In US foods and other products, "organic" simply is a federal certification guaranteeing a set of standards are met. Within the organic product space, differentiators include fair trade, local sourcing, no animal testing, and other practices that appeal to the "conscious consumption" aspect of the field.

What is a way of saying "the 'organic' of X," where X is a field NOT associated with actual organic products? Implying conscious differentiators without spelling them out.

  • 1
    You're doing this as a metaphor? "The 'organic' of bowling balls", implying that the bowling balls are made, distributed, produced in a conscientious manner?
    – John Feltz
    Oct 10, 2016 at 21:28
  • In that case the product could just be called organic bowling balls, since they CAN be produced using organic standards. I suppose I mean something more to the effect of "the organic of email/rideshare/business services."
    – Piers Mana
    Oct 10, 2016 at 21:36
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    So what does it mean to be the organic of business services? Do you mean better for the environment, or just distinct from run-of-the-mill business services in some way that may appeal to an affluent consumer?
    – John Feltz
    Oct 10, 2016 at 21:44
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    AHDEL gives only 3 senses for the nounal use of organic: n. 1. An organic food or a product made from organic materials. // 2. A substance, especially a fertilizer or pesticide, of animal or vegetable origin. // 3. Chemistry An organic compound. // I don't see how you arrive at "the 'organic' of X". Do you mean say 'the greenest car on the market'? Oct 10, 2016 at 23:07
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    Do note that "organic" is often used (outside of food/medicine) to refer to using intuition or "gut feel" for approaching a problem, vs some "scientific" approach. Eg, in the computer field one might say "The structure of this program is sort of 'organic'," which would mean that it just sort of grew and therefore has no discernible internal organization.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 10, 2016 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


Consider the sustainability of X as a phrase to identify 'differentiators' along the lines of organic, but related to products that organic isn't appropriate for.

Sustainable adjective 1.1 Conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources: ‘our fundamental commitment to sustainable development’ - ODO

Here are some examples:

  • from wikipedia:

    Sustainable development is a process for meeting human development goals while sustaining the ability of natural systems to continue to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depends.

  • from the journal Sustainable Computing:

    The aim of Sustainable Computing: Informatics and Systems (SUSCOM) is to publish the myriad research findings related to energy-aware and thermal-aware management of computing resource.

  • from US EPA:

    Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.


The Cadillac of X.

Cadillac: "The best of its kind; standard of excellence; paragon : Republicans call New York the Cadillac of welfare states/ Revos are the Cadillac of sunglasses" The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition, which I found at http://www.dictionary.com/browse/cadillac?s=t

  • Cadillac is too powerful and old a brand, that context is already taken. It also could be replaced by other cars that have more emotional weight - I'm looking for the same positive weight as organic (emphasis on differentiating conscious practices vs any possible health benefits) without, well, "organic"
    – Piers Mana
    Oct 11, 2016 at 4:51
  • "Cadillac" simply means fancy and expensive. It's not an adjective that one might use for "responsibly produced" products.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 11, 2016 at 23:06
  • Clarkson probably suggests a somewhat different definition. Nov 10, 2016 at 11:33
  • @EdwinAshworth - Is there a Britishism here somewhere? I'm not getting it. Nov 11, 2016 at 4:54
  • Clarkson of Top Gear fame. Infamy. Nov 11, 2016 at 10:44

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