We’re not complainers, we’re do-good-ers. At GreenerGoods, our goal is to give specific, actionable, and relevant feedback to encourage sustainable practices within the 200+ brands in our database. Consider yourself a consultant for the climate, reviewing products against metrics like presence of naturally-derived ingredients, use of sustainable packaging, supply chain transparency, and/or implementation of a recycling program.
Passionate about the planet, but need a debrief on how to review products? This guide gives a bite-sized overview on how to spot the sustainable stand-outs from the green-washing wannabes, so you can start reviewing with confidence.
What does naturally-derived mean?
Naturally-derived means that ingredients and/or materials are sourced from nature. It is important to note that this term can fall victim to greenwashing, so it is best to look for products with ingredients that have sustainable certifications. Look for labels with NPA-Certified, USDA Organic, or ECOCERT, among others.
What are some examples of naturally-derived ingredients?
cosmetics, hygiene: aloe vera, coconut oil, green tea, shea butter, soy, tea tree oil, eucalyptus
cleaning: citrus, baking soda, white vinegar, salt
Why are naturally-derived ingredients important?
Although “natural” doesn’t always mean “more sustainable,” we do know that synthetic ingredients, such as Parabens, sulfates, phtalates, and synthetic colors, can be harmful to you and the environment. Parabens, for example, are known to kill coral and disrupt the reproductive system. Supporting brands that use non-toxic ingredients can support a healthier planet, and a healthier you.
Are there any good resources for discovering brands with natural ingredients?
How should I give feedback on presence of naturally-derived ingredients?
Note a lack of naturally-derived ingredients
Mention any potentially toxic ingredients (especially those listed above)
Encourage the brand to make positive changes to improve the health and safety of people and the planet
What does sustainable packaging mean? What are examples of sustainable and unsustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging can take many forms, but it is generally any type of packaging designed to reduce waste and conserve resources. Packaging could be biodegradable (meaning it can be broken down naturally), recyclable (paper, cardboard, glass), reusable (reusable bags, bottles, containers), or minimalist (using the lest amount of material possible).
Why is sustainable packaging important?
Sustainable packaging focuses on reducing waste, helping a company to reduce their overall environmental footprint.
What are examples of brands that use sustainable packaging?
How should I give feedback on sustainable packaging?
Note the lack of sustainable packaging
Encourage sustainable alternatives, such as biodegradable packaging
Mention other brands, like Plaine that are taking steps towards a sustainable future
Supply Chain Transparency
What is a supply chain and what is supply chain transparency?
A supply chain is any entity, activity, or resource involved to produce, distribute, and deliver a product. Supply chain transparency is when a company knows and communicates this information to its consumers.
Why is supply chain transparency important?
Supply chain transparency increases accountability in practices such as responsible sourcing and ethical labor practices—when a company is transparent in its practices, a consumer can better understand the social and environmental impact of a product.
What information should supply chain transparency include?
Information on supply chain transparency could include, but is not limited to:
a list of all suppliers
where materials or ingredients originate
how ingredients are grown and harvest
disclosure of labor practices & wages
What’s an example of supply chain transparency?
One Degree Organic Foods discloses where the ingredients you’re eating came from, and who grew it. Every product has a list of ingredients and farmers, and features video interviews with the individuals that made the product.
How should I give feedback on supply chain transparency?
Note if a brand is lacking information on their supply chain
Encourage them to consider publicizing and improving on criteria listed above
Inform the brand of consumer practices—Consumers today want to know how and where the products they purchase are made, and make buying decisions based on this information.
What is a recycling program? What is a refill program?
A recycling program is when a company collects used products, and then processes and re-uses the product in some way. A refill program is when a company sells products with re-usable packaging and allows customers to purchase a refill for their product, rather than buying an entirely new one.
Why are recycling programs important?
Recycle and refill programs help to eliminate materials that are used once and then discarded, like single use plastics. Single use plastics especially pose a significant threat to wildlife, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing our dependence on single use plastics, we can minimize their impact.
What’s an example of a brand that implements a recycling or refill program?
Blueland has a refill model to help eliminate the plastic waste of cleaning products—customers buy one “forever bottle” and then purchase tablets (that come in biodegradable packaging) that can be dissolved in water.
How should I give feedback on a lack of recycling/refill program?
Note the lack of recycling/refill program
Emphasize the cost savings potential of reducing waste disposal costs
Mention successful brands that have implemented a recycle or refill program
While this is not an exhaustive resource, it is a starting point for writing constructive and actionable feedback. Happy reviewing!