Running a small business has taught me many things. Above all, I’ve learned just how many small businesses there are out there, trying to make a living but also trying to make the world a better place. I’ve met so many amazing businesspeople who have such passion for what they do and have not been tainted by cynicism and ego. But size doesn’t always matter.
There are plenty of small brands that don’t operate sustainably or pay their staff a living wage, and there are some large organisations that are adding real value to the world and setting high ethical standards. So, it’s true to say that shopping sustainably isn’t always easy. However, it’s so important that we support ethical brands. Not only to keep them in business and help them grow but also to show retailers that ethics are important to us. As consumers, we have more power than we think. What we buy and where we buy it from can affect the way the business world decides to operate.
That’s why I wanted to share with you, my lovelies, the other ethical brands I love. In selecting these I looked at a range of businesses. Those making sustainable products that can reduce plastic or prevent toxic chemicals from entering our water or air and those helping people improve their wellbeing. I looked at businesses who are purpose-focused and those that were managing to grow without harming the planet. What they all have in common though is a great product that I myself use or that I recommend.
What are your favourite ethical brands?
Truthpaste and Olive & Joyce have a lot in common. Both vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil free and Brighton-based, we are both blending natural ancient remedies with modern techniques to make products without a load of nasty chemicals.
It’s especially important that toothpaste does not contain toxic ingredients because we literally wash it down the plughole and straight into our water supply. Truthpaste, above all, is focused on oral health and so, within the parameters of their ethical values, they have produced a toothpaste that not only whitens and cleans teeth but also holistically cares for the health of the whole mouth.
I can testify as to how effective it is. This toothpaste has kept my teeth white, it smells scrummy and they have a kids' version too.
Hybrid Herbs specialise in medicinal mushrooms to treat all sorts of ailments and help us to function better on a day-to-day basis. I’ve found them an excellent way to naturally calm the symptoms of perimenopause and calm my hyperactive (ADHD) mind when it’s in overdrive.
If I know anything for sure then it’s the healing power of plants. Certain mushrooms are packed full of nutrition and can have calming effects on the mind. However, harnessing these properties means hours of boiling and preparation to get to that goodness. Hybrid Herbs do all that work for you, extracting the goodness you need and supplying it in a highly concentrated version.
Using only the highest quality, 100% natural ingredients, this is a vegan and cruelty-free product focused on promoting wellbeing. Medicinal mushrooms are supplied in powdered extract form and can be added to smoothies, put into tea or sprinkled on salads, but I strongly recommend trying their mushroom coffee.
If you make a swap this year from any chemical product to something all-natural, then please let it be deodorant. Many standard antiperspirants contain aluminium compounds, parabens, propylene glycol and all sorts of other nasty chemicals. Whilst a depressing amount of our products contain the same or similar things, what makes it worse with deodorant is that we apply it directly under our arms, where it can enter our bloodstream. It is also where some of our hormone receptors are located which can react with or to the chemicals.
Like most products I love, Wild Deodorant cut out all the nasty chemicals and makes use of sustainable packaging, without compromising on the quality and effectiveness of the product. They supply a reusable aluminium applicator and all-natural refills and they plant enough trees to keep operations carbon negative.
This cacao and vegan chocolate brand has the best branding! And the product’s are pretty damn amazing too! Choc Chic produce powdered cacao and cacao blends perfect for making vegan recipes, hot chocolate and smoothies. With extra natural nutrition often added, these packets of chocolaty goodness are free from dairy, sugar, gluten, palm oil, soya and additives.
Choc Chic also know their supply chain well, and founder Galia Orme has travelled across South America visiting the cacao farms and meeting with the farmers. They are committed to sustainability and consistently working to ensure minimal to zero environmental impact.
You can buy Choc Chic powdered cacao blends through their website and at ASDA, Holland & Barrett, John Lewis, as well as some other shops. Go get their immunity blend, it is my favourite :).
Y.O.U Underwear is a B Corp and a fabulous maker of comfy pants! Yes, they make conscious efforts to be sustainable but it's their actionable addressing of equality that makes them so loveable. Using a ‘buy one give two’ model, Y.O.U provides underwear to men, women and children in Africa and the UK who don’t have access to underwear. For every pair of pants bought, two are donated to Smalls For All.
They also work with various other charities and organisations focused on improving lives and promoting and providing access to menstrual hygiene.
It’s so often the small changes that give access, particularly to women and girls, to employment and educational opportunities that can lead to the far bigger changes. Furthermore, they use organic cotton, sustainable manufacturing processes, ensure no one is exploited in the production of their products and plant trees. What’s not to love?
Apart from a great cuppa, Pukka strives to make the lives of those who produce their herbal teas better. They have become a large organisation but their ethics and commitment to sustainability were there from the beginning and they’re still there now. They are highly transparent, regularly producing and making available their Impact Report. To stay on mission as they grow they even have a Mission Council.
Of course, I also love Pukka because they’re using the power of plants to fuel our wellbeing. I love so many of the blends. Those that seem to uplift and awaken me during the working day and those that calm me and get me ready for sleep.
I love a good cup of tea - especially when it’s good for my body and the planet. That’s why you’ll sometimes find a Pukka teabag included in your Olive & Joyce order.
If you’re passionate about chocolate (and if you’re not I’m not sure we can be friends) then you’re going to love Knoops. From one shop in Rye to an online and cafe retailer with 8 stores in the UK, Knoops are making hot chocolate an experience.
They operate a chocolate % menu so you can select the strength of your chocolate drink (cold drinks and shakes are available) and then add your choice of milk (dairy or plant) and extra flavourings. If you’re not lucky enough to have a Knoops store on your doorstep, or you just can’t get enough, then chocolate can arrive by post so you can create your chocolate comfort at home.
Their ethical brand credentials? Well, the packaging is sustainable and they are meticulous about ensuring their supply chain remains aligned with their values. They are also very transparent, displaying their credentials on their website and sourcing only from growers committed the preservation of our planet.