The Green Living Guy

GoodGuide, the largest provider of authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies, released its Transparency Toolbar for online shopping, making it quick and easy for consumers to discover and shop for products that are safe, healthy, green and socially responsiblewherever they shop online. The Transparency Toolbar is a web browser extension that is easy to install and instantly provides consumers with a personalized lens into online shopping that reflects their preferences and values about their health and the health of the planet.

According to the Vice President of Marketing and a bro-ski of mine Josh Dorfman:

“The Transparency Toolbar reveals scientific information about the health, safety, green and ethical performance of products precisely when we want to know it – at the moment when deciding which products to purchase. It’s the quick and convenient way to shop your values wherever you shop online.”

Once installed, the Transparency Toolbar appears at the bottom of a web browser when shopping. The toolbar instantly reveals GoodGuide’s science-based health, environment and social product ratings. Consumers can opt to customize the toolbar’s Pass/Fail filter to see how products perform on key criteria such as nutrition, safe and healthy ingredients, energy efficiency, climate change, animal testing, and labor and human rights. To make the Transparency Toolbar informative yet unobtrusive, it also displays personalized product recommendations, pricing information and user reviews, and only appears when shopping. At other times when surfing the web, shoppers won’t see it.    

GoodGuide’s engineers and scientists recognized that just knowing whether a product is safe, healthy, green, and ethically made often isn’t enough to sway a consumer to buy it. Because sustainable products must also compete on price, quality and accessibility, the Transparency Toolbar was engineered and designed to display all of this information in a simple and clear interface that appears at the precise moment when consumers are deciding which products to “add to cart.”

GoodGuide named it the Transparency Toolbar because it enables consumers to shop based not on what retailers and brand marketers want them to see, but rather on what consumers want to know.

“The Transparency Toolbar puts power back in the hands of consumers to decide which products are right for them,” says Dara O’Rourke, GoodGuide’s co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Companies often make unsubstantiated marketing claims about the merits of their products without fully revealing their ingredients or the business practices behind their production. The Transparency Toolbar helps consumers see through the marketing. It filters out products that don’t measure up and quickly points consumers toward ones that do.”

The personalization features built into the Transparency Toolbar are also being rolled out across the entire GoodGuide platform. Consumers can set them to appear on when browsing and researching products. Soon they will become available on GoodGuide’s mobile app so consumers can find products that reflect their personal preferences and values when shopping in supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail stores.

GoodGuide’s approach to personalization also considers many consumers’ desire to shop based on what is often referred to as the “precautionary principle.” For example, selecting GoodGuide’s “controversial ingredients” filter will screen out products that contain chemicals that are subject of current controversies (such as artificial colors or fragrances), or contain suspected hazardous chemicals (such as BPA or triclosan) or known hazardous chemicals (such as formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate). Combining GoodGuide’s scientific product ratings with such high level personalization enables parents and others who wish to exercise greater precaution when selecting products for themselves or their families to conveniently do so.

The Transparency Toolbar is free to install and is currently compatible with the Firefox and Chrome browsers. Versions for Internet Explorer and Safari are in development. The toolbar currently works when shopping on sites such as, and, with additional retail sites to come.

More On Green Living News from The Green Living Guy:

Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky

Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley

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