If you are like me, you see a label on a product, and automatically assume the label means something good. Unfortunately that is not the case. Some labels are highly meaningful, with stringent certifications and others rely on the honesty of the manufacturers. The Best Source to find out what every label means is Consumer Reports Greener Choices-
What do you do:
- Be Label Savvy – Know your symbols: Fair Trade, Organic, etc, and look for Who (brand), What (ingred.), Where (produced), and How (its made)
- Act Local – Support local producers and ask local shops to carry responsible products
- Make a commitment to socially responsible companies
Where to Find the Info?
- The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience Sweatshops, fair trade, climate change, ethical investment, organic food… shopping can sometimes feel like a moral minefield. Which companies and products should we support or avoid? And which claims of social responsibility can we trust? The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience cuts through the greenwash to answer these and many other questions. Where to shop and what to look for in food, clothes, banks, travel agencies and much more.
- The Blue Pages – rates companies based on ethical policies and practices
- Fair Trade Resource Network: information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement. together, we can create a market that values the people who make the food we eat and the goods we use.
- Responsible Shopper (Coop America) provides you with the real story about abuses by well-known companies, gives you actions to promote corporate responsibility, and helps you green your life and world.
- The Green Pages – directory of socially responsible companies / products / services
- Green Guide (online)
- Bilumi. What if the products we purchase lived up to the values we apply to the rest of our lives? Bilumi is an online community enabling a new kind of smart socially responsible shopping. We are now creating a detailed supply chain model of the chocolate industry by rating companies and products. Each rating is linked to a specific consumer interest like human rights, energy efficiency, transparency, and ecological sustainability
Seals and Certifications
- Leaping Bunny The Leaping Bunny label indicates products made by companies that follow the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. This standard was developed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, a coalition of eight animal protection groups, including the American Humane Association and The Humane Society of the United States. Companies with this logo pledge not to conduct or commission animal testing on either their products or the ingredients used in those products.
- Cruelty Free Label: Cruelty free is a general claim that implies that no animal testing was done on the product and its ingredients. However, there is no government or official definition of this claim and there is no independent organization to verify the claim. The (FDA) has noted that unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms.
Certified Toxic Free – I have seen this label on a few cosmetic companies- and cannot find any information on it. Here’s Toxic Free NC Site
- Truth in Labeling Pledge ” In order to display the Natural Ingredient Resource Center “Truth in Labeling” Pledge Seal, or to be able to have a listing on the website, participants must voluntarily pledge to follow the NIRC Criteria for labeling natural ingredients and products. Participants who submit the pledge will be directed to a web page where they can download the web graphic for display on qualifying web sites, and a high resolution graphic for use on appropriate product labels, brochures and other promotional material. This is a voluntary program which is free of charge. The NIRC does not certify ingredients, products or police compliance. Display of the Seal does not in any way, imply endorsement by the NIRC.”
- Green SealTo qualify for Green Seal certification, cleaning products cannot irritate skin, be corrosive to the eyes or skin or cause human illness or injury when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin- qualities that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) qualifies as toxic. It cannot contain 2-butoxyethanol, alkylphenol ethoxylates, pthalates, heavy metals, optical brighteners or ozone-depleting compounds. It also cannot contain any ingredient determined to be mutagenic by the UN and any ingredients considered reproductive toxins by the State of California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Certified products also can’t contain any chemical considered carcinogenic by five agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the EPA. Furthermore, cleaners can’t be combustible or contain air pollutants, and the use of added fragrances must be noted on MSDS sheets and product labels. The product must also be biodegradable, as determined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines for testing chemical biodegradability. Finally, the Green Seal certification guarantees that, under standard testing methods, the product performs at least as well as a conventional product.
- Safe Cosmetics The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer-rights groups. Our goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and replace them with safer alternatives.
- Coop America: Note: January 1, 2009, changing name to Green America! New name, same mission. The mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
- Organic Trade Association Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association that focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy
- USDA Organic – For Food only The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards.
- Rainforest Alliance Certified – The Rainforest Alliance Certified label is clear and meaningful in support of sustainable agriculture, social responsibility and integrated pest management. The label is consistent in meaning among all certified.
- Vegan Registered trademark, similar in nature to the “kosher” mark, for products that do not contain animal products and that have not been tested on animals. The Logo is easily visible to consumers interested in vegan products and helps vegans to shop without constantly consulting ingredient lists; it helps companies recognize a growing vegan market; and it helps bring the word “vegan”—and the lifestyle it represents—into the mainstream. (Please keep in mind, however, that the logo is not yet on every vegan product.) The Logo is administered by The Vegan Awareness Foundation (official name of Vegan Action), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about veganism
Natural Food Certifiers Natural Food Certifiers is a USDA-National Organic Program accredited organic certification agency. NFC customers enjoy affordable pricing structures , professional service, and the “ NFC fair time turn- around application process ”™