Patagonia has made me feel a little less crazy.
They have a proto-ecoguilt-calculator on their website (thanks to Jeanne for the tip).
I’ve wanted an ecoguilt calculator for a while, and the Patagonia tool is a good start.
It doesn’t do everything I want.
I want to know exactly what karmic burden I am accepting when I buy a product.
I don’t just care about my carbon footprint, although here’s a nice carbon footprint calculator.
I want to know about:
- Carbon footprint (including materials, production, and shipping)
- Virtual water
- Support of local economies
- Physical safety (in terms of working conditions, solvents, pesticides, other chemicals) of the people involved in production
- Degree of admirable-ness/ethicalness of the labor practices in the entire supply chain (good marks to living wages; big demerits for child labor, forced labor, or slavery)
- Whether any animals are involved in production (either as materials or power) and whether those animals are treated well
- Organic production methods for any agricultural products
I want to be able to compare (for example) these bamboo towels to these organic cotton towels and know which ones are more virtuous overall. Patagonia makes me feel less crazy for wanting to know this stuff. (Not that I need any high-performance outerwear. Really, right now it’s about towels and patio furniture. I have finally accepted that a linen or cotton patio umbrella isn’t practical, so I’m trying to at least get a used one from FreeCycle.)