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Tracing the Rise and Use of Labeling Products as "Made with Renewable Energy"

April 1, 2012

Title: Made with Renewable Energy: How and Why Companies are Labeling Consumer Products
Authors: Deborah Baker Brannan, Jenny Heeter, and Lori Bird, NREL

Green marketing—a marketing strategy highlighting the environmental attributes of a product, often through the use of labels or logos—dates back to the 1970s. It did not proliferate until the 1990s, however, when extensive market research identified a rapidly growing group of consumers with a heightened concern for the environment. This group expressed not only a preference for green products but also a willingness to pay a premium for such products. This report discusses the experience of companies that communicate to consumers that their products are "made with renewable energy." For this report, representatives from 20 companies were interviewed and asked to discuss their experiences marketing products produced using renewable energy. The first half of this report provides an overview of the type of companies that have labeled products or advertised them as being made with renewable energy. It also highlights the avenues companies use to describe their use of renewable energy. The second half of the report focuses on the motivations for making on-product claims about the use of renewable energy and the challenges in doing so.

—Jim Leyshon