The fight for sustainable shopping

4 December 2018

This month we’ve teamed up with Ethical Superstore to think about what we can all do to be more ethical consumers at a time of year that is typically the most wasteful.

In this guest blog, Ethical Superstore tell us all about what inspired them to launch in 2006, how they try and make shopping more sustainable, and why they’re working with Ecotricity.

 

We are delighted to be working with Ecotricity - the environment has always been at the heart of what we do, so we jumped at the chance to work with them. Our aim is to provide ethical alternatives to mainstream everyday products, so it’s great to be able to recommend an ethical alternative to the big six energy companies to our customers.

Ethical Superstore opened its virtual doors back in 2006. These were the early(ish) days of e-commerce, and with a certain online book store turning into much more and beginning to cement its dominant position in the market, we felt there was a need for an ethical alternative. We set out to sell a range of ethical products to cover all your needs, so sort of an ‘ethical Amazon’.

Being a more ethical consumer isn’t easy - there are so many different things to consider. Just because something is energy efficient, doesn’t necessarily mean the people making it were paid a fair wage for their work or produce. So we wanted to make it easy for people to see the ethics behind the products they were buying, so they would know if it was Fairtrade or certified Cruelty Free for example, without having to research the manufacturer and zoom in on images of the back of products to see the certifications.

We know that everyone has different priorities, so we simply want to make it easy for people to find more ethical alternatives to mainstream products, and be easily able to see the ethical credentials of the products they are buying. We have a wonderful customer base who have a passion for creating a better, fairer and more sustainable world and are always keen to get more people onto a more thoughtful way of consuming. We find people don’t intentionally want to buy unethical products - most of the time it’s simply because they don’t know the damage certain products can do, so it’s our job to educate people and make it as easy as possible to understand what they are buying and find ethical alternatives that are affordable.

Over the years, household brands have let customers down. Many big household names are now owned by large multinationals, the original product has been watered down, mass produced, made cheaper, filled with dubious ingredients and the quality reduced. Many of these household brands are simply trading off their brand name and are of inferior quality even to supermarket own brands. Many smaller brands have moved the game on significantly and make better quality products which are also more environmentally friendly, not tested on animals, and have a clear supply chain. As the larger established brands have a grip on the market and in most of the supermarkets, it’s difficult for these smaller eco brands to compete, even though they are making better products, so we love to support them and introduce new ethical brands and products to our customers. It’s great to see some of these brands we have worked with since we started now making their way into the general public’s knowledge, and spreading the message of ethical shopping to a wider audience!

The ethical brands we sell face a struggle to compete against the bigger established brands who will stop at nothing to keep their place. We face the same battle against supermarkets and Amazon, so we feel it’s good for ethical producers and retailers to stick together and work with each other to compete, grow and establish a sustainable position for themselves so everyone can buy more ethical, better alternatives.

Living a more ethical and considerate lifestyle is much more than just the products you buy, so we love to team up with other businesses with a similar ethos to us and help our customers find ethical alternatives in all aspects of their lives. Ecotricity is a great example of a good business doing things differently and not just focusing on profit. With the world seemingly at a tipping point with climate change, it’s now more important than ever to reduce our carbon footprint and as consumers and citizens, ensure our grandchildren have a healthy planet to inherit. Choosing to use green energy is key to this, so we would always recommend Ecotricity to our customers to help switch UK energy away from polluting carbon-based production to renewable sources. 

We can all do our bit to fight climate change and the damage we cause to our planet by doing small everyday things to make a difference, whether that’s to pick a green energy supplier, choose a greener car or say no to that plastic straw!

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