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Organic Mattress Retailing Series - Part 12: When Is It Not OK to Make Sustainable Sales & Marketing Claims?

Furniture World News Desk on 7/5/2024

by Barry A. Cik


What kinds of sales presentations and marketing claims are the most effective when helping shoppers to purchase organic/natural mattresses? It's my view  that it's crucial to provide them with information that uses clear and concise language, empowering them to make informed decisions and avoid choosing a mattress that fails to meet their needs and expectations.

Let’s start with a discussion of  inappropriate statements and claims retailers and some manufacturers often use to describe organic/natural mattresses.

At the top of this list is the term “non-toxic,” which is an inaccurate description of any mattress component because every material has some degree of toxicity. There is no definitive definition of that term. Said differently, if you were to ask government agencies or physicians to define “(non)-toxic,” you’d get varying answers. That's why it's essential only to present claims about organic/natural mattresses that are tied to explicit definitions. For example, it’s OK to state that an organic mattress does not contain glues and polyurethane foam or that it does include organic cotton and wool.

Likewise, other common claims in the organic/natural mattress marketplace, such as “eco-friendly,” “non-harmful,” and, in particular, “environmental sustainability,” are widespread. Sustainability is an especially broad topic that consumers view as a positive selling point. However, it includes so many small and large sustainable, environmental and circular practices that using it as a general term to describe a company or product can be, at best, unclear and, at worst, misleading or considered greenwashing.

Conclusion: Some retailers and manufacturers may not see a problem with using what I consider questionable terms when promoting organic and healthier mattresses. However, to create a more robust marketplace that empowers consumers with the information they need, it’s crucial to use precise language. This precision provides a sense of security and confidence in products, and it ties organic claims to recognized standards like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the Organic Content Standard (OCS), or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).

Shoppers who are more likely to buy organic/natural are precisely those who will appreciate an approach to organic/natural that makes sense and is defensible.

To read more articles in this series by Barry A. Cik, CLICK HERE.

About Barry A. Cik: Barry A. Cik is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer and founder and technical director of Naturepedic Organic Mattresses & Bedding. Since 2003, Naturepedic has been on a mission to protect the lives of families through safer, healthier organic-based products that have a positive impact on the environment. A brand with purpose, transparency, and ethical practices, Naturepedic is the recipient of many certifications and is highly respected by numerous health and environmental organizations (https://www.naturepedic.com/certifications) and is an EPA Green Power Partner. Since its inception, Naturepedic has been a consistent and generous advocate and supporter of NGOs and nonprofits advocating for the “Right to Know” about what is in the products that people bring into their homes.