Horizon Organic Milk has a worse environmental track record than Nesquik Strawberry Milk? Nature’s Gate Baby Soothing Shampoo is more toxic than Suave for Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo? These and other shocking facts about the products around us–from household cleaners to toys to food–are being drilled into consumers thanks to GoodGuide, a startup founded by Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California, Berkeley. O’Rourke set out to sift through the health, environmental, and social profiles of everyday products and the companies that manufacture them, distilling hundreds of pieces of data into a simple 10-point rating system accessible on goodguide.com and a bar-code-scanning iPhone app. So far, his team has rated 75,000. “Our goal is to first inform the public,” says O’Rourke, “but ultimately it’s to improve the products–reduce toxic chemicals, sweatshop labor, carbon and water impact–and change company behavior.” It’s working: Companies such as Clorox, Method, and SC Johnson are looking for help with their ratings, so GoodGuide is launching a Manufacturer’s Portal with data it collects on supply chains.
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