It’s time to make better choices in what we buy and consume. From using eco-friendly products to buying from companies that treat their workers fairly, here’s how you can find ethical alternatives to anything.
When we talk about making an ethical choice, there are different aspects to look at. For example, how a company behaves with its employees or a firm’s carbon footprint, or even how they treat animals. Importantly, you don’t need to be strict about ethical choices either. The first step is finding out what’s out there.
1. Ethical.net (Web): List of Ethical Tech Alternatives
Ethical.net is one of the leading websites to find ethical alternatives to several technological brands, products, and services. It also features articles with different takes on ethical choices, such as a guide to foraging and the ethical and sustainable side of Christmas.
The Resources tab has the long list that you’re looking for. It deals with apps and tech services, such as email and search engines, broadband providers, streaming services, office tools, messaging, etc. But look closely for a few interesting choices.
For instance, it’s no secret that most major companies make smartphones in China where labor is exploited. And there are several privacy implications too.
Ethical.net suggests alternatives for smartphones that adhere to certain ethical standards, like the sustainable and ethical Shiftphone.
Apart from the readymade resources, the website also hosts an active forum where you can discuss such topics with like-minded people. You can learn from each other and find what ethical living is all about, plus get recommendations for things not on the lists.
2. Take Care (Web): Discover Companies Focusing on Sustainability and Ethics
Take Care is creating a platform for laypeople to discover companies that focus on sustainable methods and ethical practices. The fields range from food and health to large-scale projects like architecture or biotechnology.
There are so many ethical issues out there, and so many companies are tackling it in their own unique way.
For example, the simple toothpaste you use every day has questionable ingredients and is eventually packaged in non-recyclable plastic. So there’s a company called Bite that’s making zero waste toothpaste tablets, packaged in glass bottles.
It would be difficult to find out about a company like Bite without a platform like Take Care. There are a few featured companies on the main page but dive into the full list to discover innovative solutions to the problems we face today. You might find a simple way to make a difference with a small change.
3. Eticaly, Good On You, and r/EthicalFashion (Web): Fashion Without Ethical Compromises
The fashion, style, and beauty industries are notorious for ethical transgressions such as mistreatment of animals, unfair trade practices, and wasteful productions. But if you thought that looking good requires that compromise, a few websites are here to dispel that notion.
Eticaly and Good On You round up ethical fashion brands, and categorize them based on their values.
Eticaly filters them by eco-friendly, vegan, handmade, fair trade, and zero waste.
Good On You categorizes brands by the type of product, and measures each company’s impact on planet, people, and animals.
Go through the list to find specific issues like organic wear or reusing deadstock fabrics. Both are simple catalogs though, stating what each brand does and linking back to the official store.
r/EthicalFashion is a subreddit to discuss fashion and style choices that take some sort of an ethical stance. The community also maintains a master list of ethical fashion brands to add to what you’ll find at Eticaly or Good On You.
Plus, if you’re unsure about any fashion choice, you could ask others to look into it. It’s a fairly supportive subreddit that tries to help rather than preach.
4. Ethical Consumer (Web): UK-Based Non-Profit Since 1989
Since 1989, Ethical Consumer magazine has been tracking how companies and products affect different problems such as climate impact, sustainability, fair trade, or human rights violations.
While primarily meant for the UK, the advice on the website is generally applicable anywhere in the world.
The magazine does an excellent job of investigating, scoring, and ranking the ethical and environmental records of several common products. These product guides are largely distributed in categories like energy, fashion and clothing, food and drinks, health and beauty, home and garden, money, retailers, technology, and travel.
In each category, you can also find a cheatsheet for the major issues affecting that industry. Ethical Consumer will explain, in simple terms, the problem and how you can make a difference.
The website also maintains a Boycotts List.
Campaign groups often call for consumers to boycott a certain brand or product due to an ethical violation. Ethical Consumer lists all of them in one page, with a quick explanation of why you should avoid it.
5. Platar (Chrome): Extension to Suggest Alternatives While Shopping
You don’t need to remember every single cause you want to support or brand you want to avoid. Google Chrome extension Platar will do that for you, suggesting an ethical alternative while shopping online.
Once you activate Platar, you get to choose from a list of campaigns started by organizations like PETA, Greenpeace, Clean Sugar Campaign, and even Ethical Consumer.
Sign up for those causes you believe in, and Platar will add products from their boycott list. You can even add campaigns yourself, but they’ll have to be approved by the app.
When you’re browsing Amazon or another shopping site and come across one of those products, the Platar icon turns red. Click the icon to find out why the product or brand is recommended for a boycott.
Platar also suggests a few alternatives from brands that aren’t on its no-no list. It’s a convenient way to keep shopping while retaining your conscience.
Download: Platar for Chrome (Free)
For an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
Being more aware of your purchase decisions is only one step in helping build a better planet. But it’s still an excellent step to take, especially for beginners. If you want to do more and go green, then check out these apps for a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Image Credit: IgorVetushko/Depositphotos
Read the full article: 5 Sites to Find Ethical Alternatives to Tech, Fashion, and Unfair Brands