GoGreen Portland is thrilled to welcome back Jason Graham-Nye, Co-Founder, gDiapers, to the speaker roster for the upcoming conference on October 16. Jason is an original speaker of the conference series and participated during the 2009 gathering of regional leaders making a difference way back then. We are excited to reconnect with Jason and learn how the company has changed since then and to give us a preview of his experience with the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides and the panel session he will be speaking on at GoGreen Portland!
GoGreen Conference: What has gDiapers been up to since we last heard from you in 2009 at our second annual conference?
Jason Graham-Nye: Since 2009 we moved into a “real” office, where we are able to offer more benefits to our employees, such as onsite daycare for our team. Since 2004, we had worked from home and had our ever-growing team come to the house each morning! The business has expanded into Europe with a small London-based team. We have seen a significant amount of growth across Europe where our sustainability message seems to resonate more closely with the consumer base.
GoGreen Conference: During your session at GoGreen Portland on October 16th, you will speak about your experience with the updated Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides. What key points do you want our audience to take away from your experience?
JGN: The FTC has new guidelines including a new section on General Environmental Claims. Based on these new guidelines, no general environmental claims can be made with language, imagery or icons. That is a huge move as it essentially makes a green leaf on the side of a package, for example, run afoul of the guidelines. The term “eco-friendly” is also problematic. In our case, we used the term “eco-durable” (as in cute and eco-friendly) in our marketing which with the updated guidelines caused an issue. Another example is the tagline “Happy Baby, Happy Planet”. In the past, that would be regarded as marketing puffery and just fine. Today, with the updated guidelines, the FTC requires that the claim that the baby is happy and the planet is happy is supported by an independent third party evidence. It is important to raise awareness of the new guidelines and ensure other companies are meeting the strict guides placed by the FTC.
GoGreen Conference: Our 2014 conference theme focuses around, The Rise of the Commons: Investing in a Socially Sustainable Community — one that offers equity, diversity and growth to advance today’s community members and creates opportunities for tomorrow’s generation. Can you tell us how gDiapers and you personally are working towards this?
JGN: Since we launched in 2004 we have over 8,000 gMums & gDads – parents who use our products and volunteer for us across the US and UK. These amazing people go into stores and do checks on our sets, blog about us, host morning teas with other Mums and pitch in with us at trade shows. Some have created their own micro businesses, up-cycling our outer gPants and selling them on to new customers and expanding our reach as a company. We are continually thinking about how to engage with our Mums and Dads in unique and different ways to support them on their parenting journey.
GoGreen Conference: Do you think there are any important sustainability or social responsibility practices business leaders in Oregon could learn from Australia?
JGN: Australia had a great deal to offer leaders of other regions of the world with the previous Governments leadership on a Carbon tax. It proved to be a very effective way to manage the issue and as an Australian I was very proud of that initiative. The new administration has scrapped that tax and in my opinion, has really lead the country backwards. As a country experiencing the full force of global warming – the canary in the coal mine effect, we are scrambling to bring in management systems such as limiting water use, trialing desalination plants, expanding solar etc. I think Portland may have more to offer Australia’s leadership at this point.
GoGreen Portland 2014, brought to you by the City of Portland, Multnomah County and METRO will take place on Thursday, October 16th at the Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Ballroom located at 777 Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Tickets are available online at portland.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 503.226.2377. Student, government and non-profit registration rates are available.