Brands That Love the Planet
These days, we are more socially and environmentally conscious than ever before. It’s truly a feel-good way to live, and it’s never been easier.
Below are some of my favourite brands that offer great products to help us lead ethical lives:
FOOD & DRINK
Quorn – British born meat free brand, Quorn, offer a range of delicious and healthy meat replacement foods. From good old burgers (they offer both vegan and vegetarian options) and sausages to Swedish style meatballs, Fishless Fingers (a personal fave) and Quorn mince, it’s my ‘go to’ brand for a multitude of meals. The brand is super ethical and extremely committed to sustainability. What’s also interesting is that the guy at the very top of Quorn’s parent company is strict vegan and utterly obsessed with food security1.
Beyond Meat – My first taste of the Beyond Meat Burger was just a month ago and, if I wasn’t already living a meat free lifestyle, I would be converted. The brand is deeply passionate about offering ethical food choices and reducing environment impact. As a twenty five year vegetarian veteran and a recent vegan, it was almost too meaty, which says a lot for someone who was brought up in a working class Lancashire household eating everything from lamb chops to Spam!
Violife – I very often hear vegetarians claiming that they simply can’t make the shift from vegetarian to vegan because they love cheese too much – I feel your pain! Firstly though, let me just say that I’m a real believer in doing what’s right for you and I applaud anyone who simply reduces meat once a week, so no pressure here! I’ve tried many vegan cheeses, most of which have been rather nasty but a bit of Violife thrown on a burger or melted on toast or in cheesy potatoes is pretty decent.
I’ve also just discovered two independent vegan cheese brands, Nutcrafter and Tyne Chease and well, the ‘Vhalloumi’ from the former and one of the soft ‘cheases’ from the latter are both incredible! That’s my summer salads and after dinner ‘chease’ boards sorted. If you’re US based, I can fully recommend plant based cheeses from Miyoko’s Kitchen – utterly scrumptious and you would never know that it’s not dairy.
People Tree – Organic cotton and extremely ethical practices, their garments are great for basics. We can, therefore, make purchases safe in the knowledge that the good folks of People Tree are very dedicated to the environment and to ensuring that anyone involved in the production process is treated and paid fairly.
Patagonia - For all things outdoor related - which if you’re wanting to embark on a slightly more ethical lifestyle means that you’ll probably be wanting to get down with nature - these guys are the ones to be in bed with, or in a sleeping bag, as it were. They are fastidious about reducing their environmental impact; all of their cotton is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and a high percentage of their materials are made from recycled fabrics. Patagonia are part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and 1% For The Planet; they are the antithesis of fast fashion, even discouraging customers from purchasing too many of their own products!
Beyond Skin – An ethical and cruelty free vegan footwear brand who use only the finest of materials producing a range of stylish, practical and trendy shoes and boots. Their environmental philosophy states, ‘Leather production is an inefficient use of water; a cow can drink up to 127 litres a day. Leather production uses large volumes of water in raising and slaughtering the animal, and then during the tanning process. Water scarcity effects 4 out of 10 people on our planet, but developing countries suffer the most. As leather tanning is mostly out sourced to developing countries the limited water they have access to is being used industrially instead; plus puts people at risk of contaminated water due to unsafe disposal of effluent. On average, one cow hide will provide 18 pairs of leather shoes and each pair of shoes is accountable for the use of over 1.4 million litres of water! This figure includes the water used to rear and slaughter the cow, and to process the hide in to leather.’
Stella McCartney – For most of us, a once in a lifetime treat but also a stylish and ethical option for high end fashion clothing and accessories. McCartney is a trailblazer when it comes to using faux leathers; recycled polyester in replace of Brazilian calf leather, for example, creates 24 times less of an environmental impact. The brand is also supporting research to create vegan wool!
Lush Cosmetics – The smell of the high street!! Known for their bath bombs and body scrubs, Lush offer pretty much everything you need for face, body and hair. Highly ethical – none of their products or ingredients has ever been tested on animals and their entire range is suitable for vegetarians (many products are also classed as vegan).
Neal’s Yard – lovely products and a personal favourite. None of their products (or ingredients) have ever been tested on animals and all of their products are organic so no nasties, which is great considering that many well-known brands produce products that contain cancer causing DEA and Triclosan which, according to research, has been associated with antibiotic resistance. All of their ingredients are ethically sourced and all packaging is recyclable.
Dr Bronners – I always have a bottle of their castile soap in the house. As you can see from the quirky and rather heart-warming messages on their products, it has 14 uses including general cleaning tasks such as face wash, shampoo, shaving cream, and diluting the product for use in cleaning dishes, doing laundry, and washing floors. The company’s philosophy is to be kind to animals, the earth and the body and they base their practices on ‘six principles’; Work hard! Grow!; Do right by customers; Treat employees like family; Be fair to suppliers; Treat the earth like home; Give and give! How lovely is that?
HOUSE & HOME
IKEA - has invested in sustainability throughout its entire business operations, including the things us customers can see and the things they we can’t. It all begins with their supply chain – they source almost 50 per cent of their wood from sustainable foresters and 100% of their cotton from farms that meet the Better Cotton standards.
Method Home or Seventh Generation - As far as cleaning products go, I love both of these brands. They offer eco-friendly products that are free from harmful toxins and chemicals, and they are cruelty free with very ethical business practices. I mean, who wants to spray chemicals all over the house?!
BuyMeOnce – There are many independent companies springing up all over the world that are spreading the word about sustainability and that sell products to match the ethos of ethical living. BuyMeOnce is the brainchild of Tara Button whose primary objective is to source products which are built to last and which have minimal environmental impact. Selling everything from furniture to electricals, they are well worth a look.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it really is very easy to live ethically. The tiny little things we do each day make such a difference and will ensure that we can save the planet and leave a legacy for our children.
1Food security: People are considered food secure when they have availability and adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. (United Nations, World Food Programme)