I’m not a fan of research. I want to be, and I try to be, but I just don’t have the head for it. I’m more of a scanner than an in-depth reader. And even on those topics that I am engaged enough to settle down and read about, I don’t have great retention. For instance, I read Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic book cover to cover, and took away a ton of good information. But I couldn’t tell you which plastics are good and which are bad… #2 is good? #7 is bad? Similarly, when I read labels there are a few particular ingredients I avoid, but there are a dozen other I’ve read about that I’ll never remember. I’m just not good at being an informed consumer.
This is why I’m so grateful for regulated language and certification programs. I know that if something is labelled organic, it is. If it’s certified fair trade, it is. However, there are lots of products out there that don’t fit in these categories, and even if they did, one has to prioritize one’s purchases. I’d love to buy an organic mattress, but I just can’t pony up that kind of cash. So what is a girl to do? Short of researching each and every product carefully, which I think we’ve already established I’m not going to do.
What I will do is check out these super helpful (and simple!) resources. B Corps was covered on CBC today, and is a program that certifies corporations who engage stakeholders beyond their shareholders – they look at community, environment, consumer, etc… It’s a stringent process, and only a fraction of those companies that have applied have been certified. Another great resource is Better World Shopper, which ranks various companies with a letter grade.
If you’re a hard-core greenie you’ll probably want to dig deeper into these sites to learn about the grading and certification processes. But if you’re like me, you’re more than happy to be trusting and have someone else do the legwork for you. 🙂
The pledge? To consult with one of these resources (or one like them), when making major purchases, or for products that I consistently buy non-organic. Like hair products. So sue me, I have not found a natural hair product that doesn’t make my hair look like I used dish water. But that’s a topic for another day.