ByMadeleine Somerville

Aug 25, 2015
Fair Trade bananas

Natural. Sustainable. Eco-Friendly. Fair-Trade.

These are the golden words of 2015 – if you’re marketing a product and you put these hallowed terms on your product label – and maybe sneak “gluten-free” somewhere in there, too- your product is pretty much guaranteed to leap off the shelves and into the shopping baskets of conscious consumers everywhere.

But, have you ever wondered what it means? More than once, I’ve found myself staring at a product that can’t possibly be Eco-friendly, reading and re-reading the label boldly proclaiming it to be “All-Natural!” and wondering what the criteria were to be able to make that claim.

It can be incredibly discouraging, realizing the lengths companies go to to greenwash their products, and what’s more, it is incredibly time-consuming to devote hours to sifting through marketing claims, label jargon, and ingredient lists to determine whether a company is actually taking the environment into consideration during the sourcing, manufacturing, and sale of their product.

It’s disheartening and easy to see why so many just don’t bother.

Greener Square logoThis is where Greener Square comes in. This company is brand spankin new, founded in 2015, and its sole mission is to cut through greenwashing and Eco-friendly claims, and thoroughly research a product so that you don’t have to. Products are rated based on the following five metrics:

  • Sustainability
  • Ethical & Humane
  • Organic or Natural
  • Locally Sourced, and
  • Philanthropy (Whether the product gives back – either through donations or community support)

So, who are the brains behind this initiative? What are the qualifications of the people assigning product ratings? The initiative was conceptualized by the founder, who identifies himself simply, as Jake. Jake is an environmentalist who has studied ecology and biochemistry, and whose research endeavors have led him to environmental ethics, sustainable design and economics. Jake has assembled a team of like-minded individuals, specializing in everything from corporate sustainability to animal welfare. Together the team evaluates each product and assigns it a rating of:

  • 3/5 (Green)
  • 4/5 (Greener) or
  • 5/5 (Greenest)
Greener Square
Greener Square’s sole mission is to cut through greenwashing and thoroughly research products so that you don’t have to.

The best thing about Greener Square is that you can dig deeper into these trendy sounding labels (‘Sustainable”, “Humane”) to find out exactly what criteria were used to evaluate each product. This ensures that not only are you informed about what score each product receives, but how they earned that score, and what it means for you as a consumer.

A great example of a Greener Square certified company is Nava Pets, carried by the Earth911 store.. The company is committed to producing high-quality food, treats, and care products for the four-legged friends in your life, and their attention to quality means that most products sport three or four badges, and some, like their No Flea Bite Dog Treats have earned 5/5 – meaning they are Sustainable, Ethical and Humane, Organic or Natural, Locally Sourced, AND they give back to the community through their support of pet-based charities. Clicking on each badge on the Greener Square product listing will take you to the reason the company was awarded that certification – it’s so easy! 

GreenerSquare does the legwork for you, and that’s a good, green news for Eco-Friendly consumers everywhere.

Feature image courtesy of Lily


By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.