BETTER BADGES SEPTEMBER 2019
Giki’s aim is to inspire people to make small, regular changes which are good for them, better for the environment and fairer to others. We also look to make small, regular changes to Giki in order to help support our users in their quest to buy more sustainably. Here we talk about some of the most recent changes at Giki. We know we will never be perfect, but we hope that by constantly listening to our users, and improving, we’ll get better and better over time.
The BBC recently air a series called “War on plastic with Hugh and Anita”. If you missed it take a look! As well as the enormous amount of plastic that the typical UK household uses it also focused on one particular area which was baby wipes. It showed just how few people are aware that baby wipes are often made with plastic and so we’ve improved our Responsible Sourcing badge to now pick this up. If baby wipes are biodegradable or compostable then they get the badge. If not we flag a warning that the product “may contain plastic”. This also goes for Nappy Sacks. Next we need companies to put more information on the pack to help consumers understand exactly what their baby wipes and nappy sacks are made of. Responsible sourcing is about not just where a product comes from but also what is made out of.
Based on our analysis just over 12% of Baby Wipes are biodegradable or compostable.
One the largest challenges we have is finding out where fruit and vegetables come from. It’s frustrating because you can often see the exact grower on the pack but this information rarely makes it into the data we look at because the names, places and countries change so rapidly. Supermarkets rotate their growers, and the country products come from, quickly based both on seasonality and price.
Therefore we’ve taken a different approach to now focusing on the names, and certifications, that fruit and vegetables receive. This will lead to far fewer errors (something saying it’s UK made when you can see from the pack that it comes from the Netherlands).
As always with fruit, veg, meat and fish try to buy not just from the UK but also seasonally.
At the same time we removed the negative badges on UK made (the ones which are greyed out). People tell us that they are interested in whether a product is UK made (although it’s quite far from being the top priority for most) but don’t necessarily think that products from abroad are to be avoided. In other words UK made is a small positive but not really a negative for most people. There is one major exception to this – air freighting. Unfortunately packs don’t contain information saying they have been airfreighted (not very good PR!) but if you are concerned watch out for fresh produce, especially if it’s light (e.g. herbs and some fruits) that are from far flung places at times of the year when they cannot be grown in the UK or Europe.
We have added “outdoor bred” to the criteria for the animal welfare badge. This is supported by Compassion in World farming (alongside other methods such as organic) and applies to pork only. Compassion in World farming is a UK charity focused on stopping all factory farming in the UK.
Other minor improvements: more names for Aluminium Salts for no chemicals of concern, improvements to the terms and labels we look for in kinder cleaning, better categorisation of fresh vs plant based milks for the animal welfare badge.
GOTS AND NEW PACKAGING INFORMATION
Organic cotton – We’ve found some tampons that use GOTS certification for organic cotton so we have added that to our organic badge.
Tesco packaging – we’ve found better data for Tesco own label packaging so we can now award badges for Better Packaging when our criteria are met. Tesco has a commitment to remove products with too much packaging and also ban non recyclable plastic so there should be more and more badges coming.