It’s fine for an organisation to say they are ethical, but how can we truly know whether they are or not? In this article, we explore the world of ethical compliance and accreditation schemes and how they are valuable in assessing the true ethics of an organisation and its products range.
What is an ethical compliance and accreditation scheme?
By joining together individual words from the Cambridge English Dictionary we can create a definition:
- Ethical –
“relating to beliefs about what is morally right and wrong”
- Compliance –
“the act of obeying an order, rule, or request”
- Accreditation –
“the fact of being officially recognized, accepted, or approved of, or the act of officially recognizing, accepting, or approving of something”
- Schemes –
“an officially organized plan or system”
So, joining the words together we can create a definition, which would be:
“An officially accepted system/plan where ethical beliefs and values are assessed based on methods, orders and rules leading to official recognition.”
GoEthical understands how difficult, costly and complicated it is for smaller, independent brands to achieve official accreditations. Please read the later section, which discusses GoEthical ethical badges, which we have introduced to support traders and brands to create revenue and receive recognition for their efforts.
Examples of accreditation schemes
The following are just a few examples of organisations operating accreditation schemes in the UK and around the world:
- Fair Rubber stamp – certification for 100% natural rubber
- Fairtrade – challenging the way trade works, by obtaining better prices, working conditions and fairer deals for workers in developing countries
- Fair Wear – working with the fashion industry to improve the conditions where clothing is manufactured around the world
- Forest Stewardship Council certified – promotion and conservation of the world’s forests
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – the development, implementation, verification, protection and promotion of the Global Organic Textile Standard
- International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) – an organisation bringing sustainability to agriculture across the world
- Leaping Bunny – ensuring cruelty free processes for organisations in the development of products
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – setting standards for sustainable fishing worldwide
- Rainforest Alliance – globally protecting forests whilst also protecting the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities
- Sedex – certified as an ethical factory followed a Sedex audit
- Soil Association – COSMOS organic accreditation – encouraging organic farming, campaign for healthy soil and opposing intensive farming
- Vegan Society – accreditation verifying products are vegan-friendly
- Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) – aiming for a circular economy, encouraging the development of sustainable products and sensible uses of resources
Sources to find ethical accreditations
The following links may also help:
- Ethical Consumer accreditations: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/research-hub/ethical-accreditation-schemes
- UK: http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabels/?st=country,gb
- Europe: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/eu-ecolabel-for-consumers.html
- USA: http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabels/?st=country,us
GoEthical ethical criteria – badge guide
GoEthical has our own ethical or brand core value badges. We appreciate that for smaller ethical sellers the costs and processes involved in some accreditations are prohibitive. We value all sellers by giving everybody the chance to display GoEthical ethical badges, check our detailed ethical criteria guide here.
After verification in the seller process, GoEthical allow sellers to present their core value badges. Each seller can display for specific criteria they meet, which are – Biodegradable, Cruelty free, Cycled (recycled or upcycled), Eco-friendly, Fair Wear, Farmers Market, Made in Britain, Natural, Organic, Plant based, Social impact, Sustainable, Third party certified and Vegan.
This means that GoEthical has completed much of the “legwork” that buyers will want to know about the brand values of the seller and the products on offer. Why not also view the sellers own brand story video to learn more about their ethical values.
For formal accreditations and certifications, buyers should look for the relevant, official logos.
Download the GoEthical App – it only takes 2-3 minutes
Why not invest 2-3 minutes, that’s all it takes to download the GoEthical app from the following links:
Call us on 020 8337 2175 or contact us via email.