ethical shopping websites
Online shopping is a quick, convenient way to buy almost everything these days. However, as more consumers become concerned with labor conditions and the ethics of the companies they are purchasing from, online shopping has become more complicated. In order to help users see which brands align most with their ethics and values, multiple platforms have become available to help take the guesswork out of ethical shopping. Using one or all of these ethical shopping websites allows consumers to vote with their dollars and take some of the guilt out of online shopping.

Good On You

Good On You is available both on the web and as an app. It ranks clothing brands on a zero to five scale based on their performance in three categories: people, planet and animals. The organization then uses the ratings of these categories to formulate the brand’s overall rating from one to five. Good On You provides links to where users can buy Good and Great brands (rated fours and fives, respectively) on its respective rating pages.

The people category focusses on workers’ rights across a brand’s supply chain. Factors taken into consideration include practices and policies related to child labor, worker safety, forced labor, the right to join a union and payment of a living wage. The planet category considers a brand’s impact on the environment. Specific metrics included in the evaluation are resource use and disposal, carbon emissions, energy use, water use and chemical use and disposal. The animal category is concerned with whether or not a company uses animal products, and if so, the sourcing of such products. Specific animal products Good On You notes include fur, down feathers, angora, karakul, shearling and the skin and hair of exotic animals. The company also considers if and how brands use wool, mulesing and leather.

For each of the three categories, Good On You also considers whether or not brands are taking positive steps toward becoming more ethical or showing industry leadership. Conversely, it also considers “negative citizenship” practices, such as lobbying against legislation to reduce harm or increase transparency.

The organization sources information used to determine brand ratings from independent certification schemes and rating projects like Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Where one of the rating projects does not cover an ethical issue, Good On You utilizes the brand’s public statements. However, Good On You only uses brand statements if they make specific and relevant claims. In most cases, if these claims are false, the company in question would be violating misleading advertising laws, and thus, people would not consider the claims reliable.


Ecoture is one of Australia’s only ethical shopping websites. It allows users to shop ethical clothing and beauty brands all in one place. Like Good On You, Ecoture allows users to see which brands align most with their values. Icons designate whether or not a brand is cruelty-free, natural, upcycled/recycled, ethically made, organic, vegan, handmade, sustainable or vegetarian.

Ecoture’s Impact

Ecoture also commits to alleviating labor abuses and the poverty that comes with them. Today, an estimated 40 million people are garment workers, and 85 percent of them are women. Ecoture has partnered with i=Change to help empower the girls and women working in the garment industry. The organization partners with multiple NGOs in order to support projects that directly impact the lives of women and girls worldwide.

With every purchase from Ecoture, consumers may choose an NGO fighting on behalf of women and girls in developing countries. Then, Ecoture donates $1 per sale to that customer’s organization through i=Change. Customers can then track the impact of Ecoture and i=Change supported projects, allowing them to see just how Ecoture is using their contributions.

Online shopping does not have to mean compromising on ethics or core values. With ethical shopping websites like Good On You and Ecoture, consumers are able to choose which brands, causes and values they should use their dollars to support and promote.

– Shania Kennedy
Photo: Pixabay

Design 2 Transform HackathonOver 80 volunteers met at the Nairobi innovation hub (iHUB) in March 2016 to participate in the second edition of an event dubbed “Design 2 Transform Hackathon.” The event involves a one-day challenge that brings together diverse individuals to create professional websites for community based organizations (CBOs) across Kenya.

CBOs are nonprofit, private or public outfits that represent a significant segment of the community. Each CBO is engaged in meeting human, educational, environmental or public safety needs.

The organizing principle of the event is that involving a diverse mix of individuals will generate richer outputs. Thus a background in software development and web design is not a pre-requisite.

“Anyone with whatever skill can come and be part of the change we all want to see,” says Nelson Kwaje, team leader of Design 2 Transform. “The person with the web design skills in the team will teach the rest of the members how to do it, practically, the accountant will help create the content, the photographer will advise on the photos…everybody can do something!”

At the event’s inaugural edition in January 2016, 45 volunteers worked together to successfully create six websites for six orphanages that previously did not have a presence in cyberspace.

According to organizers of the hackathon, the capability of a CBO to connect with donors and partners is severely limited when they lack an online presence. The organizers’ hope is that the websites created during the hackathon will address this issue. In addition, the websites serve to create platforms where the CBOs can broadcast their stories and projects to a greater audience.

The second edition of the event, much like the first, involved volunteers working in teams. Each team was assigned a CBO and was asked to deliver a website, social media pages, a logo, a business card, a letterhead and a banner.

For example, Kenya Deaf Agenda, which deals with disability stigma, and Karinde Child Love, which provides a home to Kenyan street children, are two of the 10 CBO’s that will soon have active websites designed during the second edition of Design 2 Transform Hackathon.

One of the key supporters of the second Design 2 Transform Hackathon was the Kenyan company LIVELUVO. Through its app, LIVELUVO has created a “Digital Village” that connects individuals and organizations with the services and information they seek. Though this network, businesses can reach new customers and individuals can gain access to potential employers.

Ryan Doyle, Head of Community Development at LIVELUVO says that the company was happy to support the hackathon due to the beautiful meeting of talent, community and enthusiasm that the event promotes. According to Doyle, a professional website amplifies an organization’s voice. He hailed the collaborative efforts of Design 2 Transform to empower the community.

Organizers of the Design 2 Transform Hackathon echo the sentiment that volunteers not only contribute to a good cause, but can also gain opportunities from the hackathon. Some such opportunities include training by professionals, interaction with web designers and business opportunities and partnerships.

June Samo

Sources: Design 2 Transform 1, Design 2 Transform 2, LUVO, My Luvo 1, My Luvo 2, NNLM, Shiku Ngigi
Photo: Flickr