I love that my choice to quit aluminum-laden antiperspirants sparked lots of comments and conversations about how to live greener and cleaner.
In case you missed the original post, here it is, along with a follow up post on making your own laundry detergent.
One thing that kept coming up in the comments was people mentioning companies that they used but saying that they didn’t know whether the companies “green washed” their product or whether it was actually a green product. A green product by my definition is one that factors in the health of the consumer and their impact on the planet in EVERY decision they make, from how the ingredients were grown to how the product is packaged. Fair trade, organic, local, and chemical free are just the beginning. Oh yeah, and I like it when they pledge at least a little bit of profit to organizations that are committed to making this a safer, greener, and cleaner world.
I did a little research into the most common companies mentioned in the comments to see if they were practicing what they preach. Okay, “research” is a bit of a stretch. Nearly all the information I read came from the companies own website, which is of course spun to make them look incredible. But it’s useful nonetheless because what a company decides to highlight about themselves can tell you a lot about their ethics.
It was fun to snoop around the websites for the four following companies, especially Dr. Bronners and Tom’s of Maine. I’ve been using both companies’ products since I was a kid and always assumed they were good through and through but I just didn’t know how good.
Mission Statement: “We believe in healthy skin, a healthy world, and a healthier environment.”
Animal Testing: No
Transparency: Two thumbs up. The detailed FAQ’s on the website answers questions about everything from parabens to packaging.
Green Factor: I like the “healthier environment” part of the mission but it seems to pertain mostly to the ingredients they choose, not an effort to offset their carbon footprint. The FAQ’s page does mention that they keep packaging to a minimum for cost and environmental reasons.
Quality of Product: I have been using derma-e’s Very Clear moisturizer for over a year now and I love it. As a frugal gal I first balked at the $20 price tag for a little tube of lotion but you only need a very small amount and one tub has lasted me since October 2010 (I use it 3-4 times a week).
Tom’s of Maine
Mission Statement: Tom’s website has a detailed, lovely, and heartfelt mission statement outlining their ethics, sense of environmental stewardship, and dedication to the health of the consumer. My favorite part was what I feel should guide every company; “We believe our company can be financially successful while behaving in a socially responsible and environmentally sensitive manner.” (source)
Animal Testing: No way.
Transparency: The 6 pages of FAQ’s should be able to satisfactorily answer just about question you have about their products!
Green Factor: I love the extent of detail on the website and I don’t even want to paraphrase it, read it here for yourself.
Quality: Tom’s offers a good product, nothing fancy but quality nonetheless.
Mission Statement: Dr. Bronner was a, umm, colorful man but his tenets are beautiful statements; “constructive capitalism is where you share the profit with the workers and the earth from which you made it!” and “we are all brothers and sister and we should take care of each other and spaceship earth”. I couldn’t agree more Dr. B!
Animal Testing: Nope.
Transparency: The information on the activism page of the website gave me goosebumps: just read it.
Green Factor: Dr. Bronner’s is a huge proponent of labeling for genetically engineered organisms and for stricter regulations on organic standards for cosmetics.
Quality: I think of Dr. Bronner’s as the beans of the product world; beans taste good, are nutritious, versatile, and get the job done but they’re nothing fancy, just good, solid food.
Other: Dr. Bronner’s has a special place in my heart because I grew up scrubbing my body with it every shower and I am thrilled to know that this company knows the meaning of the words natural and sustainable. I will be a customer for life!
Mission Statement: Holy impressive mission statement! This company promotes exactly what I am looking for, products that are “powered by principle” .
Animal Testing: Opposed to animal testing
Transparency: Dr. Hauschka’s detailed website includes explanations for why they choose certain ingredients and where those ingredients are grown. It also stands behind their reasoning behind each ingredient, including talc which it detail is asbestos free. I give Dr. H a big “hooray” for transferency and education!
Green Factor: Whoa! I am totally impressed with the biodynamic agricultural practices and commitment to “well-being” for the planet and the consumer. The website states that the company is against genetic manipulations (GMO’s) and that they use glass containers when possible because they are the easiest to recycle and do not leach toxins into the product.
Quality: I haven’t used this brand before so I can’t speak from experience but gauging from the companies dedication to details I would say it’s a high quality product.
Other: These products are pricey for me but I am willing to give them a shot because I appreciate and respect the companies mission.
*Price: $= average product under $15
$$=average product under $25
$$$=average product more than $25
I am happy to conclude that all four of these companies preach high standards and a commitment to the health of the consumer and the planet. I’m a proud customer of 3 out of 4 of them (so far I’m too cheap for Dr. Hauschka without knowing that I love the product).