The Difference Between Green, Sustainable, Eco-Friendly, Ethical, Fair Trade, Clean, Organic, Non-To

Have you seen one or more of these words on a beauty product label lately? The answer is probably yes since the clean beauty movement is getting more and more popular. To begin with, let's say that all of these terms do point to awareness, as well as environmental and social responsibility but it's true that we can feel confused when we see those terms in marketing. here are some basic guidelines for those who are curious about the different Green movement key words:


The meaning of the word “green” has long outgrown the color. It’s now frequently used in a colloquial speech to apply to almost everything related to benefiting the environment, from the movement to architecture and fashion.

Eco-friendly isn’t quite so broad. It means that something doesn’t harm the planet.

But sustainable is the most precisely defined term here, and represents the wide scope of issues and activities that, according to the United Nations, do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

"Compared to ‘”green” and “eco-friendly,” sustainability has much higher standards. Sustainability includes eco-friendly activities and green products, but green doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. For instance, a product made from renewable resources is considered green, yet if a life-cycle analysis shows that it required a lot of energy to manufacture and ship to you, and if there isn’t a proper way to dispose of the product, then it’s not considered sustainable." - Ecocult


Rising demand for safe products, mainly in the wellness and beauty industries, created the terms cleanand nontoxic, which are very similar. Clean implies ingredients — natural or synthetic — that are not harmful to your health.

Organic is a legally defined term, which is used by the USDA to certify food, beauty products, and other agricultural products as being produced in a very specific way – mainly, as free from synthetic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and humans. Some beauty companies can use organic ingredients even tough their formulas contain other ingredients that are considered toxic, for example synthetic colours or talc.


The Fair trade movement started in the 1980 in order to protect coffee, cocoa and tea producers from low international prices. In order to be considered Fair Trade, certification is needed from an international governing body, such as Fair Trade Certified, the Fair Trade Federation, Equal Exchange, or the World Fair Trade Organization.

The ethical trade movement refers to the working conditions of workers who produce clothes, toys, food, and other products for companies, as well as how well they are paid for their work. It is a broad term that is not certified or precisely defined, but it tells you about the importance of core values within an ethical company, be it being respectful of the environment, the people, the community, giving back & celebrating team work.


"The trendy term conscious refers to consumer awareness and high standards regarding health and environment. It can also sometimes include the realms of spirituality and wellness. The conscious consumer knows how to read labels and will, most likely, spend extra money on a product that is organic, sustainable, or animal-friendly. She probably also practices yoga and meditation. Yup, it’s a lifestyle word, so we usually use it to describe a person (“conscious bride”), a business, or a way of thinking about things, not a specific product.

The definition of thoughtful is showing consideration of other people’s needs and being well-informed on a topic before making a decision or forming an opinion. Being thoughtful encompasses all the qualities mentioned above and can stand as the overarching goal." -Ecocult

At LISA NOTO, we use all of these terms because they all relate to our company, work ethic & our vision of how we want things to be.

A you can see, most of the information on this article was taken from Ecocult. Check them out for more amazing content about sustainable fashion & travel for the conscious woman.

Bises, Lisa

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