Ethical Superstore Buying Policy
We stock products from a range of suppliers to offer ethical and eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products. We understand ‘ethical’ means something different to each individual, so we strive to offer a full range of products that meet different ethical criteria.
We make careful and informed decisions about the products we sell here at Ethical Superstore, so suppliers must sign our code of conduct, agree to our Modern Slavery Policy, complete a Supplier Equality, Diversity & Environmental Questionnaire, and fill in a comprehensive Product Information Sheet provided by us.
Products we list must adhere to at least one of our key ethics below:
- Fair Trade - We favour suppliers who use Fairtrade Certified ingredients and materials, are members of WFTO or BAFTS, or are audited by the Fair Wear Foundation. We understand that certifications can be difficult for smaller suppliers to gain certifications however, so we also look at fairly traded products with other ethical credentials.
- Organic - We ask for trusted organic certification where possible such as the Global Organic Textile Standard, Soil Association, EcoCert and NaTrue. Where certification isn’t possible we ask for evidence from suppliers that the ingredients and materials are from organic sources
- Eco Friendly - When looking at eco-friendly products to list we take the following points into consideration
1. Is it made in a manner that minimises the effect of production on the environment
2. Are the materials or ingredients sustainably sourced, recycled, natural or plant based
3. Is the product a plastic-free/zer waste alternative
4. Does the product use alternative energy sources and reduce energy consumption
5. Is the product biodegradable
6. Is the product made by a brand that is a member of environmental organisations such as 1% for the Planet or Cradle-to-Cradle.
- Vegan - We strive to offer as many vegan alternatives as possible across all categories on our website
- Locally Produced - We favour products made in the UK to support local business. Products sourced locally also have a smaller carbon footprint. We try to be as transparent as possible and tag products with their country of manufacture.
- Education - Our educational products are those which can be used for children’s education and development, including teaching youngsters the importance of green energy and an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Educational products can also be those which educate people about key environmental issues and the world around them.
- Health & Wellness - This includes products that promote a healthy lifestyle, along with natural remedies and supplements, such as SAD lights and traditional herbal remedies as a more natural alternative.
- Supports a Charity - These are products which are made by charitable organisations or those from brands who donate a portion of proceeds to charities.
Groceries & Household
We favour vegan products and all of our products are vegetarian with the exception of sustainably sourced seafood and ethical pet food, although we have ranges of vegan and vegetarian pet food available. We have made the decision to stock sustainably sourced fish and seafood from Fish 4 Ever to offer customers an alternative to poorly sourced products that dominate the market. We felt that supermarkets were not offering a good enough sustainable and traceable alternative.
We work with brands who can assure us they work to high animal welfare policies, and we also make sure we are staying aware of emerging issues in the supply chain affecting animal welfare and habitats. For example ensuring farmers don’t use industrialised olive harvesting practices, and animals such as monkeys are not used for coconut harvesting. Grocery products must be palm oil free or contain sustainably sourced palm oil.
We only stock products free from GM ingredients, any product found to not be in accordance with this policy will be removed. We are committed to working with companies who do not use GM ingredients however we understand that there can be cross contamination which is why we also tag products that are Non-GMO Project Verified to provide extra assurance to customers.
Within our natural cleaning & household ranges we require products to be free from Parabens, Phthalates (DBP/DMP/DEP), Triclosan/Triclocarbon, Phosphates, DMDM Hydantoin, Chlorine Bleach and Ammonia.We also fully label products which may contain possible irritants such as SLS, although we aim to avoid products containing these ingredients.
We source plant based cleaning products with biodegradable formulas which do not harm marine life, and which are suitable for septic tanks.
We do not sell any cleaning products that are tested on animals. We favour vegan cleaning products and ensure we always offer vegan alternatives which will always be tagged appropriately.
Cosmetics & Personal Care
We offer a natural cosmetics & personal care range, favouring organic and UK based manufacture.
We will never sell products that are tested on animals and require suppliers to work to a fixed cut off date of 11th March 2013 coinciding with the full EU ban on animal testing. Most cosmetics and personal care products we sell are suitable for vegans and tagged as such.
As with our cleaning range, we require products to be free from Parabens, Phthalates (DBP/DMP/DEP), Triclosan/Triclocarbon, Phosphates, DMDM Hydantoin, Chlorine Bleach and Ammonia. We also fully label products which may contain possible irritants such as SLS, although we aim to avoid products containing these ingredients.
We ask all cosmetic suppliers to confirm that all mica used in their products is free from child labour
Any cosmetics and personal care products we offer must be free from palm oil or contain palm oil from sustainable sources.
We offer a mix of sustainable, organic, natural and fair trade clothing.
We favour clothing made with organic, recycled and sustainable materials.
We do not stock clothing made with real fur, feathers, leather, merino wool from mulesed sheep, angora, silk or down. We require all suppliers of wool products and clothing to work to an animal welfare policy.
We prefer to partner with brands who work with strict environmental policies, using closed loop systems, AZO free dyes and ship not fly products. We tag products with certifications such as the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and Global Organic Textile Standard which certify products are free from harmful chemicals. Where products and manufacturers do not hold these certifications we require suppliers to confirm they are free from phthalates, APEOs and AZO dyes. This includes any printing processes.
We list products made from viscose only when it is from a sustainable wood source, for example organic and FSC certified bamboo, Lenzing Ecovero™ and Tencel™ - which are manufactured from certified and controlled wood sources. We understand that although these materials are more environmentally friendly than conventional viscose they still require chemical processing, and so we favour brands that hold the OEKO-TEX Standard and work to a closed loop process.
We also care about the people who produce the clothing. We try to be as transparent about the manufacturing process as possible and identify products and brands that work with key certification bodies such as the Fairtrade Foundation, World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS), Fair Wear Foundation and WRAP.
We favour the use of certified organic cotton and we do not sell any product made with raw cotton sourced from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or the Xingjiang region of China.
We work with jewellery suppliers who use fair mined, fair trade or recycled materials. We currently do not stock pure gold products however should we do so in the future we will work to the Golden Rules set by the No Dirty Gold campaign. We do sell small ranges of jewellery with gold vermeil however this can be extremely difficult to trace back to the original gold source.
Home & Garden
Our aim is to offer fair trade home accessories produced using traditional artisan techniques to support local communities in developing countries. Our soft furnishing range offers organic bedding and towels along with fair trade handcrafted pieces.
We ensure our garden & outdoor range includes habitats for wildlife and products to encourage wildlife conservation and education. We also hope to inspire our customers to enjoy the natural world around them and provide products enabling customers to grow their own food. We ensure any plants contain peat free soil.
Our kitchenware range favours products designed to minimise food waste and the use of single use plastics. We also offer kitchen appliances and gadgets designed to promote healthy living and reduce energy consumption.
We understand the benefits of supporting UK based manufacturers both to the environment and the local economy and so offer a wide range of locally produced goods from small scale home & gift suppliers. Through the products we sell we also like to support social enterprises and charities where possible.
Wood & Paper
We are committed to ensuring the products we provide are manufactured in an environmental and sustainable way. When sourcing paper and timber products we not only ensure the wooden products are legally harvested, and we also strive to offer sustainable and fair trade woods.
Where timber and paper products are not FSC certified we require confirmation the raw materials are sustainably and legally sourced, or are made from recycled or reclaimed materials.
Over 50% of our wood & paper range is FSC certified. We also stock products made from sustainable woods such as mango, olive, rubber wood or upcycled wood from tea plantations, or sustainably sourced but without the FSC chain of custody certification. We are working with our suppliers to help them understand the importance of FSC chain-of-custody which allows us to tag products as FSC certified for extra reassurance to our customers.
More detail can be found in our timber sourcing policy.