Tuesday Tract: Should We Be Transparent About Transparency?

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Tuesday Tract: Should We Be Transparent About Transparency?

Waitin' On Good Guide's Ratings Committee
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Tues Tracts: ElegRoo blog post: Should We B Transparent About Transparency? #socent #eco #green #greenwashing http://bit.ly/goBUD


ElegantRoots.com is a gift boutique that promotes social justice and eco-consciousness by offering quality creations of eco and socially conscious artisans and designers. Elegant Roots makes it Personal by telling the Story of every artisan/designer as well as the product and the vision for People and Planet that it reflects. Elegant Roots supports the transparency movement; we inform so purchases may be aligned with values. Buy less but buy better. Make it meaningful. And we deliver it all exquisite, eco-conscious gift wrap.

Each week, on Elegant Roots' Tuesday Tracts, we will recognize one of the artisans/designers whose creations grace the pages of our website. We think you'll find the stories worthy of notice. Occasionally, we will touch on other subjects near and dear to our hearts.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 11:30am


My saga of learning about Good Guide's ratings continues.

To "refresh your recollection" (I am a former lawyer, after all), let me take you back. Good Guide is a beta site that rates products on three scales: environmental, nutritional, and social justice (my terms, not theirs). They reduce a product and its producer to three numerical scores, with 10 being the top score. Then they combine the three scores to a single score purporting to rate a product/producer overall.

More than a month ago, I wrote to Good Guide through its website asking for help in understanding how it could rate a commercial "lite" yogurt (Yoplait) with all its additives, so much higher than an organic, plain whole milk (Straus) made from nothing more than organic whole milk and live yogurt cultures, and higher than an organic nonfat plain (Nancy's) made from nothing more than organic nonfat milk and live yogurt cultures.

Good Guide never responded -- so, last Tuesday's Tract, Radical Transparency: Lost in Translation set out my view that those particular ratings are unsustainable, drawing questions upon their other ratings, and casting doubt on the notion that issues as complex as nutritional value and social justice can be reduced to a single score. I questioned whether such "laser focus" transparency doesn't simply create a new opacity.

I must admit that in having some fun in the writing and some passion for the subject, my tone may have crossed the snarky line just a bit. Good Guide submitted a comment to my blog -- which, I venture to say, maybe also got a little close to the snarky line.

Here's the Good Guide response, delivered by Jodie -- I have taken the liberty to interlineate some comments in brackets and italics.

Click here to read more.


Rob Favole
Elegant Roots