Oh, if only…
If only Natural, Organic and Ethical came hand in hand. Life would be easier, shopping would become a little
simpler, and everyone involved in the entire process of what we are
purchasing—from food to foundation— would be treated in a way we could all
smile about.
Unknowingly doing so, I tend to associate each label with
one particular genre of item. When it comes to produce at the grocery store I
look for Organic, with lotions and potions* (*read- makeup) anything Natural is
ideal, and Ethical is how I source my clothing keeping in mind the A-F grading
system of Free2Work.
Why do I have these dividers in my mind? I don’t really have
a specific answer. After contemplating the possible responses all I find as a
reasonable answer is this is how we have been fed information—through streams
of now trendy descriptors on the items we view as necessities for our lives
which we easily spend cash on. When I think of the information I am given via
my twitter feed, conversations I have, and places I shop and visit, it is clear
which buzzwords are making their way around how we categorize our standards for
what we purchase. If you want to eat healthy, buy organic. If you want your
skin to look 10 years younger and for your makeup to look flawless, go for
something natural. If you want to ensure children in factories with poor
working conditions aren’t making the clothes you wear, shop at places that sell
ethical clothing.
While there are definitely terms that combine a few of these
items from separate food, clothing, beauty product categories into a mashed
category of items we believe and want to trust—think Fair Trade—it becomes
clear that the division of these categories comes from basic knowledge at face
value, rather than in-depth research and education out of genuine interest of
learning more.
Image courtesy of Google Search.
I had never given much thought to the possibility of the
three being combined into one super label. It’s the idea of a superhero that
has a triad of epic powers— like as if Thor, Captain America and Iron Man from
The Avengers were one awesome individual. Or the classic Batman and Superman in
one…with the addition of some other superhero with an awesome power (Hero’s are
not something I would say I am particularly knowledgeable in).
Could you imagine?
I would love walk into a store like H&M and know that
their “conscious collection” line of clothing is actually tri-label
conscious—not just organic cotton but organic cotton treated naturally with
ethical standards for those who created the item—from those picking the cotton
to those sewing the final tags on. H&M does have a B+ rating on Free2Work,
and their website does talk about how they would like their business operations
to be run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally
sustainable. For those reasons, I believe they are taking a step in the right
Companies like Alba Botanica first off, has lovely hair
conditioner, but also strives to provide products that contain natural, organic
and cruelty-free ingredient alternatives which are 100% vegetarian. What if
they also ensured the individuals harvesting their plant based alternatives
were receiving fair wages and other basics of ethical treatment? They make no
mention of this on their website, so perhaps they do, but a point like that is
something a company should be all over displaying on their website in our
current culture which is just starting to be aware of these practices as a rule
to business growth and development.
Lush’s We Believe Statement
taken from their website.
One company I am currently crushing on is Lush for their
attention to all three categories—Natural, Organic and Ethical. In their lovely
“We Believe” statement they clearly state what they stand for as a company. You
can also look more in-depth into their claims of using Fresh, Natural, Organic
and Ethically Sourced ingredients on their website. One of my favourite parts
of Lush is their Ethical Buying Team which travel to where their ingredients
are sourced to ensure their ethical standards are met and kept. How wonderful!
I find myself whisked away in a dream where all companies
adapt the Lush mentality and all consumers make thoughtful and educated
decision on the items they use their buying power to purchase. This isn’t a
dream world with lollipop trees, cotton candy clouds, and talking animals
handing you the latest cruelty free makeup. This world doesn’t have a happy
hobbit farmer giving you smiling organic veggies freshly picked from his garden
and a cotton field with a connecting sewing machine that magically, and with no
harmful emissions, pumps out an ethically made sweater that fits you just
perfectly—convenient since it’s fall.
The world I picture looks the same as our own but with all
businesses operating under the premise of these three labels—natural, organic
and ethical. It’s a world where the lack of an individual’s knowledge or
education about the aforementioned standards would be irrelevant to the impact
of the purchase. A purchase would be a purchase made for good. Always. Any and
all impact would consistently be positive—whether you would know it or not.
It’s impossible to read that last line and not have a sly smile slide onto your
face. It’s inspiring, whimsical and motivating. Let us encourage business
owners we know personally (and those we don’t) to step up and embrace the three
standards in question openly, being innovators and trendsetters in their field.
Let us encourage those we know well (and those we don’t) to do their research
and support companies that are already pioneering what it means to have ethical
standards in their companies.

Really, it’s all up to us. What we choose to support now
sets the trends and standards for the future. Let’s be the superheroes
embracing the triad of super powers and use them to positively impact the