Ethical Brands – What You Can Learn From Eco Friendly Brands


Many businesses today put sustainability at the heart of their business — and rightly so. As the perils of climate change get pushed to the forefront, businesses need to step up and do their bit for the planet.

Read on to discover 4 ethical brands with a sustainable ethos, and what lessons we can learn from them.


Cleaning products are a necessity for humans — they destroy bad bacteria and keep our living spaces healthy. But often they contain harmful chemicals that negatively impact our planet.

Non-toxic products are a sustainability trend that isn’t going away. Leading the charge against this is Seventh Generation, a cleaning product brand that has transformed the industry. Its products are entirely free from the toxic chemicals that seep into our waterways and damage our ecosystem.

Seventh Generation challenges the status quo. It’s often thought that eco-friendly cleaning products are poor quality and don’t work as well as other non-green brands. Seventh Generation turns that on its head. Its products are eco-friendly, high-quality, and super-effective. They’re good for consumers, good for the planet, and good for Seventh Generation’s business — a great combination for an ethical brand.

Seventh Generation Cleaning Products


While the sustainability cause has been rumbling on for years, it has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years. Consequently, many are skeptical of green technology. But the ethical brands that make waves are those that experiment and trial new ways of being greener — even when the status quo says it can’t be done.

Don’t be afraid to try new approaches to sustainability. Innovations like Seventh Generation’s are how we find new ways of being ethical and sustainable in our industries. There are all sorts of eco-friendly business ideas out there to get inspiration from.


While Panasonic isn’t renowned on the public stage as an ethical brand, behind the scenes the electronics brand consistently strives to uphold sustainable values wherever it can. Panasonic’s energy goals are laudable for their ambition. By 2050, it aims to ensure all its devices are powered by 100% clean energy.

This is all part of its desire to create a safe and secure society with clean energy. Panasonic doesn’t want its green achievements to be siloed — it wants to share them with the world. Such endeavours show that Panasonic is willing to look beyond profits by helping society as a whole meet our collective sustainability goals.


Sustainability efforts are not solo ventures. Climate change is an issue that affects us all, so our efforts should be collective too.

Collaborate with other brands or organizations to create better, more effective green initiatives. While large-scale operations might be out of reach for smaller businesses that are time-poor and on tight budgets, there are other things you can do too. For example, you might create a carpool system that spans multiple businesses in your area, rather than just your own. Or if you work in a shared space, you could collectively pitch in to invest in green energy methods such as solar panels.

Green Workspace

You could even move to a shared space that is dedicated to green causes, such as Green Spaces. This co-working space incorporates solar panel roofs, LED lights and renewable energy sources to create an eco-friendly workspace that is a pleasure to be in.


IKEA might not immediately strike you as a brand with the planet at its heart, but the Swedish furniture brand has some great sustainability commitments. For starters, IKEA strives to only source its wood from sustainable forests. In 2017, it hit its goal, using 100% of its wood from sustainable suppliers. By 2020, it hopes to meet this goal every year. IKEA extends this commitment to its cotton and every single product that uses the material is sourced from ethical and sustainable sources.

As if that wasn’t enough, IKEA also has plans to sell DIY solar panels to its UK customers too. Installation of solar panels is traditionally expensive and laborious, but this strategy helps IKEA spread its sustainable ethos by giving its customers the power to live greener. While this is plan has been temporarily shelved due to trade issues, it’s still a solid idea that shows IKEA to be a truly ethical brand with a sustainable ethos.

DIY Solar Panels


It’s all very well having a sustainable ethos, but if your customers can’t continue that themselves, then the benefit stops with you.

Empower your customers to reflect your sustainability commitments. Give them the tools to live greener in their own lives. Brands have the power to change their consumers’ environmental attitudes for the better, and it’s an opportunity worth taking advantage of.

A simple way to do this is by providing educational resources that your customers can go away and use. Ebooks, checklists, essential guides — these are just a few examples of what you can create. And it’s easy too. Tools like Flipping Book let you easily create downloadable ebooks in minutes.

Educate and empower your customers to be better — just be sure that you match them in your endeavours.


For a shining example of an ethical brand with a sustainable ethos, one need look no further than Patagonia.

The US-based apparel brand is renowned for its avant-garde approach to sustainability. It actively encourages its customers to not waste money on products they don’t need — including its own. This is supported by its Worn Wear program which offers to repair their products rather than have customers replace them entirely.

Patagonia Worn Wear Program

Following reports that one of its store staff became sick, Patagonia discovered that one of its products contained formaldehyde. This led to the brand painstakingly re-evaluating its supply chain from start to finish (at no small cost).

Deliberately limiting its profits by telling customers not to buy its products? Expending time and money to transform its supply chain? Patagonia is a sustainability pioneer and a brand worth watching in 2019.


The planet should come before profits — that message is at the core of sustainability. Unfortunately, not every brand has the time or money to embrace this as fervently as Patagonia does. But there are still small changes you can make to replicate this.

Simple changes such as opting for more eco-friendly delivery and shipping methods are a good start, and this includes your packaging too.

Boxes and wrapping generate huge amounts of waste but there are ways to mitigate that. Green startups like Limeloop offer a wide range of biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable packaging that businesses can use. Getting rid of superfluous packaging (e.g. plastic label envelopes) is also a good step.

Finally: you can help your customers give something back through a donation scheme. Take Shopify for example – it includes a wide range of integration-friendly apps that make it easy for your store to go greener. Carbon Checkout lets customers donate towards a carbon credit scheme that offsets the carbon from their purchase, and One Planted Tree is a cool little app that encourages customers to donate a dollar to plant a tree. Simple and easy, both apps are hugely popular with eco-conscious merchants and customers.

These changes won’t save the world, but it’s isn’t about being 100% perfect — it’s about making steps towards that goal and being a little bit better every day.

The examples listed above are just a few brands that are doing their bit for the planet every day. But preventing climate change is a global effect, and we all have to play our part. Follow the tips above to create a greener, more eco-friendly business today.


-This blog was written for Fairware by MicroStartups, a business community that celebrates inspiring startups and small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a startup making your way in the business world, they’re here to help. For the latest news, inspiring stories and actionable advice, follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.