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Ethical Shopping Princ‍‍‍iples‍‍‍


Below are some ethical shopping principles that will help shape a better world tomorrow.‍‍‍‍‍‍

Don’t worry if you have some questionable brands around you today – just gradually try to replace them with brands approved by The Good Shopping Guide over the next few years.

Vegetarian and vegan products

Look out for the Vegetarian Society symbol. It is hard to completely avoid animal products, but the Vegan Society publishes a useful guide called Animal Free Shopper.

Local Shops

Look out for local, independent stores. Using them means you use your car less. They also offer a more personal service and they help to support the local community.

Non-GM food

Although 70 per cent of the public oppose the use of genetically modified food, it is increasingly finding its way into our diet. Look out for GM-free labels, the Vegetarian Society symbol or the Soil Association symbol. These all guarantee GM-free.

Organic produce

Organic food is free from chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Look out for the Soil Association symbol or contact the association on 0117 314 5000 to find your nearest outlet.

Health food shops

These are the best places to support. They tend to stock fair trade, vegetarian and organic products as well as vitamins and herbal remedies.

Fair trade

Look out for Fairtrade Foundation marked products, which guarantee that workers have been fairly rewarded for their labour. Organisations such as Oxfam and Traidcraft also sell fair trade goods on the high street or via mail order catalogues.

Ethical money

Choose an ethical investment fund as well as one of the more ethical banks and mortgages. These decisions are key as they involve such large amounts of money.

Products not tested on animals

Look for ‘not tested on animals’ labels or contact the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection or Naturewatch for an approved products guide.


Recycled products save resources and reduce pressure on landfill sites. Many everyday things, especially paper, printer cartridges and TVs, can be recycled. For advice on recycling points in your area contact Wasteline (0870 243 0136).

Wood products

Many timber products originate from virgin rainforests or unsuitably managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council operates independent verification of sustainable timber and paper products. Look out for the FSC logo.

Getting around

Walk as much as you can and use public transport (where it’s any good!). When you use a car, try to journey share as often as possible – too many of us drive solo in our cars.
Don’t buy unethical brands

Avoid the brands that do not score well in The Good Shopping Guide. Together we have the power to make companies change.


Choose energy efficient brands where you can. There are several different rating and labelling systems, including one from the Energy Saving Trust, a non-profit organisation partly run by the government. Also make sure you switch to one of the greener electricity suppliers.

Second-hand goods

Like recycled products, these help to save resources. Unwanted items that are in good condition can be donated to charity rather than thrown away.

Plastic bags

Good shopping is not just about what you buy, but how you carry it home. Avoid using non-biodegradable plastic bags – invest in a re-useable shopping bag from an ethically sound company.

Look for our Ethical Award logos

If you see our Ethical Company, Brand or Product logos you know that the brand has scored well on our ethical audit.

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