by Saori Lau
How do you know if a brand is truly ethical? Nowadays, many companies will engage in what is known as “greenwashing,” a marketing strategy where brands claim to be eco-friendly, sustainable, or ethically sourced when they aren’t. As a consumer who wants to make a difference through their choices, it can be hard to determine whether a brand’s claims are true or not, so here are some tips on how to check if a company is actually ethical.
1. Every Brand Should be Certified
Third-party certifications can validate a company’s claim. For example, Arrow and Stem’s supplier is FSC and BSCI certified, meaning our products are sourced from responsibly managed forests and take into account its social, economic, and environmental impact.
How to Check for Certifications
Look at a brand’s website and social media pages to see if they have any certifications.
To learn more, you can visit the third-party’s homepage for details on its certification requirements.
2. They Should Be Visible on Guides
Sometimes, it can be hard to check every single product to see how ethical it really is or to even understand all the terms that a brand uses. Having a guide that breaks down all the figures can be an easy way to learn more.
How to Search for Guides
Type words like “consumer guide” or “ethical guide” as well as the company’s name to find them. The Good Shopping Guide is a great example of this as they audit and research different brands based on how ethical their practices are on different categories including the environment and people. Arrow and Stem is currently in the process of getting accredited on their guide.
*Keep in mind, while very useful for large brands, these guides don’t include all companies, but that isn’t necessarily indicative of how truthful their claims are.
3. The Website Should Reflect Eco-Friendliness
A brand might not include all of its information on their social media posts or advertisements. Visit their website for specific details on their products or how they operate.
How To Access their Website
Their website is usually linked on their social media pages or can be easily googled. Take a look at the company’s website and read their “About Us” section, their FAQ, or even their blogs to find out more.
4. If You Don’t Know…Ask
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to a brand! Some specifics might not be readily available on every company’s website so asking can provide direct answers to any concerns
How To Contact
Most brands will include a phone number or a “Contact” section on their homepage where you can email them about any questions you have.. Questions about where they source their materials or whether any third-party sites have information about them can be a good start in determining how ethical they are.