Did you know your dollars have the power to support positive change? Spending your money in ways that align with your values makes a difference for yourself and the causes close to your heart, while staying within your budget.
The new year is the ideal time to think about how you can make a difference, and one way is to look for little labels on products you buy that stand for the changes you want to see in the world. This is particularly important in 2023 as more people look at their budgets and make thoughtful choices about food and other products they purchase.
In fact, research shows about half of American seafood consumers (49% in the USA) say ecolabels on products raise their trust and confidence in the brand. However, product claims can be confusing, which is why 65% demand that retailers’ and brands’ claims about sustainability and the environment be clearly labeled and third-party verified.
To demystify product labels so you can shop smart and support people, the planet and prosperity, here are three labels to look for at the store:
The blue fish label: The MSC blue fish label makes it easy for you to identify seafood that meets the world’s leading standard for sustainable fishing. With this label, you have the power to help end overfishing and protect our ocean so it can feed generations to come.
Where to look: One of the most common places to look for this label is canned fish, like tuna. From the seafood counter, to canned or pouched fish, to frozen seafood, and even pet food and supplements, look for the blue fish label from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
The orange butterfly label: Many people have become more aware of the impacts of genetically modified organisms, commonly called GMOs. In buying products with the butterfly label, sustainability-minded shoppers will know they’re truly avoiding GMOs.
Where to look: Processed foods — especially those containing corn, soy and sugar derivatives — dairy, meat and eggs, fruit and vegetables, snack foods, vitamins and supplements, vegetable oils, body care products and more can carry the butterfly label from the Non-GMO Project.
The blue and green farmer label: Farming is the world’s largest industry, employing more than one billion people around the world. Purchasing goods with the Fairtrade America logo is an easy way to know that the ingredients were grown following Fairtrade’s rigorous environmental, social and economic standards that prioritize a fairer deal for farmers and workers.
Where to look: This logo can be found on items like coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas and other produce, cotton and more. By buying Fairtrade products, you are also helping to create a future where farmers get paid a fair price for their goods, workers’ rights are protected, women thrive and the environment is prioritized.
Fairtrade America, the MSC and Non-GMO Project are all nonprofit organizations driven by their collective mission to change how food is harvested or made in order to better serve people and the planet. Fairtrade has been operating internationally since 1989, MSC’s sustainable fishing standard has been in effect since 1998, and Non-GMO Project has been verifying products since 2010.
How do products get these labels?
Labels like Fairtrade, MSC Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified represent rigorous standards with requirements that need to be followed in order to use the label. This may require regular audits, laboratory testing and supply chain accountability that allows for “identity preservation.” That typically requires the strict separation of ingredients or products that are compliant with the standards from ingredients that are not.
You can make a difference simply in how you spend your hard-earned money. By looking for little labels like these, you can make a big impact and feel good about how you shop.