In my quest to become a better-informed and conscious consumer, I spent a lot of time researching companies and products each time I had to purchase something. Eventually, the nerdy analyst in me realised I needed a simple sustainable company and product ratings system. So I developed a checklist based on 9 variables that I think form the basis for any sustainable commercial activity. I boiled it down to rankings that I can use when making purchasing decisions. As follows, I can quickly identify corporates that produce non-toxic products with as little environmental footprint as possible!
As I continue with my research, I thought I’d share the results with you going forward in case you find them helpful! Would you like to know, which companies and products you can trust?
1. Non-toxic product
Depending on the industry, I look, when relevant, if the product is certified organic and verified non-GMO (e.g. food, skin-care, textiles), if synthetic additives and/or preservatives are present, whether the product has been tested by relevant and credible agencies (e.g. EWG, Made Safe, Clean Label Project) or the company can share a third-party conducted test report for traces of industrial heavy metals and/or endocrine and hormone disruptors such (e.g. glyphosate).
2. Environmentally responsible
Key areas of focus are waste management, energy use, water stewardship, whether products bio-accumulate in the environment etc. B-corporations or Craddle-to-Craddle certified companies are awarded extra points. Environmental measures verified/audited/certified by any other relevant agencies are rewarded extra.
3. Socially responsible
I look for proof of fair labour practises and safe working conditions such as living wage implementation across the supply chain. B-corporations, Craddle-to-Craddle or OEKO-TEX certified companies are awarded extra points.
4. Sustainable product design
A product’s sustainability profile is decided already at the design stage. I look whether there are systems in place that integrate certain environmental considerations (e.g. biodegradability and recyclability), promote durability, minimize disposable packaging etc. B-corporations, Craddle-to-Craddle, OEKO-TEX or relevant ISO certifications are awarded extra points.
5. Promotes civic engagement and giving
I reward companies that make charitable and in-kind contributions, have a commitment to serve a target in-need beneficiary group and are engaged in community development programs. B-corporations that are already certified as conducting business as a source for good score naturally higher.
No animal testing. PETA and/or Leaping Bunny certifications are required for higher rating.
Product contains no animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
8. Embraces full transparency
I rate whether companies publicly share most of the relevant data about themselves and, if required, are responsive to follow-up questions. Supply chain transparency including publishing supplier lists and tracking subcontractors is extra rewarded.
9. Fair trade (if applicable)
The company’s trade practices or purchases are certified by a relevant third party.