Many Christians feel called to live more ethical lives, but this is hard to do when 40 per cent of companies who claim to be sustainabile could be misleading customers and using the term as a marketing tool. Here, the CEO of ethical app ethy, explains why accountability is so important.


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Across multiple studies, surveys and polls, UK consumers are voting with their purses regarding green, ethical and sustainable beauty products. Around four out of five people describe themselves as “likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability” (SmartestEnergy 2022), and Deloitte’s 2022 Sustainability & Consumer Behaviour Survey showed a sharp increase in the number of people adopting a more sustainable lifestyle over the last 12 months. But what does mean, and as Christians, how can we be sure we are responsible in our purchasing power?

Product marketing specialists are aware of this trend and, in 2022, sustainability sells. Yet cases of “greenwashing” are on the rise, with little evidential proof of the provenance of the products being sold. Last year, the government’s Competitions and Markets Authority coordinated a global review of randomly selected websites and found that 40 per cent of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.

That is already having an impact on consumer sentiment towards sustainable products and brands. Deloitte’s survey also showed that businesses already lack the trust of consumers when it comes to their sustainability commitments, with nearly one in two consumers not knowing or not trusting businesses’ climate or sustainability commitments.

A global review of randomly selected websites found that 40 per cent of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.

“For all but the largest of cosmetics, hair-care and personal care goods brands, proving a product that has a transparent, accountable, and socially and environmentally responsible supply chain has been prohibitively expensive,” said Callum Miller, CEO of ethy, the UK organisation empowering brands to prove their ethical, sustainable credentials. “This puts salons and other cosmetics retailers at risk from miss-selling goods that are nothing like as ethical, sustainable or environmentally friendly as they claim.

“Being ‘green’ isn’t just shouting about sustainability, and far too many brands are jumping on the greenwashing bandwagon without any genuine commitment to the environment. We are championing ethical consumer shopping by enabling brands, big or small, to prove their commitments and ensure that both the retail chain and consumers are truly buying into greener products and not just greener marketing.”

Formed in 2020, ethy set out to give all consumer goods brands the chance to prove their ethical and sustainable credentials by significantly lowering the cost of supply chain audits and accreditation. In line with UN Sustainable Development Goals, and partnered with organisations such as Carbon Neutral Britain, WWF and the Association of Sustainability Practitioners (ASP), ethy is further championing sustainable shopping with bright, visual accreditation trust marks for consumer packaging and digital marketing, and a consumer app platform highlighting the best ethical brands.

Unless we act now to champion genuine ethical shopping, salons, pharmacies and other cosmetic retail outlets will be selling ever more goods that claim to be sustainable.

More than 100 brands have already undergone ethy audit and accreditation, and the ethy ethical shopping guide app has recently crested 10,000 regular users. 

“Unless we act now to champion genuine ethical shopping, salons, pharmacies and other cosmetic retail outlets will be selling ever more goods that claim to be sustainable, but are often far from it,” adds Callum. “Through stocking products with genuine ethical standards accreditation, the retail channel can demonstrate its commitment to the environment and capitalise on the growing demand for greener, more sustainable products.”

If this feels overwhelming, don’t despair! Why not start with the little things such as your morning coffee? Garden of Eden Coffee is committed to the Christian values of justice and fairness and ensures the coffee you drink is sustainable and supports the communities that grow it. GOE Coffee supports and helps fund the growth of ethical coffee plantations across the world, both by encouraging the sharing of best-practice techniques and by paying farmers a fair premium on the sustainable coffee they produce. You can buy GOE Coffee in packs of capsulres and wholebean on Premier Marketplace.