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Sustainability Symbols: What are they, and why do they matter?

As shoppers, we come across plenty of sustainability symbols. But it can be pretty tough to figure out what they actually mean. So we’ve decided to fix this. To better equip you to tell the good from the bad on your next food shop.

Before we go ahead, it is important to understand a term that crops up a lot when companies are ‘looking to be seen as green’ rather than actually being green and having the credentials to back it up. It’s known as Greenwashing:

when a company or organisation uses advertising gimmicks intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands’.

It’s easy to misinterpret what packaging symbols mean. But as members of the Scrapp Community, we’d love for you to be able to see past this smokescreen and make truly sustainable choices. So pay attention, let’s begin.

B-Corps

Certified B Corps are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good. Scrapp is striving for this recognition ourselves, and we hope to get there as we grow a

1% for the planet

Members of this international organization contribute at least one per cent of their annual sales to environmental causes. Their mission is to “build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.” One Percent for the Planet members assist nonprofit organizations that protect land, forests, rivers, oceans and also encourage sustainable methods of energy production.

Rainforest Alliance

The international non-governmental organization (NGO) based in New York City and Amsterdam operates in more than 60 countries. Founded in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance’s main work is providing an environmental certification for sustainability in forestry, agriculture, and tourism. Its certificate seal gives information to consumers about business practices based on certain standards they set.

Fairtrade

The Fairtrade Foundation is a charity based in the United Kingdom, with international outreach. Working to empower disadvantaged producers in developing countries by tackling injustice in conventional trade and setting a global standard for proper trading compliance.

There are four key areas of the Fairtrade Foundation. Providing independent certification of the trade chain for products and licensing use of the Fairtrade Mark on products as a consumer guarantee. Growing demand for Fairtrade products and supporting producers to sell to traders and retailers. Working with partners to support producer organisations and their networks. Raising awareness of the need for fair trade in the public and the role of the Fairtrade Mark in making trade fair.

The Leaping Bunny

The Leaping Bunny Logo is the only internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used to develop any product displaying it. The Logo can be seen on packaging, advertising, and websites for cosmetics and household products worldwide.

Friend of the Earth & Friend of the Sea

Friend of the Sea is currently a project of the World Sustainability Organization, an international trademark registered with humanitarian and environmental conservation missions.

Friend of the Sea has become the leading sustainable seafood certification standard for products and services that protect the marine environment. The certification awards sustainable practices in Fisheries, Aquaculture, Fishmeal and Omega 3 Fish Oil. Friend of the Sea also promotes pilot projects related to restaurants, sustainable shipping, whale and dolphin-watching, aquaria, ornamental fish, UV creams, etc.

Another part of the World Sustainability Organization is the sister trademark of Friends of the Sea, Friend of the Earth. This is a pledge by brands that prioritize the safeguarding of ecosystems. Through the protection of wild fauna and flora, protection of soil and water resources, prohibition of the use of dangerous substances, responsible waste and energy management, social responsibility of the whole chain and legal compliance, they put our ecosystems first, rather than exploit them.

Soil Association

Founded in 1946, the soil association is a charity based in the United Kingdom. Their work involves campaigning on issues like opposition to intensive farming, support for local purchasing and public education on nutrition, and the certification of organic food.

So, there are just a few symbols to look out for when you’re next purchasing from your favourite brands and products. Symbols that prove you’re making the most bang for your buck and green for your green.

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