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Mission and History
Vision and Promise
Expert Staff
Media Coverage
About Consumers Union
What's green about Consumers Union?
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Mission and History, launched on Earth Day 2005 by Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, is a Web-based initiative to inform, engage, and empower consumers about environmentally-friendly products and practices. offers an accessible, reliable, and practical source of information on buying “greener” products that have minimal environmental impact and meet personal needs.

We created to address the lack of credible, in-depth information on green products, services, and lifestyles, especially on the Web. Environmentally conscious consumers are faced with a huge amount of “green washing” by companies that want to capitalize on and exploit the growing interest in environmentally-friendly products, health, pollution and toxics.

In contrast, Consumers Union’s Web sites and other media provide non-commercial, independently researched, unbiased information to consumers. With more than 70 years of experience, we understand how to find and present the most in-depth, comprehensive consumer advice by taking into consideration cost, reliability, performance and quality of products and services, as well as environmental attributes.

Vision and Promise

For millions of environmentally conscious “green consumers” whose numbers are rapidly growing, we provide practical, unbiased advice they can trust. For tens of millions more who would like to buy green, but may not have access to the information they need, we offer a unique online resource and are actively reaching out to these consumers. Our goals are ambitious. We aim to:

•Expand Consumers Union’s role as a major resource on environmental issues for a diverse audience.

•Engage a critical mass of consumers to recognize the environmental and health impacts of their choices and empower them to make sustainable buying and living choices.

•Create a transformed marketplace that offers appropriate, sustainable solutions to environmental problems.


Since our launch in April 2005, our content and audiences have grown steadily. Subscribers to our monthly eNewsletter have increased from 6,000 to more than 120,000.

Currently, we offer a range of useful information in six product categories—Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food, Home & Garden and Natural Health & Personal Care— and have expanded content in several key areas:

•Energy-saving Center—launched in 2009 to offer consumers practical advice for saving energy, saving money, and reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions at home and on the road.

•Electronics Waste Reuse & Recycling Center—launched in the fall of 2006 to educate consumers about the growing problems of electronic waste and offer responsible options for reducing it.

•Green Consumer Tools—interactive tools from energy calculators to toxics finders.

•Eco-labels Search—consumers can also use our Eco-labels search tool to evaluate labels on food, wood, personal care products and household cleaners.

Expert Staff

Charles Bell is the Programs Director for Consumers Union. In that capacity, he provides fiscal and administrative oversight of Consumer Reports and assists with research, media work, policy development and coordination. Since joining CU in 1989, Bell has written articles on health care and consumer affairs topics that have been published in the Charlotte Observer, the Journal News, the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, and the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., is the Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability for Consumers Union and Project Director for Consumer Reports Dr. Rangan joined CU in 1999 and developed the ratings system, database and website for evaluating environmental labels. As one of her roles at CU today, Dr. Rangan continues to decode the meaning of eco-labels for consumers and advocates for credible labeling in the marketplace including influencing government policy decisions at the state and federal level. She also conducts research for CU around consumer expectations of sustainable products and labels.

A noted environmental health scientist, Dr. Rangan has a column in Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine and also serves as a top spokesperson for Consumer Reports in the areas of sustainable production and consumption practices. She has a wide area of expertise including organic standards, food safety issues, environmental pollution, toxics in consumer products, and environmental health concerns and has appeared in numerous national broadcast outlets. Her expertise is called upon to respond to breaking product safety news, speak on behalf of CU investigative test stories, and to discuss production problems and consumer solutions around a wide range of sustainability topics including food safety issues, organic food, risky ingredients in personal care products, misleading labels, electronics recycling, and energy efficiency for household products.

Dr. Rangan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1995; her post-doctoral work at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute. She was an NIH fellow from 1990-97.


With the generous support of The Surdna Foundation, FJC — A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, and The Overbrook Foundation, we continue to expand our programs and the website.

Media Coverage has been featured prominently in print, broadcast and online media. In October 2005, Urvashi Rangan, Project Director, appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and the Web site was showcased on the program’s Web site as a resource on preventing global warming and offering other “green” choices.

Several network newscasts covering the Consumer Reports piece on mercury in tuna, aired expert interviews with Urvashi Rangan—NBC’s Today Show, The CBS Early Show, CNN American Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Additional mentions include: NBC Nightly News, WOR Radio, CBS Marketwatch, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Food & Chemical News, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Bergen County Record, Winston-Salem Journal, Supermarket News, Chicago Tribune, Scripps Howard News Service, Associated Press, Augusta Chronicle, Miami Herald, WebMd,, and,

See more highlights of in the news.

About Consumers Union

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports and, is an independent, non-profit testing and information organization that provides unbiased assessments and advice about products and services, personal finance, health and nutrition, and other issues affecting consumers. To maintain its independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no commercial contributions, no outside advertising and no free test samples. Consumers Union relies solely on the sale of its information products and services, individual contributions, and foundation and government grants.

What's green about Consumers Union?

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