Every decision impacts the Earth, especially when it comes to personal products.
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Garnier Beauty Responsibly

Did you know that every time you buy something, you can make a big difference to the planet?

It's true. Just ask Brad Kahn.

He is the director of communications at the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit that works tirelessly to promote responsible management of the world's forests, so he knows quite a bit about protecting the Earth. And part of it, he says, is making good choices in the store.


Any time you make a purchase, he says, "you're actually making a decision about the environment."

"I think people don't really realize how pervasive forest products are. Virtually every business on Earth uses forest products in one way or another," he continues.

Image via Anton Darius/Unsplash.

The good news is, it isn't hard to make smart choices for the environment.

It just starts by choosing products from companies that are working to do good.

L'Oréal, for instance, has a global program dedicated to integrating sustainability into all areas of their business.

For example, all of L'Oréal's U.S. facilities incorporate 100% renewable electricity — and they will be carbon neutral by 2019.  

Solar panels in use for Garnier manufacturing. Image via L'Oréal USA.

And that's not all.

Danielle Azoulay, head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability for L'Oréal USA, says that the company's size is part of what makes their environmental efforts so important.

"At L'Oréal, we take a holistic approach to sustainability. From carbon emissions reductions to water stewardship in our factories, we're working to improve our environmental footprint across the company, every day," she writes.

"We've been focusing on light-weighting and integrating recycled materials into our packaging," she continues, "and [we] continue to encourage our consumers to recycle products once they're done using them."

"As the largest beauty company in the U.S. and the world, when we apply these changes across our brand portfolio, we have the opportunity to make an enormous positive impact on our communities, translating to big wins for the planet," she explains.

Image by Steven Rowe, used with permission.

It also helps that organizations like the FSC help shoppers easily identify these sustainably packaged products from brands — like Garnier — that are committed to reducing their harmful impact on the planet. All you have to do is glance at a product's packaging, and if you see an FSC logo — which usually shows up on the back — you'll know it's certified as forest-friendly.

When it comes to the beauty industry in particular, doing the right thing is important.

Industry organizations and media point to data briefings from market researcher Euromonitor that indicate the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year.

That's why, for their boxes of hair color and skin-care products, Garnier, a brand in L'Oréal's portfolio, uses all FSC-certified paper. It's one of many strategies — along with similar thought given to plastics, glass, and energy use — that the brand uses to reach their sustainability goals.

Image by Steven Rowe, used with permission.

That means, for example, that someone looking for a bright new look could buy shampoo that comes in recycled plastic and hair color in sustainably-sourced cardboard.

You're also keeping those bottles out of landfills. In 2014, Americans discarded about 33.6 million tons of plastic — a number that we can all impact by making smart choices, backing the brands that are committed to doing better. For example, all of Garnier's shampoo and conditioner bottles are made of recyclable PET plastic.

Photo via L'Oréal USA.

Looking out for packaging with sustainable materials is a simple shift that doesn't force you to compromise your beauty and personal care needs.

You still get to stick with the routine that's best for your hair and skin — and feel even better by making smarter choices for the planet, too.

To put it in perspective, Kahn says:

"There is no chance of life on Earth without healthy forest ecosystems. I don't think that's an exaggeration because forests provide much of the air we breathe, something like two-thirds of the water that we drink, the carbon storage to have a stable atmosphere. … We really rely on forests every day."

Image via iStock.

So when you've seen the FSC logo on your packaging, and you know your shampoo bottle is made from recycled plastics, feel free to sing your heart out with that shampoo bottle in the shower — as one of our planet's heroes, you've earned that joy.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.