User-generated ratings for ethical consumerism

Greetings! Ever notice the tagline on this site? User-generated ratings for ethical consumerism. This has been a primary goal of the Green Stars Project since the outset, but what exactly does it mean? It’s probably easiest to explain by breaking it down into a few smaller goals:

  1. Educate myself about various aspects of ethical consumerism and share findings with readers.
  2. Write online reviews that include Green Stars ratings for social and environmental impact.
  3. Encourage readers to also include an ethical rating (0-5 Green Stars) in their online reviews.

My hope was to see people adopt this rating system to the point where it would start to become the norm. As a result, online retailers and review sites would eventually also adopt the system and include Green Stars ratings and graphics on their sites.

You don’t need to tell me that this would be an uphill battle – I always knew that and will continue to work on it from various angles. I’m increasingly recognizing that it won’t happen until the time is ripe and so, for now, it continues to develop inside its cocoon.

Thank you to the readers who have written Green Stars reviews over the years – I hope you will continue to do so. In case you don’t know, you can win a prize for writing one – currently the prize is a subscription to Ethical Consumer magazine.

User-generated ratings – why is it important to do things this way?

Did you know that the Oxford English Dictionary relied heavily on user-generated content when it started out in the mid-nineteenth century? It totally makes sense – imagine trying to compile a dictionary on your own, or any online resource that relies on user-generated content, like Wikipedia. YouTube wouldn’t be much fun if it contained only one person’s videos.

For the same reasons, I’m reluctant to create an ethical consumerism guide based only on my own opinion – it would be incomplete. Even though I’ve had lots of practice writing Green Stars reviews, both here and on Ethical Bargains, my opinions are still one person’s opinions. Like anyone, my views are skewed more towards some issues or businesses than others – it’s an impossible task to be fully aware of all options and impacts.

That’s why we need user-generated content. We also need it because the very act of engaging in this dialogue can be life-changing. Especially now, in the face of climate change, we all need to get used to thinking about this stuff. Even without climate change, we desperately need to change our habits as consumers. But it’s not always easy to make the right decisions, so we need a good, reliable guide – user-generated ratings for ethical consumerism.

User-generated ratings for ethical consumerism. The image text reads: User-generated content in the form of Crowdsourced ratings for Ethical consumerism

An experiment in user-generated ratings for ethical consumerism

Next week I’m going to display a list of the top 10 ethical chocolate brands. I know that this is not going to be a completely accurate list, at least not at first. Without a doubt, there are other brands that deserve to be on that list – brands that I’m not sufficiently aware of. That’s why I want you to change it. I want you to vote on the brands in the list and nominate any additional chocolate brand(s) that you think should be included.

Consider this a trial, experiment, or beta test of a crowdsourced, democratic guide to ethical consumerism. The most important thing is that you take part in it. Start thinking about ethical chocolate brands and stay tuned!

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