our sustainability commitment

Sustainability at Ethical Brand Directory

Sustainability in business can mean lots of things – and can be interpreted in many ways.  Here at Ethical Brand Directory, we define sustainability as the impact the business operations have on the environment.

Sustainability is about our environmental footprint -and it is up to us to review the negative impact our business operations have on the planet, directly and indirectly, and make changes to reduce it. 

Our founder Roberta Lee hates ‘waste’ she likes to be resourceful and believes re-using and reimagining what already exists, is far better than creating new. 

The state of landfills and the overuse of plastic, and the abuse of the earth’s natural resources are shocking. 
The general lack of respect for our beautiful planet compels us and our founder to do as much as we can to reduce our negative impact on the world – and encourage everyone to take a pledge to do better every year. 

It is also about how sustainable what we do is when it comes to our own, and other people’s health.  Something our founder has shown greater compassion for since hitting severe exhaustion and burnout.  During the pandemic, she pushed herself to do more and  ‘try to help as many people as possible and experienced eco-anxiety about not doing enough to protect our planet. 

How she worked within the business wasn’t healthy or sustainable – this is a new consideration for how we conduct ourselves here at EBD – and how we work with our brands.


Sustainability in Practice

Sustainability can be interpreted in different ways. Here at Ethical Brand Directory, we define ‘sustainability’ as our responsibility to maintain our planet’s resources and to protect and preserve our planet for future generations. 

This means sustainability is about acting with integrity and respect, adhering to simple actions (not just words) that help us sustain meaningful and measurable actions that benefit both people and the planet over time.

It’s also about how we sustain our business over the long term without burning out, we must continue to explore how we can maintain our sustainable principles alongside our financial health and happiness.  Something we are very focused on for 2023 and beyond. 

Everyday Actions

Everyday actions count – we know it’s not possible to be 100%  sustainable whilst living in the modern world, but we endeavour to improve upon our sustainable efforts in all that we do. 

We commit to making conscious decisions with the knowledge and financial resources we have at our disposal.

Running the Daily
Business Operations

The impact of EBD operational decisions are always measured against their impact on:

  • People
  • Environment
  • Resources
  • Budget

Whilst every effort is made to only invest in and support other companies with strong ethical and sustainable standing – sometimes the focus is on ‘resourcefulness’ and making the most out of what already exists – even if this is not the most ethical or eco-friendly option.

We avoid sending items to landfills and try to maximise the life expectancy of all business-related products and equipment.  We believe this is more ‘sustainable’ than keeping up with ‘new’. 

Measurable Action

  • In 2019 we started planting trees to help offset our carbon footprint 
  • IN 2019 our pop-up shops used a mix of new, upcycled, salvaged & preloved furniture and fixtures
  • In 2020 we switched from HSBC to a more ethical & sustainable bank – we now use Starling. 
  • In 2020 we stopped the use of printed business cards
  • In 2020 we stopped printing single-use flyers 
  • Since 2020 have reduced our reliance on Amazon Prime for fast deliveries by 90%
  • Since 2020 our founder has reduced her personal travel by 75% by consolidating travel into set days and utilising video meetings as much as possible
  • In 2021 we switched to Penfold pensions and opted for the sustainable pension plan*
  • In June 2022 we switched our website hosting to Green Geeks which has a 300% Renewable Energy Commitment, which ‘technically’ makes our website carbon-neutral – although we don’t actively promote this. 
  • We continue to support local, independent businesses for their services and products wherever possible
  • We buy second-hand business equipment, rather than buying brand-new items (where possible).
  • We only partner with other businesses with similar sustainability goals
  • We’ve reduced the printing of promotional marketing materials to items that are ‘evergreen and can be used for multiple events & projects 
  • We have continued to plant trees with One Tree Planted to help offset our carbon footprint.  
  • Each year we plant trees instead of sending cards at Christmas. 

*Affiliate link

Areas for Improvement 2023

  1. Our digital footprint is our primary concern as an online business – we use a lot of online storage and data.  By the end of 2023, we want to have reduced our data clutter and removed any excess digital assets being unnecessarily stored in the cloud.


  2. We’ve scaled back our operations and have committed to doing a lot less, with concentrated efforts in fewer areas. We have a smaller team now, so we need to re-adjust our SDG reporting to reflect the work that can be done with realistic stretch targets.  


  3. We want more upcycling and repair businesses listed.  We set a goal in 2021/22 to list more but we didn’t get as many as we hoped.  For 2023, with a surge of new care and repair businesses starting up, we hope to have more services listed to help people extend the life of their clothes, shoes and accessories. 


From Our Brands:

  1. We want to see more made-to-order slow fashion brands listed in our directory
  2. We want to see more brands that upcycle and transform waste into luxurious but useful items.
  3. We want to see more of our brands offering take-back, recycling, and repair schemes. 
  4. We want to see fewer brands using PU, polyester, and poly-blended materials due to microplastics and recycling issues. 
  5. We’d want to see more of our brands creating multi-functional items, designed to last many years
  6. We want to see more brands that are designed with circularity in mind, that show how they can be broken down and reused/recycled at the end of their life.
  7. We want to see more brands embrace a regenerative approach, soil-to-soil products, natural fibres, natural dyes, and more artisan-led production. 

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