Hazel Needham

Hazel Needham


Shop sustainably and you go a long way to reducing the damage you do to the environment. But how?  

Well, as more consumers promote that they want to shop sustainably, more businesses are trying to prove that they can accommodate. In fact, how to be an ethical consumer and how to shop sustainably is becoming easier as options abound.

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High street supermarket brands are now often the target of climate activists for their damaging impact on the rainforest (see Greenpeace’s protests against Tesco). And with public pressure mounting many are beginning to look at their supply chain and promote how to shop sustainably.

Co-ops are introducing plastic recycling schemes to support the ethical consumer and promote how to live a low-waste lifestyle. Sainsbury’s are also trialling an in-store recycling scheme to help reduce plastic pollution and demand for finite materials.

With sustainability at the forefront of public discourse, now more than ever is the time for brands to consider their environmental impact.

But with so many places claiming to be a sustainable shops (see our article about greenwashing) it can be difficult to know which ones are truly making a difference.

10 things you can do to help save the earth - Full credit to EcoWatch

Shop Sustainably: Look for TRANSPARENCY

It’s not difficult for a shop to claim to be environmentally-friendly. What is difficult is knowing whether or not their claims are legitimate.

With so many factors going into what makes a business sustainable or ethical – fair pay and working conditions for all employees along the production line, use of finite materials, energy consumption, carbon footprint – it can be difficult even for the business to know whether it is being sustainable.

So, the best way to establish whether a brand is facilitating your desire to shop sustainability is to check whether it is trying to hide anything.

Example: Panda London

Panda London is a UK brand that sells eco-friendly bedding. But rather than just stating that it is a sustainable shop, it explains how on its website.

The company uses bamboo, which releases over 30% more oxygen into the environment than ordinary trees; it does not use any harmful chemicals and the products are all 100% vegan – so they’re not harming any animals along the way, either. 

Panda London doesn’t stop there – it continues to prove its worth as a sustainable shop by deconstructing the production process.

This transparency proves that Panda London is absolutely the sustainable brand it is claiming to be, and the obvious choice for us ethical consumers!

Shop Sustainably: Look for PURPOSE

Not dissimilar to transparency, a sustainable brand is likely to be absolutely clear about how it is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and operate with ethical values – by stating them directly.

Example: Karma Drinks

Karma Drinks is founded on the principle of rejuvenating an unsustainable and unethical sector.

Under the ‘Made with Purpose’ section on their website, this sustainable brand proudly promotes:

“At Karma Drinks, we believe that something as frivolous as a fizzy drink can be a force for good.

We believe that what you drink should not only taste good, but be good to the planet, good for the people who grow our ingredients and as good for you as a fizzy drink can be.

To hold us accountable to our mission to be the world’s most ethical soft drink, we established The Karma Foundation. 1% of revenue from every Karma Drink goes to our Cola nut growers and their communities in Sierra Leone, and The Foundation guarantees the funds raised help drive economic and social independence.

The direct connection between the people who drink our drinks, and the people that grow our ingredients is how we live up to the name on the label. Karma.’’

I’d say that Karma drinks are a pretty safe bet when it comes to wanting to shop sustainably.

karma cola are a good way to keep hydrated partying sustainably

Shop Sustainably: Substitute parts of your everyday 

All of the examples mentioned in this article are partnered with One Tribe, so are protecting the rainforest and being a sustainable brand by default.

But there are loads of ways that businesses can get involved with reducing their impact on the planet, whether it be through the reduction of plastic pollution as demonstrated by the supermarkets, or encouraging customers to shop vegan, or getting out into the community and teaching how to shop sustainably.

Example: Nuzest

A brilliant way to shop vegan without sacrificing personal nutrition or carbon footprint is using plant-based brand, Nuzest. As well as being completely planet-orientated in its manufacturing processes, and having environmentally-friendly products, Nuzest goes the extra mile to be a sustainable brand through its partnership with GROW.

GROW is a small charity that is supporting Nuzest in a number of upcoming projects, specifically to teach young people and their families about where their food comes from and the importance of looking after themselves and their planet.

nuzest brand product range image

Example: Skull Crusher

As protectors of the Amazon Rainforest, us at One Tribe are particularly concerned with the sustainability of the coffee trade. Skull Crusher are fierce with their promotion of sustainable and high quality coffee, and are quick to prove so by the fact that all of their coffee is certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

As explained on the Skull Crusher Sustainability page,The Rainforest Alliance works with sustainable coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their communities.

Coffee farms that earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal are audited annually with detailed environmental, social and economic criteria designed to protect biodiversity, deliver financial benefits to farmers, and foster a culture of respect for workers and local communities.

Rainforest Alliance certification also promotes decent living and working conditions for workers, gender equity and access to education for children in farm communities.’

Skullcrusher original

Find out more . . . 

To find more businesses that are protecting the rainforest with every sale, visit the One Tribe website. Protect the rainforest AND buy into sustainable brands in a few clicks? Now that’s how you can start to shop sustainably! 

Take a look at our brilliant brand partners here.

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