Presentation of the “Global Sustainability Score”: a GearJunkie initiative to inform your purchases
Today, GearJunkie and our Lola Digital Media partner sites are announcing an ongoing initiative, the Comprehensive Sustainability Score (CSS). Here’s what you need to know.
The outdoor industry is often at the forefront of sustainability. With companies like Patagonia and prAna pioneering recycled and organic materials over 20 years ago, it’s clear that where the outdoor industry leads, other industries follow.
But while the outdoor media embraced coverage of sustainability measures, outdoor equipment review sites have not provided quantitative measures of the sustainability of given products – until now.
Achieve the overall sustainability score. This rating system will strive to give consumers a clear picture of the impact of their purchases on the environment.
Lola Digital Media will launch its overall sustainability score starting today. We recognize that this will take a lot of work, both from our team and through cooperation with hundreds of brands. We are delighted to do so.
Overall sustainability score: what is it?
The Comprehensive Sustainability Score (CSS) distinguishes products that consumers can buy to minimize their impact on the environment. They will find the CSS for each product listed in buying guides to inform their decision-making process.
The CSS will be:
- Based on research
- A key determinant of the products we recommend
Important Note: Since we already have hundreds of guides online on our sites, you will gradually discover them over the months and years to come. We realize that it will take one step at a time to accomplish this work. You can find the first example of this scoring on our The story of the best down jackets, updated today.
CSS: how we find it
While some companies have started similar work to rank brand sustainability, CSS will go even further. We will take into account product specific attributes, such as the percentage of material recycled, clean energy used in production, and packaging waste created during shipping.
But because each product category is different, we’ll research each one before creating questionnaires for brands.
Our reporters will request these details from the companies and verify them when we receive the shipments. It can be as simple as noting the number of poly bags or styrofoam cubes used in each box.
We then rate each product based on the responses received in a questionnaire sent to brands. Because there is some subjectivity in the rating, two editors rate each product and then we average the ratings to find a grand total.
We then display the CSS on the buying guides like the image below. If a brand does not answer our questionnaire, we simply mark the CSS as “NA”.
CSS: an evolving process
We’re making this announcement today as we release our first set of CSS scores in our buying guide for the Best down jackets. Others will come in the near future.
For brand managers, that’s your opinion. Be prepared to answer tough questions about your sustainability efforts as we work to implement our new system.
For consumers, please keep an eye out for sustainability badges on our new buying guides. While it will take weeks and months to implement this in our thousands of guides, the work has already started.
We realize that this project will require sacrifice and time on the part of many people. And we know the process must evolve as we learn more about evaluating sustainability measures. Thus, our feedback will be widely open to dialogue with consumers as well as with brands.
But we believe this project can make the world a little better. By providing consumers with an easy-to-digest way to support sustainability with their money’s worth, we hope to encourage more brands to take action to reduce the impact of manufacturing.
Join us as we launch CSS today on our portfolio of websites. We hope this will make a difference, one purchase at a time.