As a consumer, do you ever find yourself confused by the eco-friendly labels on today’s products? I know I get confused.

Whether it is food that is labeled all-natural or organic or paper products that are either FSC or SFI-certified, the world of eco-labeling is confusing, to say the least. A new rating system is in the works and as a consumer I am absolutely excited about its launch. Good Things Green is a new product rating system that will enable us, the consumers, to compare a products’ price and quality, environmental impact, and the company’s track record of social and environmental responsibility.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Good Things Green CEO and founder, Craig Flax. Craig is a parent, a volunteer and an eco-advocate. As a parent myself, I love discussing environmental concerns with other parents. Sure I want the world to be a better place for me but more importantly, I want to leave a healthy planet for my children. With Craig’s help, all consumers will be able to make smarter and more environmentally sound purchases. As consumers speak with their dollars, companies will be forced to listen.

A look at the vision of Good Things Green helps us understand why Flax launched this project.

“This is simple. Consumers want to know what's in the stuff they're buying. We want to know if the people making our stuff are getting paid a living wage. We want to know if the companies selling the stuff we buy care about us, their employees and their suppliers. We are at the forefront of a new economy, a green economy. We're excited about the future and plan to be an engine that propels this new direction.”

As the nation moves towards a green economy, tools like Good Things Green will be an imperative part of keeping us, the consumers, involved. Good green jobs, a move towards renewable energy, sustainable supply chains – these are all a part of our nation’s move towards a sustainable economy.
So now that I’ve described a bit of the “why” behind the project, let’s get on to the “how”. The staff at Good Things Green, in collaboration with other industry experts, has created a comprehensive questionnaire that businesses can answer about both their company and their products. The survey was created by eco-experts and the answers will help Good Things Green provide a rating to the company and the product.

While the details of the survey are still under lock and key, Flax explained one important aspect of the Good Things Green survey —incorporating other industry labels. For example, Cradle-to-Cradle Certification (C2C) is widely recognized as the industry standard for lifecycle assessment. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the Good Things Green survey incorporates C2C certification and provides companies an extra credit point for their products that meet C2C certification.

Good Things Green recognizes these industry labels for their value and incorporates them into the overall GTG rating system. The end result is a single rating system that the customer can easily identify and easily interpret.

The GTG survey also looks beyond the direct environmental impact of a company or a product and also looks at social issues. Do managers have to meet corporate social responsibility goals? Is everyone in the company and the supply chain earning at least the legal minimum wage? The answers to questions like these are becoming more important to today’s consumers and GTG incorporates these issues into their ratings.

Since Good Things Green has not officially launched, some of the proprietary details about the survey are being kept under wraps. However, during our conversation Flax repeatedly touched on the importance of transparency. He assured me that when the Good Things Green rating system goes live, it will be with full transparency.

As consumers, we need to know how something is rated in order to make the best decision. Good Things Green will share the survey questions with the consumers as well as the way that the scores are weighted by the system. In this day and age of greenwashing, transparency is an integral part of rating system adoption. Flax and his team will give the consumers all of the information that they need to have in order to make an environmentally sound and informed decision about how they spend their hard-earned dollars.

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