The word ‘sustainable’ is used quite a bit these days, so you may be asking how we define ‘sustainable practices’. We’ll tell you.
To determine if a product is sustainable, we focus on the:
1) amount of greenhouse gases emitted through its production;
2) natural resources extracted during its primary stages of development;
3) kind of waste produced through its life-cycle;
4) water-footprint associated with the involved ingredients/materials;
5) employed resource conservation strategies, such as recycling;
6) use of renewable energy or energy efficient technologies involved in its manufacturing;
7) general environmental impact that may result from each of these processes.
Note: It’s important to point out that ‘sustainability’ also includes social and economic factors. Therefore, when assessing a brand or product with respect to this badge, we try to incorporate metrics related to socially and economically responsible practices. This mode of thought is generally referred to as Environmental Full-cost Accounting (EFCA), whereby information regarding the ‘triple bottom line’ is taken in to account for the broader, full or ‘true’ cost of a certain practice or production method.
ETHICAL & HUMANE
Our ‘Ethical & Humane’ badge will often address both the treatment of humans and animals, considering working environments and animal welfare. To determine if a product is ethical and humane, we may research the:
1) labor conditions along the supply chain of production;
2) fair and honorable labor values, such as community engagement;
3) occupational health and safety policies in place for that given company;
4) use of animal-based ingredients or animal by-products;
5) performance of animal-testing involved in product creation (if conducted);
6) cruelty-free or humane practices/standards communicated by the respective company;
7) definitional language associated with certifications/seals granted to said product.
A quick message to our lovely vegetarians and vegans: products that wear the ‘Ethical & Humane’ badge commonly support a vegan-friendly lifestyle. Be sure to check the ‘Greener Qualities’ below and look for the ‘vegan’ banner.
Note: Companies will often not disclose information about their labor conditions and/or health and safety policies for their facilities. In such a case, we will still assess their products with respect to our animal-based indicators and see how they score. If products receive low scores with respect to their labor conditions and/or health and safety policies — or receive a score of “0” (as such information cannot be found) — they may score well for other human-based indicators, like community engagement. Additionally, they may still have the potential to receive this badge if they score well with respect to our animal-based indicators; for example, if they are cruelty-free certified, are free of animal ingredients, etc.
ORGANIC OR NATURAL
‘Organic’ and ‘natural’ are challenging terms to research and assess. Certifications help to clarify and verify what is ‘organic’, but we know it’s difficult to find a universally agreed to definition of what constitutes ‘natural’. So, when rating a product in respect to this badge, we tend to investigate the use of non-genetically modified and non-artificial ingredients, but, additionally, the absence of harmful or toxic ingredients incorporated in a product. We try to select products that are largely free of:
To assess the composition and quality of the product as it relates to this criteria, we examine the order of certain organic or natural ingredients in the nutritional label and do our best to select products that place such organic or natural ingredients near the top, rather than bottom of the list.
‘Locally sourced’ is another tricky term. We believe sourcing locally will be an important practice in the movement towards a healthier planet, as it may support smaller, local communities, reduce the necessity to import and transport goods from distant areas, and bring fresh, high-quality and culturally rich products to people that might not otherwise get to experience them. Simply, to determine if a product uses locally sourced ingredients or materials, we consider the location in which the ingredients/materials are sourced in respect to the proximity of the place where the product is made or manufactured.
We want the products we select to be created by companies that give back to the greater community. When a product wears this badge, it means it is sold by a company that donates to environmental or humanitarian causes. This ‘donation’ is often in the form of a percentage of sales, revenue or profit, but can also be the donation of a service or material goods: such as food, clothing or technologies. We believe giving back is important, don’t you!
HUMAN HEALTH & NUTRITION (NUTRITIOUS ALTERNATIVE)
This is our newest badge to be added to the Greener Square ‘green’ criteria. The above badges seem to be better fitted for assessing how socially and environmentally responsible a given brand or product is — and, although these badges certainly work for food, drink and supplement products, we believe it’s important to present a unique, more direct, badge for how healthy a product is for not only the ecological environment, but for human biological health. The ‘Nutritious Alternative ‘ badge demonstrates that the corresponding product has met or exceeded our standards for quality ingredients and beneficial nutrient content. This information was already conveyed through the research embodied in the ‘Greener Qualities’ section of a product review, but had yet to be synthesized into a badge. For example, here are a few health-based Greener Qualities that you can expect to be incorporated in the presentation of the ‘Nutritious Alternative’ badge:
We perform a thorough inspection the nutritional facts/label affixed to that given food, drink or supplement product. For this, we may consult information presented by the Food and Drug Administration to determine if that product has a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ source of certain macronutrients (i.e., proteins, fats or carbohydrates), or is rich in certain micronutrients, which are related to vitamin and mineral content. An assessment of ‘Percent Daily Value’ (%DV), is also included in the overall review. Simply, this badge is our way of saying that we think this product is good for you, and, furthermore, better than the average.
best sustainable and ethical products,best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products, best sustainable and ethical products
best sustainable and ethical products
We consider and utilize a diverse assortment of data during the research and rating process to ensure accuracy and informed choices are being made, but please note that the availability and/or accessibility of product-level data in regards to certain indicators above may be limited and varies across product types. Because of this, we may consult company-level data.