A web tool released this week gives online shoppers an easy way to get information about the health, environmental and social performance of products.
Once installed, the "Transparency Toolbar" appears at the bottom of a web browser and instantly reveals GoodGuide's product ratings on sites like Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com, with additional retail sites to come.
You'll be able to see whether products pass or fail on key criteria such as nutrition, safe and healthy ingredients, energy efficiency, climate change, animal testing, and labor and human rights.
The Toolbar also displays personalized product recommendations, pricing information and user reviews, and only appears when shopping. At other times when surfing the web, shoppers won't see it.
Its "controversial ingredients" filter will screen out products that contain controversial chemicals such as artificial colors or fragrances, or contain suspected hazardous chemicals such as BPA or triclosan, or known hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate.
Because peoples' buying decisions are based on price, quality and accessibility, in addition to sustainability considerations, the Transparency Toolbar displays all of this information in a single interface that appears when people are deciding which products to "add to cart."
"The Transparency Toolbar puts power back in the hands of consumers to decide which products are right for them," says Dara O'Rourke, GoodGuide's co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer. "Companies often make unsubstantiated marketing claims about the merits of their products without fully revealing their ingredients or the business practices behind their production. The Transparency Toolbar helps consumers see through the marketing. It filters out products that don't measure up and quickly points consumers toward ones that do."
A mobile app will help people find products that reflect their personal preferences and values when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
The Transparency Toolbar is free to install and is compatible with Firefox and Chrome browsers. Versions for Internet Explorer and Safari are in development. The toolbar currently works when shopping on sites such as Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com.