CMA recently sent a survey regarding the use of our logo. Many of you were kind enough to answer the survey and many of you went further and provided us with more detailed answers to fully explain your positions. The feedback is appreciated, and we thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

We are sharing the results with you since we feel it is important to acknowledge your contribution by reporting back. CMA distributed this survey to simply ask the questions. Some respondents assumed the survey meant that we were going to announce a change imminently. We are not. This was strictly an information-gathering effort. We are committed to working with our customers and composters to make the system work. Asking questions is an important way we can understand stakeholders’ challenges, views, and opinions.

The survey was, in part, prompted by repeated questions and pressures to make logo use mandatory. The argument has been made that, if CMA certified products are not marked, the consumer has no way of knowing what is accepted at CMA network facilities. This is a challenge that we continue to work on. So far, we have found no easy answer that will satisfy everyone. We hope that the “greater mind” of the Future Search project will help us see new answers to challenges such as this.

To understand our context, CMA is not a non-profit organization. We do not have membership fees, nor do we receive any grants or government funding. We are a technical services company that must secure funding for all the work that we do. Our field-testing fees cover just that – field testing. Our field crew travels across the US to place and retrieve tests. We pay the testing facilities for their time. We do all the preparation of samples and sample tracking, and all the results reporting and follow up. We review all the ASTM laboratory reports and work with customers to support them in getting the appropriate lab testing and reports. This requires hours of staff time for every customer on top of the expenses for performing the field tests.

Our logo license program supports all the other work that we do: legislative advocacy, answering questions from consumers, product manufacturers and facilities, providing support and curated lists for compost facilities and cities, educational efforts such as speaking engagements, and more.

The survey was distributed to a broad range of people with whom CMA works. This included composters, product manufacturers, consultants, distributors and others.

Question 1: Do you have a Logo Use License with CMA?
As a threshold, 32.79% of respondents have a current license for use of the CMA name and logo.

Question 2: If you have a Logo License, do you use the CMA logo on the product itself (versus on the packaging)?

Of those with a license, 23.06% use the logo directly on their products.

Question 3: If you do not have a logo license with CMA, what factors affect your decision? Interestingly, the largest segment of answers on Questions 3 through 5 was “Other”.

Many of the “Other” comments mentioned the respondent was not yet CMA certified. Respondents also noted the difficulty embossing artwork, that they do not control the finished packaging and competing requirements. Cost was cited by 22.92%, and 10.42% already have too much on their packaging. 6.25% of respondents do not see the purpose.

Question 4: To facilitate recognition of CMA certified products by consumers and composters, CMA has been asked to make the use of the CMA Logo mandatory for all certified products. How do you view mandatory use of the CMA logo for certified products?

Overall, 17.5% of respondents would support a change and would be willing to pay a license fee. Thirty percent would support a change but would not be willing to pay a license fees. Between these two answers, 47.5% would support a change.

Of those who would not support, 35% would not support and 5% would not support and would discontinue business with CMA. “Would not support” received a total of 40% of the responses overall.

Question 5: What fee range would you consider reasonable as an annual CMA Logo License fee?

Respondents felt a logo use fee of less than $1,000 (31.58%) or a fee based on number of certified SKUs (21.05%) was reasonable. However, “Other” once again received the most responses at 38.6%. About half of the “other” comments said the right to use the logo should be automatic once the product is certified. Otherwise, many of the comments reiterated answers and comments to previous questions.

Question 6: Would you be willing to pay more for testing and evaluation if you automatically received license to use the CMA logo at certification?

Respondents clearly indicated (55%) that they would not be willing to pay more for testing if logo use was automatically included upon certification. Paying more for testing in this scenario was acceptable to 23.21% and 21.43% responded “Other”. “Other” comments addressed specifics on which the answer would depend. Factors noted were additional cost, how it would be structured and if a discount would apply if the product did not achieve certification.

CMA has historically resisted making logo use mandatory and folding the cost into testing fees. Many products do not pass and requiring those customers to pay for a logo they will not be able to use is, to us, unfair. This is one of the reasons we have maintained logo licensing as a separate fee.

If you have any additional feedback on these results , please feel free to reach out to me
at janet@composterapproved.com.