Gifting Green Products – Decoding Green Labels 101

It can be pretty confusing when trying to find the perfect gift for your friend who loves to help the environment. From “natural” tea, to “green” cleaning supplies to “eco-friendly” clothing, there are endless products being marketed with claims that attempt to convince us that we are making the right decision when shopping.

“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 shoppers, 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.

Here is a guide to some of the eco-friendly labels you may find from Green Living Enterprises to  help you shop smarter and feel more confident about your choices:

image001While 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.


image003B 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.


image005Eating 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.


image007Sustainable 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.


bunnylogoThe 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.


In April, visit these planet-friendly certified companies, plus 400 sustainable companies at the Green Living Show taking place April 7th to 9th, 2017, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for many gift ideas.

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