UL Environment, a business unit of product safety certification organization Underwriters Laboratories, has announced the acquisition of GoodGuide, one of the world’s largest sources of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of consumer products.
GoodGuide’s data platform, which includes web and mobile interfaces, enables manufacturers and retailers to present their products while meeting growing consumer demand for transparency and more comprehensive product information.
GoodGuide boasts an online and mobile platform data on over 175,000 products and 5,000 companies. The platform allows users to find and choose products according to personally customizable search criteria such as organic content, energy efficiency and animal welfare.
The tool rates products and companies using a simple zero-to-10 rating system, with zero being bad for the environment and 10 being little environmental impact. GoodGuide’s web site highlights outdoors products manufacturer Patagonia, which it give a rating of 8.2, as a “high rated” brand. Polo by Ralph Lauren is noted as a low performer, with a GoodGuide score of 4.0.
The acquisition follows UL Environment’s May launch of a free web-based tool aimed at helping manufacturers assess their corporate sustainability efforts. The online tool was developed to help companies determine whether they can meet prerequisite and core indicators within the UL 880 standard’s five assessment areas – governance, environment, customers and supply chain, workforce and community engagement, and human rights. It is the latest component of the UL’s Sustainability Quotient Program, a system of auditable standards created last year to assess, rate and certify sustainability at the enterprise level.
Data from GoodGuide was used in the development of a “green” product web site launched by San Francisco’s Environment Department in 2010. The web site, www.SFApproved.org, lists more than 1,000 products and services that meet strict health and environmental standards developed by Environment Department specialists. Guidelines are available for a wide range of products, from janitorial cleaning products to light bulbs, to help businesses and consumers buy environmentally-friendly items. GoodGuide provided data for more than 60,000 chemicals in the screening process.