It compares them by their green and ethical credentials, as well as by price and quality, to give each product an overall ‘SmartScore'. It also uses the manufacturers' corporate social responsibility (CSR) documents and third-party analysis from NGOs to weed out examples of ‘greenwashing'.
The website, which will be sponsored by WWF for the first month, is edited by green- and ethical-living expert Adam Vaughan.
SmartPlanet's editorial board includes Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper, Jon McGowan, head of consumer marketing at the Energy Savings Trust, and Mark Constantine, managing director of natural cosmetics chain Lush.
Jon McGowan, head of consumer marketing at the Energy Saving Trust, said: ‘The launch of SmartPlanet couldn't be better timed. We have found through our own research that although concern for the environment is high, we no longer want to be told over and over again what we should do and be made to feel guilty if we haven't done it. SmartPlanet [presents] "green" news in an inspirational and innovative way, so that making the "green" or energy-efficient choice no longer means you have to leave style behind.'
The ethical market in the UK was worth £32.3bn last year, up 9% from 2006, while ethical sales account for 5.1% of the UK's total food and drink sales, according to the 2007 Ethical Consumer report from The Co-operative Bank.
The report also showed that household expenditure on ethical goods and services has almost doubled over the past five years and that 6% of the UK population (2.8m) buy ethical products and services every week, up from 5% in 2003.