We founded LeafScore with a simple mission: help consumers make purchasing decisions that are climate friendly and sustainable.
By drawing attention to brands that take their environmental impact seriously, we hope to play a small part in empowering the climate conscious among us to “vote with our dollars” for more eco-friendly products, good, and services.
In doing this work, we have to evaluate hundreds and thousands of products, and assign them Leaf Scores based on our internal sustainability metrics. As a general rule, this evaluation process does not involve ordering all of these products online and testing them directly.
The only time we have products shipped to us for testing is when a team member plans on using the product herself in daily life. We have also decided as an organization not to accept free products from brands unless we can use them as we would any other purchase.
Why is this our policy?
Because we recognize the existential threat of climate change.
E-commerce convenience comes with a massive carbon footprint. And in order to evaluate the sustainability of a product, pouring over corporate records, evaluating packaging, emailing brands directly, taking a hard look at the environmental impact of materials used, and studying eco-certifications are far more effective than simply testing a product for a few minutes.
For more on the climate impact of e-commerce shipping, see:
- Amazon is creating an empire of trash
- E-commerce is on a collision course with climate change
- Amazon generates millions of pounds of plastic waste
- Why your Amazon box is going straight into the trash
- E-commerce and climate change
- E-commerce has a climate change problem
If climate change is the threat we believe it is, having hundreds of items shipped to a location so they can be tested by people with no plans to use them, as many review sites do, is not a sustainable business practice.
Perhaps some sites that operate this way place all of the items they order with people who can put them to good use, but no one is perfect, and many online reviews generate tremendous waste. For example, the stories of mattress review sites having to discard new mattresses (after receiving too many) goes against our mission of respecting natural resources and reducing waste.
By ordering, and receiving, fewer items, we reduce the packaging, fuel, and shipping costs associated with our growing e-commerce industry.
When a LeafScore team member has used an item in their everyday lives, you will see a “Staff Tested” notation on the review itself. Absent that, we believe the process our Head of Research, Leigh Matthews, designed for the site is superior to the old model of wastefully ordering superfluous goods.
Leigh reviews data from government agencies, industry reports and documents, environmental certifications, and third party reports, including in many cases existing reviews and consumer reports.
Because we believe quality follows sustainability, the products we identify as the greenest are also the best.
Thank you for your continued support.