GREEN LIVING TIPS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREEN, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY, CONSCIOUS, ORGANIC, ETHICAL AND FAIR TRADE?
Green Living Tips
Green, Sustainable, Eco-Friendly, Conscious, Organic, Zero-Waste, Ethical, Fair Trade. We hear these words used a lot by brands, and in the media, but are you sure exactly what they all mean, how best to use them or which ones you identify with the most?
We don’t believe that green living means that you have to strictly follow a set of guidelines where everything you do or buy falls with all of these categories (life has it’s up and downs after all), but we want to ensure that you have all the tips and information to help you to reduce your environmental impact as much as you possibly can.
With so much green terminology being thrown around in day-to-day conversation, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed (and to be honest we do too sometimes!). After all, it’s often hard to see exactly how that big name brand selling very cheap clothes is ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’.
The problem is, most of these terms are not strict legal or certified definitions so they can technically used in any way that fits. However, there as small differences in their definitions which we feel are important for you to be aware of along your journey.
To ease any confusion and help you to make the best choices possible, we’ve put together an easy to follow directory of these terms and their definitions below.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREEN, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY, CONSCIOUS, ORGANIC, ETHICAL AND FAIR TRADE?
“relating to the protection of the environment”
Green and eco-friendly are often used in very similar ways but green is really the overarching term when it comes to the protection of the environment and everything that benefits it, from the way we live, to businesses, to products and fashion.
“designed to do the least possible damage to the environment”
Eco-friendly or environmentally-friendly is a term focused more towards the products that we use to or the actions that we take to be (as it sounds) as friendly to the environment as we possibly can be.
“causing little or no damage to the environment therefore able to continue for a long time”
Sustainable and sustainably refers to the way in with the human race and the planet coexist alongside each other. It is often used in reference to production of good or materials, and the way in which that effects the biosphere. For example, production of clothes which is less damaging to the planet in the carbon footprint it leaves behind, or the amount of water it uses etc., meaning that production can continue for a long period of time is seen as sustainable.
“noticing the existence of something – determined and intentional”
In the modern age, the term ‘conscious’ refers to consumer awareness and high standards regarding health and the environment. A conscious consumer will be aware of their impact on the environment and the impact certain products have on their health and will make very intentional decisions accordingly.
“not using artificial chemicals in the growing of plants and animals for food and other products”
Organic food is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals which are toxic and harmful to the environment. Organic farmers will also use practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.
“generating little or no waste a zero-waste event zero-waste manufacturing”
Zero waste refers to the “production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health” (– ZWIA). The goal is for no waste from production or use to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.
“being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession”
Ethical companies will ensure that they meet a set of rules which adhere to the correct standard of conduct or practices. This can include; ensuring that workers are provided a safe working environment, appropriate working hours and paid fair wages; the company is taking steps to offset their carbon footprint, giving back to the community or reducing their environmental impact; the transparency of the company; or ensuring responsibility of the companies supply chain.
“a way of buying and selling products that makes certain that the people who produce the goods receive a fair price”
The term fair trade refers to a transactional agreement designed for producers in developing countries to achieve the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. The goal of this is to transform the supply chain so that fair prices are paid to the producers, and companies are able to provide workers with a stable income that can help to improve their lives. This is often an arrangement between first world buyers and third world suppliers.
We hope that helps you to understand your green journey a little bit better – let us know in the comments below.