How My Conscience, My Choice Selects its Products to Recommend
To be recommended, the product must meet these 5 product criteria:
- Cruelty-free: Certified/Endorsed/ Cruelty-Free researched
- Clean Ingredients
- Brand Transparency
- Product Performance
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term “cruelty-free,” companies can make any animal testing claims they wish on their packaging and websites. One of the following sources or rationales is used if a product is recommended as a cruelty-free alternative on the My Conscience, My Choice website.
- Certification of cruelty-free status via a Leaping Bunny Logo as granted by The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics Leaping Bunny Program (http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php)
- Statement of cruelty-free statues via the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Caring Consumer Program (http://www.peta.org/about/learn-about-peta/caring-consumer-program.aspx)
Note that in some instances, the products that display the logos mentioned above may have parent companies that are not cruelty-free. It is your choice if you do not to want to provide any supportive revenue that could filter up to the parent companies; however, we believe it is a great start to direct revenue to any cruelty-free enterprise – ESPECIALLY when your choice is to purchase a cruelty-free product in lieu of an animal tested or animal derived product. That said, recommendations of products that have cruelty-free parents are of course sought out first.
- My Conscience, My Choice has selected the product which has a European manufacturer with a cruelty-free claim. The European Union has regulatory laws related to animal testing in cosmetics that are different from the United States and have become progressively more stringent. The testing ban on finished cosmetic products has been applicable since 11 September 2004; the testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients has been applicable since 11 March 2009. In 2013, the legislative proposal is to ban any animal-tested cosmetic for marketing in the European Union. For further information, see the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/files/pdf/animal_testing/final_report_at_en.pdf
- My Conscience, My Choice has researched (which includes contacting the company or brand owner about its manufacturing practices and agreements with its suppliers) and selected the product which is new to market and as such it does not yet have a familiar affiliation or endorsement from either 1) or 2) above. The product is not confirmed vegan and may have an independently run parent company and affiliates.
- My Conscience, My Choice has researched and selected the product which is new to market and as such it does not yet have a familiar affiliation or endorsement from 1) or 2) above. The product is vegan and may have an independently run parent company and affiliates.
- My Conscience, My Choice has researched and selected the product. The product ingredients are vegan with or without a possible independently run parent company.
In addition, ingredients should be free of animal by-products. All recommendations are vegan, with the exception of a handful which may or may not contain beeswax (and this is noted accordingly).
Eco-Friendly and Fairly Produced
The term “eco-friendly” has been used for so many different products and practices, its meaning is in danger of being lost. Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment . This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources.
Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem. Organic ingredients or materials are grown without toxic pesticides or herbicides. Products with “made from recycled materials” contain glass, wood, metal or plastic reclaimed from waste products and made into something new. Biodegradable products break down through natural decomposition, which is less taxing on landfills and the ecosystem as a whole. (Source)
In addition, product packaging is a factor. The product should be in a recyclable, biodegradable or re-useable container, BPA-free or if contained in paper packaging, recycled paper and FSC-certified packaging is preferred. Of course, minimal packaging is preferred if the contained product is protected in a secondary vessel.
If applicable, fair labor and trade practices are sought out for commoditized agricultural ingredients.
My Conscience, My Choice also seeks to feature products from any organization that is a Certified B Corporation®. B Corporations are certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Another trusted standard is having a Green Business Certification from Green America.
Only after eco-friendly practices and cruelty-free status is established (either via the industry gold-standard, CCIC Leaping Bunny logo, PETA-based endorsement, or application provider endorsement based on research and company contact as mentioned above), products are then recommended based on:
o Analysis of EVERY SINGLE ingredient, including packaging ingredients; looking up and researching any unknown ingredients
o User testing and commentaries
o Retail purchase reviews
o Performance of suggested product (which must be on par with or better than the commonly purchased product).
Having organic ingredients is preferred and sought out. Organic refers to the way agricultural products food and fiber are grown and processed. Organic food production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. Note that for personal care and cosmetic products that a “cruelty free” designation by the manufacturer does not mean that the product must have organic ingredients, though this is often the case with a mindful brand. Is there an official definition of “organic”? The following excerpt is from the definition of “organic” that the National Organic Standards Board adopted in April 1995: “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.” What does “Certified Organic” mean? “Certified Organic” means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set. (Source)
In addition to certified organic, a product gets validated for being having Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients.
My Conscience, My Choice will also consult with ratings given by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their product database, if available, and, considers those ratings when the product itself is rated lower than a “C” rating, and when those ratings are based on confirmed data and ingredient use that is in accordance with the related data.
Lastly, product ingredients should be vegan (an exception is that sometimes a product that contains beeswax will be recommended if there is not a better alternative that exists).
Every featured recommended alternative is personally tested. Major retail sites are consulted to assess other consumers’ reviews and feedback. Occasionally, very select and trusted “research blogger” reviews are also consulted (i.e., those that that dedicate their posts to researching the veracity of a company’s clean-ingredients and/or updates on cruelty-free status). These will often include, for example: The Hub of Clean Living, Logical Harmony and Vida Compassion: live your life compassionately: www.vidacompassion.org.)
My Conscience, My Choice operates out of New Jersey’s first Platinum LEED Certified condo building. We operate in principal and practice as a Green America certified company every day.