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The Green Life: This New Toolbar Kills Greenwashing

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August 18, 2011

This New Toolbar Kills Greenwashing

Greenkey Every online shopper knows the feeling. You're sitting at your computer, clicker hovering over the "Submit Order" button, index finger trembling. To buy or not to buy?

Even if you love the product and have the money, it's hard for eco-conscious shoppers to make the commitment click. It seems like every item that hits the shelves today claims to be green, but very few actually are. How's an environmentalist supposed to trust that their purchases really are taking care of the Earth?

GoodGuide's new "Transparency Toolbar" aims to make cutting through the B.S. as easy as glancing at the bottom of your screen. After downloading the toolbar (it's free and compatible with Firefox and Chrome), the idea is, you'll never again be left floating amid the sea of greenwash. The toolbar, which only pops up when you visit an online shop, lets you know whether the product you're viewing is easy on the planet, based on information culled from an array of criteria.

Like an ethical post-it note, the toolbar gives a concise summary of how a product aligns with your values with respect to energy efficiency, climate change, and many other factors. It also gives items a "pass" or "fail" rating and suggests more sustainable alternatives. If you're still on the fence about buying your doodad, you can read product reviews from like-minded customers.

As for filtering out environmental poseurs in the real world, check out Futerra Sustainability's Greenwash Guide (PDF) or read this. With a bit of effort, you can make sure that when you're voting with your dollars, you're protecting the planet.

--Colin Griffin

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