“The happiness of the bee and dolphin is to exist. For man, it is to know that and wonder at it.”
– Jacques Cousteau
Hello. Welcome to UniGuide. My name is Kristen Stanton and I created this site for people like you and me. UniGuide’s mission is to make it easy and enjoyable for all kinds of people to live a lifestyle that is healthy for themselves, does not harm animals, and has a minimal negative impact on the natural environment. Ideally, UniGuide serves as a guide for consumers and as an ambassador for the thought leaders, service providers, and businesses that share these values.
Right now, I donate 1% of revenue from product sales to animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental protection nonprofits. Last year, UniGuide donated to the Center for Biological Diversity and Earth Alliance.
In addition, I do my best to reduce the carbon emissions from UniGuide’s operations, as well as my own personally. When I can’t eliminate carbon emissions altogether, I pay to offset those emissions through carbon offset programs. For 2019, I donated to the Nature Conservancy because they factor diet into their carbon calculator as a way to reduce your CO2 emissions. And, as you hopefully know, eating a plantbased diet is one of the easiest ways you can personally lower your carbon footprint.
I’m not alone (thank God) in believing there should be a price put on carbon emissions, just like there’s a price we’re all willing to pay to have our garbage taken away each week. I view this price as a cost of having the privilege of living on – and doing business on – this planet. The carbon offset marketplace is evolving, and I continue to evaluate the optimal ways that UniGuide can thrive as a business while helping to mitigate human-caused climate change.
On UniGuide, I do my best to promote products that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, and healthy for people. By Earth-friendly I mean products that are made, used, distributed, and disposed of with the minimal impact on the Earth’s natural resources and the habitats of other species with whom we share this planet. By animal-friendly, I mean products and services that do not use or harm animals in their creation (including sourcing of raw materials), mass production, distribution, use, or disposal. Products that are healthy for people include those that help your mind, body, and spirit to thrive.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not an expert on sustainability, human health, or animal welfare! While I strive to learn more about these topics every day, I know there are many steps in the lifecycle of products – from design to testing, manufacturing, distribution, use, and disposal – all of which can have a negative impact on people, animals, and the planet.
One area where I struggle with the social and environmental impacts is shoes. While a product being vegan or not vegan is pretty clear, a product being safe for workers and eco-friendly is more difficult to determine. Footwear, in particular, is meant to be durable – so, it’s hard to find shoes that have a light environmental footprint. (No pun intended.) And it can be challenging to find out how workers are treated who are making the shoes, beyond the claims of the manufacturers. One piece of good news I’ve learned since doing my research on shoes is that animal-based adhesives are rarely used in shoes anymore. The reason is that synthetic glues simply perform better in shoes because they’re more flexible and last longer. The shoe industry is clearly evolving, and my hope is that with more transparency coupled with changing consumer demand, it will become a more environmentally and socially conscious industry.
While I try to promote the most Earth-friendly and still stylish and appealing vegan shoes that I can find, you will find shoes on UniGuide, such as faux leather boots, that are not be made with eco-friendly materials, and that could have animal-based glues in them. I reach out to manufacturers as much as possible if I’m unsure if a given style of shoes is 100% vegan. If I do confirm that they have any animal products in them, I remove them from the site.
My dream, and I evangelize about this to the product vendors that I promote, is that all product designers and manufactures will incorporate practices into every step of their supply chains and product lifecycles that are safe for workers and help protect our environment. I love to share product makers’ social and environmental initiatives because I know you care and so do I.
Ideally, every step in the lifecycle of a product should be environmentally sustainable and free of human and animal suffering. It’s a tall order in our modern world, but it’s not impossible. The collective brain power of human beings is more than capable of achieving such an ideal. It’s my hope that as I present products on UniGuide, they will fit this ideal. If I fall short due to ignorance, misinformation, or a failure to disclose information, I hope you’ll share your knowledge and correct me. I will certainly update content on UniGuide as I become better educated. As informed as I think I am, I know I’m just a student of the Universe, with a lot to learn.
My goal is to be transparent and to avoid “green washing” at all costs. I pledge to continually expand my knowledge and to do as much as within my power to promote high-quality products and services to visitors like you while holding true to these values.
If you see a product or service on UniGuide that does not fit the above principles, please contact me. Likewise, if you are an entrepreneur or other representative of any products or services presented on UniGuide, and you would like to see them presented in a different way or removed from the site altogether, please contact me.
You can get details on how UniGuide makes money from promoting products by reading my Disclosures. (Believe me, there are hella easier ways to make money than this!) The majority of the product images you see on UniGuide are the property of the makers of those products and are presented on UniGuide only as a means to promote those products and services.
If you’d like to learn more about why I started UniGuide, you can read my blog post here. And if you’re not falling asleep yet and want to read about my background (written by me in third person :o) and about UniGuide’s wonderful and growing team, you can click here.