Book Review: The Better World Shopping Guide  »

The other day, Laura and I were shopping for tomato sauce or something. We ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time researching various organic brands on our phones to see who owned them, and weighing the consequences of our purchase. Rainbow Grocery, where we were (and where there is terrible phone reception—is the building lined with lead?) used to have some kind of chart displayed that showed this information, but it seems not anymore.

What we needed was this! The Better World Shopping Guide is a super-convenient, pocket-sized handbook, which ranks brands with grades from A to F, according to their performance in terms of human rights, environmental sustainability, and animal protection. The content is organized into categories, covering everything from airlines to wine. A lot of vegan brands are included, as well. Under meat alternatives, for instance, we discover that Tofurkey wins a B+, while Gardenburger gets only a C, and Boca scores a dismal F (they’re owned by Kraft). I was heartened to learn that all my favorite beers earned a B+ or higher, while Guinness and Red Stripe, two beers I know offhand aren’t vegan, were both down near the bottom with a D (ha!). I’m sure a lot of this is information that many people already know, but it’s nice to have that assurance in your pocket.

Where the book falls short is that it’s merely a quick reference guide. There is no real info as to why each company earned the ranking they did. That data is starting to become available on the website’s research page. In the meantime you have the assurance that “data is collected over the past 20 years from a wide range of nonprofit sources on the social and environmental responsibility of more than 1,000 companies.”

In addition to the book, all of the content is readily available on the website. There is also an iPhone app available! It’s $1.99, and makes getting the info that much more convenient and very swanky.

I give this book an A+*!

* [Ed.: ADORABLE].

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