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What Makes a Brand Sustainable and Ethical?

There is a rising demand for sustainable and ethical based products and brands.

The term Sustainable and Ethical are becoming more mainstream within the consumer world and many brands are hopping on this trending direction in order to meet the demand. But what does it truly mean to be a sustainable and ethical brand? Are some brands taking advantage of these terms to look more appealing to their customers? Dig a little further and you might just find that some sustainable marketed brands are in fact not that sustainable at all…

We think it’s important to understand what truly makes a brand or product ethical or sustainable. And to also be aware of the marketing “schemes” that are used by many brands in order to look progressively ethical from the outside.

We’ve searched some of the key factors that play a role in making a brand sustainable and ethical. Before we begin, lets talk a little more about some of the marketing tactics brands (that don’t like to walk the talk) often play.

Greenwashing: A Facade of a Marketing Tactic

There is term known as “Greenwashing” the environmental industry's version of “whitewashing”. It is a term that essential means a brand is making their audience believe that they are doing more than they actually are. When greenwashing, a brand might lead their customers on through high marketing budgets in order to make consumers think they are more sustainable than they really are. This is a common marketing tactic used by companies to reach more sales, especially when the terms such as “ethical” and “sustainable” are quite unregulated.

Now that we’ve identified some of the false claims brands use to lure in their customers, lets look at ways to spot a truly eco-friendly brand.

Spotting Eco-Friendly Brands & Products

When it comes to being able to identify whether a brand or product is truly following an ethical and sustainable practice, we recommend looking at these key components:

There are two key factors to consider here:

1. Ingredients

2. Business Practices

Ingredients – If you’re familiar with some of the unethical ingredients out there, a simple glance at the ingredients list is enough to give you a bigger picture as to what the brand's ethics represent. But if you are not aware of some of the top unethical ingredients, here’s a list for you to look out for as red flag ingredients:

Palm Oil

Carnauba Wax

Synthetic Fragrances and Perfumes

Business Practices – The idea of sustainable and ethical practices are constantly evolving. Here are some of the key factors we’ve noted that reveal just how ethical a brand or product truly is:


Ethical Sourcing

Giving Back

It’s ok to be suspicious of labels, especially with those commonly used words such as “natural” or “pure” which look reassuring at a quick glance, but search a little further at the ingredients list, and you’ll see whether those slogans are indeed standing up to their claims. It is also good to note that the factors involved in maintaining a sustainable and ethical brand requires more time and dedication (which is why many brands resort to cut back on costs by taking short cuts). Often sustainable brands and products will be pricier but it comes with the assurance that your money is being invested into bettering the planet with a company that truly cares about the environment and the components involved.


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