What does
green
even mean?!

No, but really. What does it mean?

Don’t get us wrong. We love that shoppers and brands are becoming more aware of how their habits affect the environment. But when labels (and the companies who make them) throw around greenwashing terms that don’t have real meanings grounded in sustainability, it’s hard to know that your purchases are going to the right place.

At Hive, if we say something, we mean it. That’s why this Earth Day, we’re taking the time to tackle the true definition of common grocery buzzwords to give you the tools for more accurate and informed label-reading, so you can shop easier and buy better.

Breaking Down 🚩 Buzzwords to #GiveGreenMeaning

When we talk about greenwashing, we’re talking about these red-flag words right here. They’re great for feeling warm and fuzzy, but we’re ready to dig a little deeper.

Green

Green
[ green ]

(adj) The color of Jennifer Lopez’s iconic dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards and current engagement ring to Ben Affleck.

Green

Context:
Okay, so it means more than that. Companies like to throw around the term “green” as a generic term for anything broadly related to sustainability, even specific types of packaging or unfounded claims about environmental impact.

What to look for instead:
When it comes to these kinds of environmental claims, we like to look specifically for brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, are focused on supporting regenerative practices, and that utilize curbside recyclable or compostable packaging. Not sure where to start? These are a few of our favorite certifications to look for while shopping.

Download & Share

Eco-friendly

Context:
If a company is really friends with the environment, they should explain how. Are their products less harmful than others? Do they help the planet? According to the FTC Green Guides, a brand must explain why its product is eco-friendly to be labeled as such.

What to look for instead:
When it comes to these kinds of environmental claims, we like to look specifically for brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, are focused on supporting regenerative practices, and that utilize curbside recyclable or compostable packaging. Not sure where to start? These are a few of our favorite certifications to look for while shopping.

Download & Share

Eco-friendly

E•co friend•ly
[ ee-koh frend-lee]

(adj) The state of being social media friends with the ecosystem. You might not hang out a lot, but you’ll hit each other with a “hey bestie” every once in a while.

Planet positive

Plan•et pos•i•tive
[ plan-it poz-i-tiv ]

(adj) When you feel really, really great about the state of our planet. We can’t relate.

Planet positive

Context:
As positive as it sounds, the term means nothing without additional context. How is the company positively impacting the planet? Are they carbon negative or Regenerative Organic Certified™?

What to look for instead:
When it comes to these kinds of environmental claims, we like to look specifically for brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, are focused on supporting regenerative practices, and that utilize curbside recyclable or compostable packaging. Not sure where to start? These are a few of our favorite certifications to look for while shopping.

Download & Share

Low-impact

Low-im•pact
[ loh im-pakt ]

(adj) Easy on the joints. Like swimming or yoga.

Low-impact

Context:
The real question we should be asking: is it easy on the environment? Brands should be transparent with consumers about how they’re actively putting the Earth first.

What to look for instead:
When it comes to these kinds of environmental claims, we like to look specifically for brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, are focused on supporting regenerative practices, and that utilize curbside recyclable or compostable packaging. Not sure where to start? These are a few of our favorite certifications to look for while shopping

Download & Share

Safe

Safe
[ seyf ]

(adj) When a brand is looking out for you and the environment and is 100% not just saying that to sell their products.

Safe

Context:
Ah, good ole fear mongering. While we want products that are safe for us and the environment, that doesn’t mean other products are inherently harmful, and you shouldn’t buy something out of fear. 

What to look for instead:
Scientific proof that their products are made without harmful toxins, like the MADE SAFE​​® seal and EWG VERIFIED™ mark.

Download & Share

Climate-friendly

Cli•mate friend•ly
[ klahy-mit frend-lee ]

(adj) The act of being polite to the ozone layer. Salutations, greenhouse gasses. Looking good today, carbon dioxide.

Climate-friendly

Context:
If a company is really nice to the climate, they’ll be able to prove it with sustainability certifications, like the Regenerative Organic (ROC) or Demeter Biodynamic.

What to look for instead:
When it comes to these kinds of environmental claims, we like to look specifically for brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, are focused on supporting regenerative practices, and that utilize curbside recyclable or compostable packaging. Not sure where to start? These are a few of our favorite certifications to look for while shopping.

Download & Share

Clean

Clean
[ kleen ]

(adj) How you feel after a nice, long shower.

Clean

Context:
Similar to “safe,” you could say that “clean” is a trick to make products seem healthier than others. If a company is going to make this claim, they should back it up with transparency and evidence. 

What to look for instead:
Verifications that prove the product is made without harmful ingredients, like the USDA Organic Certification and EWG VERIFIED™ mark.

Download & Share

Natural ingredients

Nat·u·ral in·gre·di·ents
[ nach-er-uhl in-gree-dee-uhnt ]

(noun) Sourced straight from nature. Consider yourself a modern-day forager.

Natural Ingredients

Context:
Listen. We’re lovers of the great outdoors, but an ingredient being “natural” doesn’t make it better or more sustainable, especially without additional context.

What to look for instead:
Evidence that the product is made without harmful ingredients, like the Non-GMO Project Verification and the USDA Organic Certification.

Download & Share

Mindfully-made

Mind•ful•ly made
[ mahynd-fuhl meyd ]

(adj) Created during a really intense moment of meditation. Namaste.

Mindfully-made

Context:
We’re big fans of mindfulness, but “mindfully made” is too vague for comfort. Does the company responsibly source ingredients or make their products in small batches? How are they made better than the next product?   

What to look for instead:
Fair trade seals like Fair Trade USA, Fair for Life, and Fairtrade America verify a product’s ingredients were produced and traded in compliance with third-party standards, including ethical working conditions and fair trade premiums.

Download & Share
Learn better, buy Better

Hive is your guide to getting informed.

Beyond great groceries, we’re in the business of doing our best to empower shoppers with sustainability knowledge to help make small changes towards a better Earth.

Our Hive Five™ vetting process uses a rigorous set of standards rooted in transparency, from ingredient sourcing to label certifications, so you always know exactly what’s in your groceries.

Shop All Hive

The ABCs of Sustainability

Okay, so you know which words to stay away from. But what should you be looking for when you shop? We’re here to provide clarity around common terms used for sustainable packaging, ingredients, and sourcing practices.

Biodegradable

Carbon Neutral

Certified Organic

Chemical-free

Cruelty-free

Curbside Recyclable

Fair-trade

Home Compostable

Made in the USA

Non-toxic

Plastic-free

Recycled Content

Regenerative

Upcycled

Sustainable

Zero-waste

Giving for the greener good

One share =
$4.22 to the Soil
Health Institute

You could say we’re pretty big fans of regenerative agriculture. And to show that, we’re setting our sights on substantial, continuous contributions to support regenerative practices.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re donating $4.22 to the Soil Health Institute every time someone shares this page through the rest of April. They’re a leading non-profit dedicated to the protection, research, and scientific advancement of soil health and the promotion of transparent and accessible environmental education.

About the Soil Health Institute
Sharing is *Actually* Caring

Flex your sustainability knowledge (and give back to the Soil Health Institute in the process) by sharing this page with the hashtag#GiveGreenMeaning

https://green-dictionary.hivebrands.com/

Copy to Clipboard

Ready to buy better?

Shop Best Sellers

Shop USDA Organic

Shop Zero Waste

Shop Direct and Fair Trade