Pledge to be an Ethical Consumer

Start the new year with some meaningful resolutions. Each of our pledges will help you become a more, conscious and thoughtful consumer, every time you go shopping. 

Take up to 10 pledges to help promote ethical consumption in 2019. Even if you have already committed to ditch dairy or only buy sustainable palm oil, you can still pledge to continue buying ethically in 2019. 

Even just pledging your support for one action, will help make a difference to workers, animals and our planet.

Fill out the form below and tick the boxes next to the pledges you want to commit to. 

Find out more information about each pledge and why its important under the form. You can also find an infographic at the bottom of the page which you can share on social media, to show off your commitment to ethical consumption in 2019. 

Image: Boycott Amazon

1. Boycott Amazon

Ethical Consumer began the Boycott Amazon campaign six years ago. The call was made as part of a wider campaign to tackle tax avoidance. Despite, public outcry against tax avoidance, little has changed at Amazon in this period. In 2017, Amazon paid less tax in the UK than it did the previous year despite bumper profits. 

It isn't just its tax avoidance that has kept Amazon in the headlines, continuous reports of poor working conditions endured by both factory workers and office workers has further tarnished its reputation. It appeared its domination was unstoppable. However, more people are ditching the online goliath and switching to online ethical retailers. You can use your spending power to send a clear message to Amazon by boycotting them. Remember to let them know by emailing or tweeting them on our Amazon company profile page. 

Find out more about Amazon:

Image: Carbon Divestment

2. Divest your Bank Account of Carbon

With climate change posing a clear and present danger to the health of the planet, we need to take all possible action to avert climate catastrophe. However, many people don't see the link between banking with one of the big 5 banks and climate change. 80% of people bank with these banks (HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and Santander) yet they all have extensive investments in fossil fuels.

However, there are now plenty of innovative banks that support renewable projects rather than fossil fuels. So it has never been easier to switch to a greener bank. 

Find an ethical bank:

Image: cow

3. Go Meat-Free

In the last year couple of years we have witnessed an increased awareness about the connection between meat production and climate change. Livestock accounts for between 14.5% and 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. A new analysis by scientists, published in the journal Science, claimed that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. 

Our recent YouGov survey showed that people are listening to the pleas of environmentalists with 11% of people now claiming to be vegetarian, which is a 52% increase since 2016. The increased demand for vegetarian produce has been spearheaded by the younger generation, with 17% of 18-25 year olds claiming that they are vegetarian. Supermarkets have reacted to this growing demand by creating increased aisle space for vegetarian produce. As retailers and restaurants react to this growth, it means it is now easier than ever to find meat alternatives. 

Find our top-rated vegetarian substitutes:

Image: Good Energy wind farm

4. Switch to a Green Energy Provider

In 2017, electricity was still dominated by the big 6 (EDF, British Gas, SSE, ScottishPower, E.ON & N Power) with supplying around 85% of customers. However, this year it was reported by Energy UK that at least 2.5 million customers will switch away from the big 6 to smaller energy companies this year. 

The good news is many of these smaller energy providers, which are also cheaper, are providing green tariffs and support renewable projects. 

Find out which ones top our table: 

Logo: Cruelty Free International Logo

5. Go Cruelty-Free

For over 50 years, animals have been used in tests to attempt to measure the safety of some chemicals found in cosmetic and household products. While the EU has banned the use of all animal testing in cosmetics and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cruel tests for cosmetics. And almost all countries still allow the animal testing of cleaning products, especially their ingredients.

However, internationally over 600 companies are now certified by the Leaping Bunny scheme, the globally recognised guarantee that a brand has made a genuine commitment to ending animal testing for all its products wherever they are sold.

Find Cruelty-Free products in our guides:

Image: Lush shampoo bar

6. Ditch Plastic in Your Toiletries 

'Single-use' is the 2018 word of the year, which reflects the increased global awareness around plastic pollution. Many of the products we buy are wrapped in, or made in packaging that is only used once and then thrown away. Images of beaches filled with plastic bottles and straws has led to a global campaign, and it is consumers who are piling the pressure on companies to ditch unnecessary plastic. 

recent report by Zero Waste Europe highlighted that over 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, most of which is not recyclable.

However, it is the ethical brands who are helping to change the industry. Many of our best buys offer solid shampoo bars and soap bars instead of plastic bottles, or are creating packaging that can easily be refilled or recycled.

Find these products in our beauty guides: 

Image: ethical clothing retailers

7. Reduce your Clothing Consumption

The environmental cost of fast fashion hit the headlines this year, which has led to an investigation by the Environmental Audit Committee into the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry. Wrap UK estimates that £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year. Clothing retailers churn out new clothing at an alarming rate to help keep up with the demand for fast fashion. While the devastating impact of fast fashion on the environment, and the people who make our clothing, is the fault of fashion brands, it's us as consumers who can help decrease the demand for disposable clothing by buying less. 

An easy way to buy less is to commit to the 30 Wears Challenge. Before you buy an item of clothing, ask yourself, "will I wear it at least 30 times?". If the answer is no, don't buy it. This helps to change the narrative around clothing, to buy more thoughtfully, and to buy less. Of course, we would also support consumers buying from sustainable brands that reject the dominant fast fashion model rather than those who promote it. 

Find out more about Sustainable Fashion: 

Image: orangutans

8. Avoid palm oil or only buy sustainable palm oil

Palm oil is a complex issue that divides opinion. The palm oil industry is currently largely unsustainable being plagued with ethical issues such as widespread deforestation, the destruction of biodiversity and the displacement of people who have lost their lands to plantations, to name a few. But campaigners are working to persuade companies to make the industry more sustainable.

The debate surrounding palm oil hit the headlines when Iceland announced it would go palm-oil free by the end of 2018. However, Iceland's decision to boycott it altogether raised questions around what they would replace it with, and whether its replacement would be just as, if not more, destructive. 

Our Palm Oil Free list includes products that have no palm oil or if they contain palm oil, the palm oil is sourced using best practice making it as sustainable as is currently possible. 

See our palm oil guide:

Image: Fairtrade coffee oxfam

9. Buy Fairtrade Tea and Coffee

The constant fluctuations in the price of tea and coffee makes buying Fairtrade so important in these industries. The Fairtrade premium helps to ensure farmers get a fair price for their produce and it also helps to fund additional facilities for workers such as community centres, schools or medical expenses.

Fairtrade accreditation can also help to improve the working conditions of farm workers in an industry where workers' rights abuses are rife.

Image: badger

10. Ditch Dairy

While opposition to the killing of animals is a common reason cited by vegetarians, it's often overlooked that dairy production also involves slaughter. Male calves are removed from their mother at birth and because they don't have a role in this dairy system, they are often sent for slaughter for veal, raised for beef, or shot. Additionally, to ensure a constant supply of milk, many female cows don't make it past their 5th birthday, becoming physically exhausted or slaughtered if they don't produce enough milk. 

Additionally, this year Ethical Consumer joined forces with Animal Aid and Viva! to call for a consumer dairy boycott in response to the badger cull, which started in September. In 2017, nearly 20,000 badgers were killed in the cull, despite a lack of evidence that they spread Bovine TB, an infectious disease found in cattle. However, campaigners claim that this infectious disease is spread by poor farming conditions and inhumane living conditions rife in dairy production, not by badgers. We want to send a clear message to dairy-selling companies to put pressure on them to speak up against the cull.

Find out more:

Share your Pledge!

Share your pledge with friends and followers to encourage your community to become an ethical consumer this year. 

Infographic: share your pledge

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