An Ethical Business is thought to have four pillars: People, Animals, Planet and Profit. This means that ensuring the wealth of employees, reducing or eliminating animal products and testing, and minimizing or even reversing its environmental impacts should be as important as turning a profit for it to be sustainable in the long run.
Saying that “you are voting with your wallet” may be cliche, but it’s true. Companies will go where the consumer interest is. It’s no coincidence that huge brands like McDonald’s are launching plant-based burgers, or that now you have the Clean at Sephora stand to easily find clean and blue beauty products. Adidas has a line of shoes made from recycled sea plastic, and will soon launch a 100% recyclable shoe.
This stuff matters. Unfortunately, finding ethical and sustainable options can be time-consuming to research so we wanted to make it easier. SheSapiens has vetted each brand listed below to confirm they are ethical in one way or another. Our advice: support the small businesses and put love into your community by shopping local or second hand!
Fair-trade means the brand cares about the labor force, workers’ rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, combatting structural racism, ending child labour and modern slavery, monitoring health and safety, providing financial security to suppliers, etc. This doesn’t have much to do with the country where products are manufactured but with the workers in the production chain.
Cruelty-Free means no animal testing has occurred, whereas Vegan implies the products don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products. For a brand to be ethical it should ensure animal welfare, reduce or eliminate animal products and testing, commit to not use fur, leather, wool, down and feathers, angora, and any type of animal hair or animal skin.
Eco-friendy means the brand considers the types of materials used (natural or recycled), the packaging, deforestation impact, product durability, maintenance instructions, shipping, energy waste, water usage, chemical use and disposal, etc. Environmentally-friendly, earth-friendly, and Green are just other words for something that’s “not environmentally harmful”.
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