Since April holds both Earth Day and Arbor day, I think it's a good month to be especially conscious of environmental concerns and social responsibility, two topics that, in my mind, go hand-in-hand. I try to be Earth-Friendly and Socially-Responsible in my daily life, but sometimes I forget that where and how I spend my money can contribute either to responsible or irresponsible practices. Like positive reinforcement, giving your money to a company encourages them to continue behaving in a particular way. There are a lot of companies out there with such beautiful, responsible, sustainable behavior, that I kind of want to throw my money at them, but you don't necessarily have to spend all of your time researching every manufacturer you encounter in order to find the ones with exceptionally good contributions to making a better world. There are many organizations out there that do the legwork for you, providing certifications that are often visible on the packaging of the products you buy. Here are a few of those certifications and what they mean.

"Certified B Corporations redefine success in business. Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency,
and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Collectively, B Corps lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good. Through the power of their collective voice, one day all companies will compete to be best for the worldTM, and society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity for all."

Some of the B-Corps who provide our products are Badger Balm, E O Products, Mama Chia, New Chapter, NurtureMe, Numi, Hilary's Eat Well, Alter Eco, Plum Organics, Sencha Naturals, thinksport, Seventh Generation, Madhava Sweeteners, Runa Clean Energy, The Honest Company, Kabrita, Traditional Medicinals, ecover, Garden of Life, Beanfields, Preserve, Organic India, Guayaki, Nutiva, Babo Botanicals, Happy Family Brands, King Arthur Flour, Good Clean Love, Lotus Foods, and Manitoba Harvest. Even our primary supplier, KeHe, is a certified B-Corp!

Every one of these companies have some phenomenal stories to tell. 

From " supports three types of carbon offset projects [Renewable Energy & Methane Projects, Energy Efficiency & Carbon Credits Projects, and Reforestation & Avoided Deforestation Projects]; each type plays an important role in the fight against climate change. The projects we support are third-party certified to meet the same high standards that thousands of companies, organizations, and governments rely on to ensure quality environmental protection." 

According to their website, Florida Crystals’ CarbonFree certification is unique, because unlike other manufacturers who rely on the purchase of carbon credits from third parties, they were able to supply their products’ carbon neutrality through the production and supply of renewable electricity, operating a renewable energy facility that produces clean energy to power their sugar operations and tens of thousands of homes. By generating renewable energy renewable biomass fuel instead of fossil fuels, Florida Crystals eliminates hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 per year. Additionally, by reusing biomass waste as fuel to produce renewable energy, they conserve valuable landfill space each year.

From "In 1996, eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), which promotes a single comprehensive standard for 'cruelty-free' or 'animal friendly' products, designated by the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo to make shopping for animal friendly products easier and more trustworthy."

Some of our Leaping Bunny Certified brands are Acure, Badger Balm, Better Life, Biokleen, Bull Dog, Cadia, Crystal Body Deoderants, Desert Essence, Dr. Bronners, Dr. Woods, Earth Friendly, Ecover, Emerita, E O, Giovanni, Hain Celestial, JĀSÖN, Kiss My Face, Mineral Fusion... I could go on all day.

From: "The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Products bearing the seal originate on--or contain ingredients sourced from--Rainforest Alliance Certified farms or forests. These farms and forests are managed according to rigorous environmental, social and economic criteria designed to conserve wildlife; safeguard soils and waterways; protect workers, their families and local communities; and increase livelihoods in order to achieve true, long-term sustainability.

We have both coffees and chocolates that are Rainforest Alliance Certified, including Endangered Species Chocolate, Salazon, Justin's, Ancora Coffee, and more.

From "The aim of the Fair for Life Social & Fair Trade Certification Programme is to ensure fair and positive relations between producers and their cooperatives or contracting companies, between workers and their employer, between sellers and buyers on the world market while at the same time ensuring performance of standards. Fair for Life goes beyond traditional fair trade by applying fair trade principles also to relevant domestic or regional trade and by requiring ethical working conditions along the entire trade chain. Fair for Life certified products are only handled by companies that demonstrate decent working conditions for all their staff. Fair for Life brand holder companies commit to fair sourcing practices and responsibilities towards their primary producers down the commodity chain. Fair for Life certification of products also confirms traceability of all certified products from production to sales."

From "The FAIRTRADE Marks are the globally recognized symbols of the international Fairtrade system. When you buy products with any of the FAIRTRADE Marks, you support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and their communities. Products bearing these Marks meet the internationally-agreed social, environmental and economic Fairtrade Standards. The FAIRTRADE Marks are registered trademarks owned and licensed by Fairtrade International." 

We stock many products that are certified Fair Trade, from body care to grocery. We think that purchasing responsibly-sourced products goes a long way toward making our home planet a better place for all.

In addition to certifications, many companies contribute to phenomenal projects like Project Plant a Tree, Trees for the Future, Bright Pink, Teens Turning Green,, Farmland Trust, The Center for Ecoliteracy, Ecotrust, EWG, Bioneers, Farm Aid, Green America, Healthy Child Healthy World, Heifer International, Holistic Moms Network, Land Stewardship Project, Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, Waterkeeper Alliance, SHE-CAN Scholarships and Vital Voices Global Partnership. We love discovering the awesome ways our products contribute to a better planet.

What are some of your favorite socially responsible companies or products?