Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear
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Between the desire to buy products with the least impact on the planet and actually making a purchase is a whole lot of jargon and marketing spin. You could spend hours researching it all before shopping for every T-shirt—or you can just look for a few key logos.

Higg Index

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Mostly a brand tool right now, within the next five years the Higg Index will appear on product labels, making it easy to compare the social and environmental impact of two T-shirts, just like you do the nutrition on two kinds of cereal. The index assesses everything from materials sourcing to factory conditions, energy use to transporting finished goods. apparelcoalition.org

B-Corp

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

These for-profit companies place social and environmental responsibility above profits. They voluntarily subject every aspect of their business to third-party auditing by the nonprofit B Lab. bcorporation.net

Responsible Down Standard

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Some farms that raise geese and ducks for feathers and down practice live-plucking and force-feeding, byproducts of the meat industry. RDS certification traces the feathers and down to inspected farms that treat their birds humanely. responsibledown.org

Responsible Wool Standard

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Similar to the down standard, this is a new certification that tracks sheep wool from farm to factory. It’s an assurance that farmers follow best practises in animal treatment and land management. Until this standard becomes more common, look for wool that comes from farms that don’t practice mulesing, a pest-control measure that animal rights groups consider cruel to sheep. responsiblewool.org

Fair Trade

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

The Fair Trade logo vouches that workers involved in making the product receive fair wages for their work and their employers provide safe working conditions and community development funds. fairtrade.ca

Bluesign

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Focused on the textile industry, Bluesign works with suppliers to help them reduce their ecological footprint, mostly by eliminating harmful chemicals, but also by better managing energy, water and air emissions and safety. bluesign.com

Certified Organic

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Certified organic means farmers raise crops—in the outdoor industry, probably cotton or hemp—without the use of chemical insecticides, pesticides or fertilizers and the crop wasn’t genetically modified. The difference can be dramatic. Growing cotton organically reduces energy use by 62 per cent and water from irrigation by 91 per cent. inspection.gc.ca

1% for the Planet

Go Green: How To Decode Eco-Labels on Outdoor Gear

Members donate one per cent of every sale to outdoor and environmental initiatives. Each company chooses their own recipients. 1% for the Planet audits both the donor and receiver to ensure the money goes to worthy causes with clear goals. onepercentfortheplanet.org  

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