Web Smarts


WHAT: Help for consumers who want to make online purchases based on their personal values.

THE BEST PARTS: You rate the importance of 12 issues from not important to highly important. Issues include the environment, diversity, labor practices, women's issues, human rights, and animal cruelty.

Users choose from among 14 product categories. The names of various manufacturers then appear on screen. Each receives a rating, from one to five "suns." Five suns means that manufacturer acts in closest accordance to your values.

Shoppers can link to online retailers and buy products from those manufacturers. IdealsWork receives a commission from every online purchase. Those who register with the site can send 10 percent of the commission to a nonprofit.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The site doesn't say why one manufacturer receives more suns than another. (Plans to do so are in the works.) Ratings of more than 2,300 companies are based on data from third-party research organizations including the Investor Responsibility Research Center.

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