Consumer Reports has an awesome interaction Eco-label website that provides information on what different types of “green” labels mean (organic, natural, free trade, and so on) and how meaningful they are in terms of indicating that a product is more environmentally friendly than other brands. For instance, you can search the label “organic” and get really detailed information about different organizations that certify products as organic and what their standards are. Or you can search by product (food, household cleaners, and so on) and get more information about the types of labels you’ll often see on them. Here’s a small segment of the page about “100% Vegan” labels under the household cleaners section:
The criteria they used to rate labels, such as transparency, consistency, and freedom from conflicts of interest, are available here.
The website would be great for a discussion of greenwashing (claiming to be environmentally friendly as a marketing technique, with little significant changes in production practices) and how eco-friendly is defined, but it’s also just useful if you’re interested on a personal level.