5 Symbols for Conscious Shoppers

A guide to doing good at the mall

Jun 25, 2013

Photo by Flickr user www.rowenawaack.com

In today's jargon-filled world of low-carb, high-GI, two-for-one, free delivery shopping, it's harder and harder to understand what we’re buying. Especially when often all you want to do is get your groceries, pay, and get home to your family. This list will help to sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff, so you'll be in and out in no time, all the while doing good!

1.     BEAUTY WITHOUT BUNNIES

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The Beauty Without Bunnies symbol indicates cruelty-free products, which means they were produced without testing on animals.
WHERE WILL I FIND IT? The symbol appears on a range of household products from baby care to cosmetics, cleaning products to vitamins. Check out the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website for a full list.
WHO'S BEHIND IT? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) runs this program, in coordination with cruelty free companies who license the logo.
WHAT ELSE? You can take a cruelty-free pledge on the PETA website.

2.     IT'S ONLY FAIR

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The Fairtrade Mark certifies that products meet the social, economic and environmental standards set by Fairtrade.
WHERE WILL I FIND IT? The symbol appears on thousands of products sold in over 100 countries around the world, from all industries.
WHO'S BEHIND IT? The mark is an initiative by Fairtrade International, which works to encourage shoppers to reduce poverty through their day-to-day shopping.
WHAT ELSE? Fairtrade fights for child labor issues, climate change and international workers' rights. Sign up for their quarterly newsletter to keep up to date.

3.     STARS IN YOUR EYES

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The Energy Star identifies products, homes and commercial facilities as having passed third–party certification requirements and testing for energy efficiency.
WHERE WILL I FIND IT? The star features on a range of household appliances, including computers, air conditioners and electronics.
WHO'S BEHIND IT? US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star is a voluntary program, established in 1992.
WHAT ELSE? Explore the Energy Star interactive map to find out how much energy is being saved in your area.

4.     FOLLOW THE FROG

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The Rainforest Alliance marks farms and forestlands that meet the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council. It can also indicate forest carbon, tourism, and certain forestry enterprises and projects that meet criteria developed or endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance.
WHERE WILL I FIND IT? You can find the frog on products such as coffee, tea and chocolate, as well as paper and other printed materials.
WHO'S BEHIND IT? The marks come from the Rainforest Alliance, which works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
WHAT ELSE? This year's Follow the Frog week will be held on September 16-22. Get more info here.

5.     ORGANIC IS THE NEW BLACK


WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Products sporting the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal are certified as being at least 95% organic. Producers must also demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity and using only approved substances.
WHERE WILL I FIND IT? You'll find this logo on a range of food products, both fresh and packaged.
WHO'S BEHIND IT? The seal is certified by the USDA, which is responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products.
WHAT ELSE? Get the organic down-low by signing up for the Organic Insider newsletter.

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