United Kingdom (London)
“We know that ‘ethical’ can mean very different things to different people. But for us, it’s broadly about pursuing sustainability instead of growth, and putting people above profit.”
Imagine being able to go to just one place to find ethical companies and products that are ‘good’ across the board – from search engines like Ecosia, to energy providers such as Good Energy, to shoes like Veja sneakers, to media and resources of hope… like Atlas of the Future.
The team at ethical.net are building a free, collaborative, online directory to do exactly this. They want to make it easy for anyone to find out which companies in any given sector are ethical – that is, which companies put people and planet firmly above profit.
The not-for-profit project was started by app and website developer Catalin Zorzini (below) after he was left baffled when trying to find a pair of ethical shoes. He couldn’t find much information on companies’ ethics online (besides the advertising copy that’s on their own websites), and a lot of the research that he did unearth was outdated, locked behind paywalls, or hampered by old-fashioned web design.
Cata thinks that ethics should be integral to business, and this research should be accessible to everyone – so he’s decided to create a home for it himself. He hopes that by combining the small London team’s research with crowdsourced user submissions and other sites’ reviews, the directory will be able to cover many sectors, and remain dynamic and constantly up to date. And from his experience creating the Plum Village meditation app, Cata knows the importance of good design in getting people engaged in a project – which is why he’s enlisting artists and designers like Nahuel Bardi, Maarten Hunink and Pomona Studios to bring their beautiful, irreverent art to the site’s identity.
But the ultimate goal of the project isn’t to get people to buy stuff from more ethical companies. Cata, who works closely with ethical practitioners across many disciplines – like Cennyd Bowles of Future Ethics, David Abram of Wild Ethics, and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community from Plum Village – ultimately aims to get more people thinking more deeply about the impact their everyday actions have on the world: “applied ethics”.
So the team has bigger plans for using the platform to promote wider systems change: like a petition feature, toolkits for practising ethical living and allowing users to interact directly with companies, to push them to change and improve their business ethics.
The directory is currently under construction, and will be live by the end of the year. Once it’s up and running, create an account, start sharing your knowledge and help the team make ethical the new normal.