If you’ve ever felt super overwhelmed by all of the ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, and ‘sustainable’ labelling on everything from eggs to lipstick, you’re not alone. There are so many different ways that products are labelled to make consumers believe they are making the right choices, but how do you know what they all mean? And how do you know which ones you can trust?
“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, the 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.”
To help quash the confusion, we’re going to dive into some of the product certifications that have undergone rigorous 3rd party testing on factors such as environmental impact, where the ingredients come from, worker conditions, and more. Keeping an eye out for these labels when you’re doing your shopping will help you feel more confident about where you’re sending your money.
5 Green Labels To Look For
- 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 and Harmony 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.
“We are all trying to make better choices for our health and wellbeing that will help build a better world, with a healthy environment and strong communities,” adds Laurie. “Learning about these various labels and certifications is a great step in that direction.”
If you’re in the Toronto area this April, you should definitely check out the Green Living Show happening April 7th to 9th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The Green Living Show is Canada’s largest consumer show dedicated to simple solutions for leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. This three-day event offers inspiration for all ages and features influential speakers; innovative products; eco home and garden design; local and organic food and wine tastings; health, wellness and yoga pavilions; eco fashion and green beauty makeovers; electric car test drives; nature exhibits and fun activities for the entire family.