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79% of Consumers Embrace Transparent “GREEN” Labeling of Mattresses


They Say They Would Choose a Mattress With a Verified Environmental “Safety” and Emissions Label


February 7, 2010 - A new Mattress/Bedding Industry “Green Initiative” consumer survey sponsored by the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA), asked what claims consumers would want addressed by an industry label, seal or program. “Safety” and “Emissions” were the top two issues raised by consumers. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of consumers surveyed would choose a mattress with an environmentally friendly claim. The study was an outgrowth of the Mattress/ Bedding Industry Green Initiative Board’s efforts to identify the top issues that need to be addressed by the industry as it works to clarify environmental claims being made through marketing of bedding products.

According to the survey of 637 adults in the U.S., two-thirds of consumers were “very” or “extremely” concerned about the health and safety of the products they purchase. Safety of materials was the single most important environmental attribute to consumers selecting a new mattress (41%), followed by free of emissions (15%) and responsible manufacturing processes (10%).

39% of the respondents indicated that they would pay more for an environmentally-friendly mattress.

Equally as important, the study sponsored by the SSA “Green Initiative” showed that 39% of the respondents indicated that they would pay more for an environmentally-friendly mattress, and 15% said they would pay as much as $200. more.

“We are pleased to be sharing this information with the industry and ― for the first time ― are presenting not only research on consumer and retail sales associate (RSA) priorities but also significant guidance on making environmental claims, what terminology actually means, and what global trends might influence how products are designed and marketed in the U.S.,” said Dale Read, president of the SSA. “The Mattress/Bedding Industry Green Initiative is working to achieve greater transparency for consumers and provides this unprecedented research-based report on environmental claims as the first step in what will need to be a multi-faceted industry communications effort. We are no longer depending exclusively on personal opinion, conjecture and anecdotal information form mattress industry executives,” said Read . This research gives us an objective and professional baseline of solid information from both consumers and retail sales associates. It supports what some of us have believed all along: that many consumers will pay more for verified and transparently marketed “green” mattress/bedding products..

Transparency in marketing “green” could lead to millions in increased retail sales

Read pointed out that some extrapolations indicate that incremental retail sales as a result of transparent labeling and marketing of “green “ products could range anywhere from $350 mm up to $1.3 billion in sales with a middle ground of $750 mm being quite possible. “Developing a transparent and open seal and labeling program, along with an active consumer education and retailer training program not only is ‘the right thing to do’ , it is profitable for retailers and manufacturers alike.

The SSA conducted a separate survey of retail sales associates (RSAs) at 233 distinct store locations with a total of 61 retailers. This research identified a need for clear environmental terminology. Half of the respondents believed that manufacturers are not supplying enough information about the environmental impact of their mattresses. The vast majority (87%) believe an industry standard, certification or seal would be helpful with almost one in three saying it would be “very helpful.”

The group’s findings included:

  • 76% of the RSAs surveyed have experienced customers asking for “natural,” “organic,” or “environmentally friendly” mattresses.

  • Two-thirds of the RSAs surveyed (69%) have had customers ask for mattresses free of added chemicals.

  • More than half of consumer respondents (56%) said a “green” seal or certification on a mattress would make them more likely to consider that mattress.

  • Consumers expressed greater concern for the environmental impact of a mattress at the end of the lifecycle versus the beginning of its lifecycle.

“Environmental Claims: What Marketers and Retailers Need to Know ― Terminology, Definitions, Standards and Trends for the Bedding Industry” was presented by the Specialty Sleep Association at Winter 2010 Las Vegas Furniture Market on February 2. The report was developed by Vicki Worden of Worden Associates, Inc., an environmental consultant to the SSA’s “Green Initiative” Board of Governors. The Mattress/Bedding Industry “Green Initiative” was created to identify definitions and terminology, as well as existing standards and certifications that apply to the mattress industry. These include components and finished products, plus how mattress manufacturers and retailers label “green” products and define eco-friendly sleep. The SSA Board is now considering a number of future steps to implement the findings of the report and study. Being considered is a consumer-oriented public education campaign and labeling program aimed at increasing clarity and transparency for consumers shopping for mattresses and bedding.

Founded in 1995, the Specialty Sleep Association is a national not-for-profit organization created to facilitate the growth and positive awareness of the specialty sleep category. SSA membership is comprised of more than 100 manufacturers and retailers ranging from small, family-owned businesses to large corporations.

Those interested in learning more about the SSA, should contact Tambra Jones, executive director, SSA, 559-868-4187 or 559-676-8639,


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