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Best practices: Creating and sharing scenarios. (client marketing claims)
Best practices: Creating and sharing scenarios. (client marketing claims)

Learn how to best create and share scenario products or comparisons with scenario products.

Daan van Hal avatar
Written by Daan van Hal
Updated over a week ago

Recap: How to use scenarios

Scenario products are dummy products you can create to calculate and compare the estimated footprints for products you don't own- or don't exist yet.

They excel when used in the comparisons feature. For example:

  • New customers: Your potential customer currently purchases from another supplier and is interested in switching to you. In this case: (1) Ask your customer for details on the product they currently purchase, (2) model a scenario product, (3) compare it to your inventory product (the product you sell) to show the difference (4), win the deal.

  • Existing customers: Your customer has impact reduction wishes and wants to switch materials, transport distances, etc. (1) Model the scenario product by copying the inventory product they currently purchase, (2) change the product according to needs and (3) compare the scenario to currently purchased inventory product (4) win the deal (5) search for a new supplier that fits the scenario needs and create a new inventory product.

Best Practises: Creating scenario products

  1. Copy inventory products where possible: This helps make sure your scenario product covers the same filled-out fields as the potential inventory product you're comparing to.

  2. Double-check before verifying: Just as inventory products, scenario products should be checked to see if they're filled out with all the available data (even if this might be less data). It's good to know before sharing or comparing, which fields are unspecified - and therefore show worst-case scenario data.

  3. Commercial interest for new suppliers: Make sharing (as much as possible) supplier data commercially interesting for potential new suppliers. Especially if you're making a scenario for a product you will purchase after a deal with a high chance of winning. This also helps speed up creating an inventory product for the new product after the deal is won.

Best Practises: Creating scenario comparisons

  • Double-check extreme result differences: Sometimes you get surprised by a difference in impact results between two products. Often this is the case due to a missing field you forgot to fill out.

  • Check filled-out data fields: Check if the scenario product has the same fields filled out as the product you're comparing to. If this isn't the case, comparing becomes harder, as worst-case scenario data fills the gaps and creates more extremes in comparisons. If you miss data in your scenario product, make sure to know why and how it impacts your comparison.

  • Compare to similar product categories: For fair comparisons, aim to make comparisons within the same product category/similar product categories.

  • Analyze impact hotspots before sharing: Before sharing a scenario comparison with your customer, dive into where the biggest impact differences come from. Ask yourself:

    • Which life cycle stage is most impactful? (eco costs - vs CO2-eq)

    • Which process or material causes these differences? (e.g. the market average for recyled paper has a more energy-intensive raw material production process than virgin paper)

    • If the end of life differs - how does the material cause this? (e.g. using recycled materials deducts points in end-of-life)

Best Practises: Sharing scenarios with clients

  • Aim to share live comparisons: Live comparisons are more dynamic and clickable, which improves your customer experience.

  • Double-check use cycles and product quantities: Ensure to take into consideration the use cycle and product quantities for your products based on the customer's needs.

  • Show confidence: Creating scenarios to guide your customers to make sustainable decisions is a unique service! Make sure your customers understand that. They will not be able to receive this kind of credible, independent, sustainability advice from your competitors.

  • Explain customer use: Aim to always explain what scenarios are and how they can be used by your customers. This will prove their unique value. Use this text as inspiration for your pitch:

    "Scenario products enable us to create a proposal for the current product you purchase/your sustainability needs and wishes. And compare it to our offering/compare them to help you make a decision that fits your sustainability goals.

    These scenario products are created based on the available product data you offered us on your current supplier/based on your changes from your current product(s). Hence, it's called a scenario product (as seen in the banner). Please understand the purpose of scenarios is to guide your decision-making. As we don't have all data available, scenario products cannot be used in any marketing claims - unless they become a product we sell and we can gather more product data".

  • Focus on your customer's needs: Often you don't have to highlight every result in the comparison. Focus on the aspects your customer is most interested in (the changes they wanted) and the impact values they find most interesting: eco costs or CO2-eq.

FAQ - Sharing scenarios

1. Am I misleading customers with scenario data?

No, you're not. Pickler's software has been checked by the Dutch Authority for Consumer Protection and complies with their anti-greenwashing guidelines. The Dutch guidelines overlap with that of the UK, Denmark's, France's and Germany's anti-greenwashing guidelines.

Scenario products and comparisons in Pickler always have a banner explaining they're based on scenario data - for full transparency to your clients. Pickler relies on their users to truthfully fill out products according to their most up-to-date, available product data - scenario products included. If you put your scenario product from draft to verified, it means:

  • You've filled it out truthfully according to all the data that was made available/was available to you (e.f. info from new client or based on website information from competitor)

  • The assumptions you made can be explained in sales conversations.

This is a core requirement of anti-greenwashing guidelines.

2. Why is it preferred not to use scenarios in marketing claims?

In marketing, you're only allowed to make claims based on data you own/ can prove: Pickler's inventory products.

Scenario products are based on assumptions, not real-life proof. Hence, why scenario products preferably should only be used in sales; where context can be provided to guide decision-making for customers. Scenarios can only used by your customer in claims if the scenario product becomes an inventory product (e.g. when you get a new supplier).

If the scenario product is based on a product from your competitor - a client can only make a marketing claim if the competitor is a user of Pickler and has the product available as an inventory product. Or if there's a very clear disclaimer on the assumptions made in the scenario product.

If this isn't the case, follow our advice in the question below.

3. How can clients use my scenario comparisons commercially?

"My customer wants to use my scenario comparison in marketing to show they've made sustainable progress with my product".

Scenarios should preferably not be used in marketing as they're not based on clear evidence - but assumptions. That's why only inventory product comparisons should be used by customers in claims.

Option 1) Explain to your customers they can now use impact transparency as a marketing claim. They can use the impact report for your inventory product to show they are now completely transparant about the life cycle impact of their purchased products. And iwll continue this trend for other products (win-win to create a long-term partnership!) Impact transparency is very rare in packaging still. Your impact report helps them stand out from the crowd.

Option 2) If your client wants to use a scenario in a claim, you can send them this disclaimer:

A disclaimer you can use for scenario products towards your customers:

- This report includes a scenario product that can feature hypothetical or what-if data (assumptions) due to a lack of primary supplier data. According to anti-greenwashing guidelines, these assumptions should be explicitly stated in any commercial communication involving this report.

- How you decide to use this report in your commercial processes is your responsibility. We strongly advise you to follow the [clients' active countries] anti-greenwashing rules and contact a legal anti-greenwashing advisor if you're unsure about your claim's compliance with said anti-greenwashing regulation.

- Should you use this report for any commercial purposes, do not compare it to (non-Pickler) LCA reports from other suppliers. This results in unfair comparison - which goes against the Dutch, UK, Danish, German, and EU anti-greenwashing rules.

- Should you use this report for any commercial purposes, always link to the report, the date the report was published, your proof of the supplier input data for the scenario product, and the assumptions made for creating the scenario product - to ensure compliance with anti-greenwashing legislation. Transparency is key.

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