC Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. Another tool for greening your business is the free Carbon Footprint Calculator at certifiedgreeninvestment.com

Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.