Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.

Articles by Jessica Marati:

Behind The Label: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

cfl light bulbs

ColumnAs incandescent light bulbs are being phased out, compact fluorescent light bulbs are stepping in to take their place. But are CFLs really the most environmentally-friendly alternative?

Thomas Edison may have been on to something when he invented and popularized the modern incandescent light bulb in 1878. But 135 years later, the world is in desperate need of an environmentally-friendly upgrade. Enter, the compact fluorescent light bulb, or CFL.

CFLs have been on the market since the 1980s, but they didn’t enter the mainstream until President George W. …

Behind the Label: Investigating The Social Responsibility Claims Of Uniqlo

uniqlo logo

ColumnHow has Uniqlo managed to avoid the dreaded “fast fashion” label?

If you don’t shop at Uniqlo, you will soon. The Japanese retailer has already captivated urban centers like New York and San Francisco with ambitious plans to expand to 1,000 U.S. stores in the next decade.

Uniqlo’s specialty is cheap but quality basics, presented in a rainbow of the season’s trendiest colors. But despite the chain’s quick-moving inventory and bargain basement prices, Uniqlo has somehow managed to escape the fast fashion stigma slapped on competitors like H&M, Forever …

Behind The Label: The Safe Sunscreen Debate

many sunscreens

Not all sunscreens are created equal.

Every summer for the past decade, the media has issued staunch advisories reminding consumers to wear sunscreen. But this year, their tone has changed. Studies are showing that not only are many sunscreens filled with potentially harmful chemicals, but also that sunscreen wearers can actually be more susceptible to dangerous skin cancer strains like melanoma. Too much time in the sun can increase the risk of damage, but too little can lead to vitamin D deficiencies. What gives? This week’s Behind The Label

Behind The Label: The Sustainability Of The Amazon Kindle

amazon kindle paperwhite

ColumnThe Amazon Kindle versus paper books: who wins when it comes to sustainability?

In just a matter of years, e-readers like the Amazon Kindle have fundamentally changed the publishing industry, replacing traditional paper books with digital downloads that can be accessed in a matter of minutes.

For many, the Kindle-versus-“real”-book debate boils down to a sense of nostalgia. For years, I refused to even entertain the idea of purchasing an e-reader, preferring instead the look, feel, and experience of reading a paper book.

But there are environmental …

Behind The Label: Ben & Jerry’s

 

 

 

Ben & Jerry's Clusterfluff and Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake

ColumnBen & Jerry’s has long been a poster child for socially responsible business, with its hippie branding, activist leanings, and emphasis on incorporating “happiness” at every step of the ice cream supply chain.

The company’s story begins in 1978 with an abandoned Burlington, Vermont, gas station and a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wanted to create a company that would churn out the ice cream flavors they always dreamed off, …

Behind The Label: Revisiting H&M Conscious

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ColumnIs H&M as conscious as it claims to be?

The notion of H&M as a sustainable fashion brand might strike you as an oxymoron. How can the Swedish retailer, best known for pioneering wasteful, disposable, trend-driven fast fashion, possibly claim to be socially responsible?

It might take time, but that is H&M’s aim, if the company’s latest Conscious Actions Report is any indication. The 93-page document outlines in detail H&M’s goals, actions, and progress toward becoming a more sustainable fashion brand. Along with the report, H&M recently released …

Behind The Label: Organix’s Misleading Labeling

moroccan-collection

ColumnWith a name like Organix, you might assume that the brand in question is organic… right?

You would be wrong.

The popular drug and big box store line of hair, bath and body products may share six of seven letters with the word “organic,” but its products surprisingly don’t contain any qualifying ingredients.

Owned by Florida-based Vogue International, Organix offers more than 70 personal care products featuring trendy, exotic-sounding ingredients like “pomegranate green tea,” “awapuhi ginger,” “acai berry avocado,” and “Moroccan argan oil.” At prices that easily …

Behind The Label: The Unsweet Dark Side of the Chocolate Industry

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Column Chocolate is a guilty pleasure in more ways than one.

For most people, chocolate evokes positive associations: indulgence, childhood, Valentine’s Day. But in Western Africa, the connotations are far less positive. There, an estimated 1.8 million child laborers work tirelessly to produce the cocoa that goes into our Easter bunny chocolates.

The ills of the cocoa industry first entered the public eye in the early 2000s, after a BBC documentary called “Slavery: A Global Investigation” highlighted the child labor and slavery abuses occurring on West …