From “natural” tea, to “green” cleaning supplies to “eco-friendly” clothing, there are endless products being marketed with claims that attempt to convince consumers that they are making the right decision when shopping, but how do we really know what’s what?
“Canadians are concerned about the state of our environment and worker conditions, and are opting for more sustainable, conscientious products and services,” says Laurie Simmonds, President and CEO of Green Living Enterprises. “With companies using various ‘green’ claims and labels now more than ever, it can be difficult to distinguish between what looks and sounds ethical and sustainable, and what actually is.”
Product certifications alleviate this challenge for consumers here in Canada, as any certified product has undergone a rigorous third party evaluation; examining everything from environmental impact, ingredient procurement, worker conditions and compensation to name few. Choosing products with the following labels will help you shop smarter, and while we always advise that you do your own research as well, with these labels you can feel more confident about your buying power:
· While many may think it’s the most obvious, Fairtrade is often a confusing term. The Fairtrade mark means the ingredients in a product have been produced by small-scale farmer organizations or plantations that meet social, economic and environmental standards. Equifruit for example, is the Canadian market leader of Fairtrade-certified bananas, with a large number of retail partners in Quebec and Ontario.
· B Certified is to a business what Fairtrade is to fruit or coffee. Launched in 2006, B Certified companies meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Dedicated to offering bee-derived superfoods, Beekeeper’s Naturals is a great example of a B Certified company that has undergone strict analysis and understands their overarching duty to the environment. It is one of 2,048 B Corporations in 50 countries around the world, all demonstrating a desire to make change and be part of something bigger.
· Eating organic is one of the most popular ways to lead a healthier, more sustainable life. This can be made easy by purchasing products with the Canada Organic label and certification (define what it means – pesticides, antibiotics, etc..). Canada’s organic standards are among the most recognized in the world andHarmony Organic is a Canadian company that wears this label with pride. With 14 family farm producers, Harmony Organic is passionate about the quality of their dairy, their cows and the earth.
· Sustainable food choices continue to be important to Canadians, changing the way they think about what’s on their plates. With overfishing being the biggest threat our oceans face today, consumers who choose to eat seafood can make a difference by choosing fish that is responsibly sourced or by visiting restaurants, like Hawthorne Food & Drink that use the Oceanwise symbol — an assurance against overfishing, harm to other aquatic creatures and protection of the marine ecosystem.
· The Leaping Bunny logo is one to look out for when purchasing personal-care products and cosmetics. Companies like Skin Essence Organics that are certified through the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, make a voluntary pledge to eliminate animal testing from all stages of product development.
So there you have it, now you have the perfect guide to knowing the real deal behind the products you use and consume.
Want to know more about Green Living? This April, visit the Green Living Show taking place April 7th to 9th, 2017, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
For more info on leading a healthier, greener lifestyle, please visit www.greenlivingshow.ca.