Best Websites for Ethical Online Shopping in the UK

Eco online shopping

Finding ethical and sustainable items for sale online has never been easier. But with so many companies selling eco-friendly products, where should you buy from?

This guide takes a closer look at many of the UK’s most prominent ethical shopping sites. The sustainable websites we’ve picked out range in size, product selection, appearance and site features.

We’ve done the hard work for you and summarised each website’s product selection, notable features, sustainable credentials and UK delivery information.

Big Green Smile

Big Green Smile is one of the UK’s largest online-only natural and organic retailers. Their website lists more than 5,000 unique, sustainable and ethical products from various brands.

The company started out in 2006, when a group of young, British entrepreneurs began selling water-saving products during a UK hosepipe ban.

Demand for the products was immediately high and they soon decided to expand their business to include a wider range of eco-friendly products, including clothing, cosmetics and more.

The brand has continued to grow ever since; the number of brands and products featured on Big Green Smiles’ website has steadily grown since its founding. In 2012, they opened new warehouses around Europe to make their products more readily available, both in the UK and further afield.

Product Categories

Big Green Smiles sells items from around 250 different brands. Popular sustainable brands stocked on the site include Ecover, Vitabiotics, Dr Bronners and Faith in Nature.

  • Personal Care
  • Parent & Baby
  • Men’s Items
  • Healthcare
  • Cleaning Products
  • Vegan Items
  • Gifts & Travel

Unique Features and Services

For all orders costing £10 or more (before shipping), customers can pick two free samples for their free samples page (at the time of writing). These products change frequently but typically include cosmetics including soap, body wash, moisturising creams.

Their website allows shoppers to prioritise which ethical or sustainable standards they want products to be listed by.

For example, you could limit your search to only biodegradable products, or products that are exclusively Vegetarian Society Approved. You can find these products by using Big Green Smile’s “criteria” search page.

The customer review feature is excellent; most products have at least one verified review, consisting of a 5-star rating and the customer’s written feedback. Customer feedback is genuine and generally useful as many customers write detailed opinions on previously purchased products.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

All Big Green Smile orders are sent from UK warehouses via DHL. UK-to-UK deliveries are carbon neutral and can be tracked to your door via the DHL track website. Customers are notified of an approximate delivery time on the delivery date.

Big Green Smile has a minimum order amount of £15. Delivery is free for all orders over £55 (before shipping and fees).

The company sends items in environmentally-friendly packaging; recycled cardboard boxes, recyclable brown paper and biodegradable corn pellets. The company is aiming to become carbon neutral (net-zero emissions) by 2030, according to their sustainability impact report.

 

Shared Earth

Shared Earth began life as a small shop in York in 1986. It has since expanded to a large online shopping site; they sell a wide range of fair trade products, including food and clothing. The company has close ties to Bali and the Philippines, where they source fair trade gifts and traditional handmade paper.

Shared Earth’s tagline is “Fair Trade, Eco and Ethical”. They hold these values in high regard, ensuring that the products they sell are produced fairly and ethically, using sustainable and recycled materials wherever possible. Most items on their site are accredited as Fair Trade, Ethical Trade, Eco-friendly and Recycled or Remade.

The company directly helps the environment through charity contributions. In 2020, they donated £2,000 to the Joliba Trust to tackle deforestation in Mali. More recently, Shared Earth gave grants of £9,000 to workers in Bali.

Product Categories

  • Homeware
  • Garden
  • Fragrance
  • Bodycare
  • Accessories
  • On the Go
  • Gifts
  • Zero Waste

Unique Features and Services

As well as selling items made on a production line, Shared Earth stocks a range of one-of-a-kind products. These include ornaments and gifts handmade from recycled aluminium, glass, computer parts and bike parts.

They sell a wide range of wooden items, using wood from FSC-certified forests whenever possible. Many of these items are handcrafted both in the UK and by artisans internationally. The woods used are driftwood, albesia, mango and raintree.

Some Shared Earth homeware items are unique finds in the UK; the site sells suncatchers, mosaics, world ceramics, salt lamps and much more. Many of these items are handmade in small batches by craftspeople in their traditional country of origin.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

According to the “Our Aims” link at the bottom of their website, Shared Earth became the first UK gift, fashion and homeware importer to fully decarbonise its supply chain. They use biofuels instead of traditional fossil fuels to transport their items around the globe.

They package orders using corn chips or recycled bubble wrap as packing materials. They reuse cardboard boxes wherever possible and seal their boxes with biodegradable tape.

UK delivery costs £4.99 – orders over £30 qualify for free delivery. Shared Earth expects most orders to arrive within 5 to 7 working days. They honour returns made within 7 days of purchase.

 

Traidcraft

Traidcraft started selling sustainable products from around the world to the British public over 40 years ago. They’re dedicated to Fair Trade practices, having helped to set up the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992.

None of their items are tested on animals and they stock an extensive range of vegan-friendly cosmetics and foods.

Traidcraft’s UK-based shopping site has a feefo Platinum Trusted Service award and product feedback posted on the site is verified as genuine by feefo.

Most products have overwhelming positive (5/5) ratings. The site has a £15 minimum order cost – this allows them to cover their overheads and pay their warehouse staff the national living wage.

Product Categories

All products listed on Traidcraft’s site are either Fair Trade certified (for most items) or WFTO approved (for some handmade items). Many products feature sustainable and recycled materials. Their food selection is completely organic wherever possible.

  • Home & Garden
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Fashion
  • Household
  • Gifts
  • Sale Items

Unique Features and Services

Traidcraft’s products are selected from every corner of the globe. They showcase handmade products produced by artisans, paying them a fair wage for their hard work. Where possible, no virgin plastic or harsh chemicals are used in the production of Traidcraft’s items.

Despite selling a wide range of vegan-friendly items, including fashion, the company does stock some real leather and silk products – these are hand-crafted by local craftspeople following centuries-old techniques.

Some Traidcraft products are constructed from eco-friendly materials including recycled leather, faux leather and eco-leather. Eco-leather is real leather that’s carbon neutral, as it’s processed with sustainable and vegetable-based treatments.

Traidcraft’s average customer rating is 4.8/5, according to feefo (an independent feedback verification system). This represents excellent quality and customer service.

Among ethical online shopping sites, Traidcraft is perhaps the most transparent in their business – they voluntarily report their financial accounts to the general public.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Traidcraft uses DPD and Royal Mail to deliver orders to customers. Deliveries are fulfilled within 5 days but can also be collected in-person from their warehouse in Gateshead.

Express delivery is available for an additional fee (£7.50).

 

Wearth

Wearth is a small, British ethical shopping retailer started in 2017. They sell sustainable and eco-friendly products from 250 independent, British brands through their online store.

All products listed on Wearth’s website are vegan and cruelty free. Wearth is partnered with ForestNation and has sponsored the planting of over 2,000 trees in Tanzania so far. They’re aiming to plant over 10,000 by the year 2030.

Product Categories

Wearth’s selection of sustainable and ethical products fall into the following categories.

  • Beauty
  • Toiletries
  • Zero Waste
  • Refills
  • Homewares
  • Jewellery
  • Fashion
  • Gifts

Unique Features and Services

Wearth sells a range of product refills – these help to significantly reduce packaging waste. According to the World Economic Forum, consumable items (like washing up powder, milk, dried foods and cereals) will become increasingly refillable. They suggest that refilling should become more commonplace in homes, businesses and at supermarkets.

Weath is a member of ClimatePartner – this independent delivery tracking service verifies that Weath’s supply chain and deliveries are scrutinised for their environmental impact.

At checkout, Klarna (a Swedish buy-now pay-later service) can be used to purchase Wearth products.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Delivery costs vary from brand to brand; many of Weath’s products qualify for free delivery. The standard delivery fee is £2.99, excluding furniture and large-items deliveries.

Wearth’s deliveries are 100% carbon neutral – since their founding, they’ve saved 20,550kg of carbon dioxide from release into the atmosphere.

Standard UK delivery typically takes between 3 and 5 working days. They accept returns within 14 days of purchase.

 

eBay

Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the largest online retailers worldwide, operating in over 32 countries. Unlike most online shopping sites, the products being sold aren’t stored in one central location – they’re stored by eBay’s many sellers themselves.

Buying second-hand items is an excellent way to reduce waste and support the environment.

eBay adheres to six of the United Nations Supporting Sustainable Development goals. These include working with NGOs to improve the sustainability of their practices and aiming to become 100% renewable-energy powered.

According to eBay, their environmental approach has allowed the company to save over 1.5 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted into the environment and saved 47 thousand metric tons of waste from landfill.

At least 90% of eBay’s data centres and offices are powered by renewable energy; they’re committed to achieving full carbon neutrality in the near future.

Product Categories

eBay is the largest retailer featured on our list. Although many of the items listed aren’t produced with sustainability in mind, reusing products rather than throwing them away has a massive impact on carbon emissions.

  • Collectables & Antiques
  • Electronics
  • Fashion
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Motors
  • Sporting Goods
  • Toys & Games
  • Other Categories

Unique Features and Services

Despite the company’s massive size and continued growth, the amount of energy wasted by eBay is decreasing. They’ve reduced their water consumption from 357,000m2 to 268,000m2. Currently, 90% of eBay’s offices, warehouses and data centres are powered by renewable energy.

In many ways, eBay is an auction site as well as a standard shop. Many official eBay stores, operated by brands themselves, offer buy-it-now products only. However, individual sellers and some stores auction their items instead – this means that bargains and savings are often up for grabs.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Unlike most sites, the packaging of each product ordered is decided by the individual seller, not eBay themselves. Customers can contact sellers directly for more packaging information. Some sellers may be willing to use a low-carbon delivery service if requested.

The delivery option is also decided by product sellers. Some sellers offer an express delivery service at additional cost. Uniquely, some sellers allow their items to be collected (for free) instead of posted.

 

Babi Pur

Catering for newborns, toddlers, children and parents, Babi Pur offers a wide range of products to UK consumers. Their website is chock-a-block with kids’ products, each guaranteed to be sustainable and ethical.

Babi Pur stocks products from 100’s of brands. Although the site’s primary focus is kids and parenting products, they also stock a range of Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts, food items (for children and adults) and supplements.

Product Categories

  • Organic Clothing
  • Reusable Nappies
  • Toys
  • Eco Life
  • Carriers & Slings
  • Health & Skincare
  • Baby & Nursery
  • Menstrual Cups & Pads
  • Parents & Maternity

Unique Features and Services

Babi Pur is one of the UK’s leading ethical shopping sites for kids. Their average rating from over 1,000 customer reviews is 4.9/5; this represents excellent service. Feedback on the company can be viewed on their Facebook page.

They have a range of Sale items; Babi Pur’s site features discounted items from various brands.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Babi Pur aims to keep the waste they generate to a minimum. They use a local recycling firm to manage their waste, but reuse cardboard boxes for customer orders wherever possible. Reusing packaging like this reduces how much new materials are needed, which reduces Babi Pur’s impact on the environment.

Orders are sent in recycled and FSC-approved cardboard boxes or recycled plastic mailer bags. They fill delicate orders with recycled paper roll and use recyclable, paper-based tape to seal packages.

Delivery costs £2.95 for UK mainland addresses. Free delivery is available for orders exceeding £40. Babi Pur operates a no-quibble returns policy; return items within 30 days for a full refund.

 

Ethical Superstore

Ethical Superstore is a British ethical and sustainable shopping site. They fulfil thousands of orders each week, delivering a wide range of items across the UK.

The majority of Ethical Superstore products have at least one sustainable or ethical accreditation from a leading organisation; this is often from the Soil Association Organic, the Energy Saving Trust or the Fairtrade Labelling Association.

Products without accreditation are hand-picked by Ethical Superstore, to verify that every product they sell is ethical, sustainable and manufactured transparently.

At checkout, customers are asked for a small donation; this is distributed between charities including Amnesty International, Newcastle Food Bank, Médecins Sans Frontières and Trees for Life, a carbon-offsetting scheme to re-wild the Scottish Highlands. In 2021, more than £163,000 was donated to charities through Ethical Superstore.

Product Categories

  • Groceries & Everyday
  • Cleaning & Household
  • Fashion
  • Home & Garden
  • Beauty, Health & Wellbeing
  • Baby, Child & Toys
  • Gifts
  • Pets

Unique Features and Services

Ethical Superstore runs an online blog that’s regularly updated with useful tips and tricks. The blog posts educate consumers on everything sustainable, from energy-saving tips and special offers to the latest developments in sustainable technologies.

For easier product delivery, orders can be sent to any local DPD store and picked up at a time that suits you. This gives customers a whole 7 days to collect their package.

Ethical Superstore has a gift-wrapping service, available for most items. Gifts are hand-wrapped in premium-quality paper and a personalised message can be included inside. The wrapping paper used is 100% recycled and is designed and produced in the UK. Gifted products caare se

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Ethical Superstore uses recycled and reused cardboard boxes to package their items. The company uses WrapPak paper instead of plastic bubble wrap. They exclusively use FSC certified paper.

Delivery of Ethical Superstore products is fulfilled by Evri UK and Royal Mail; a flat fee of £4.95 is added to orders under £50. Orders over £50 qualify for free delivery. Delivery to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Scilly Isles is available for a small additional fee.

 

The Ethical Shop

The Ethical Shop is owned and managed by The New Internationalist, a not-for-profit activist magazine that presents news and showcases interesting stories from around the world. The magazine is a co-owned co-operative, managed by its workers and investors.

Profits from The Ethical Shop are circulated among various charities and NGOs, including Amnesty International. They sell consumables, fashion items, stationary and more through their online ethical shopping site.

Product Categories

The Ethical Shop sells a large range of goods under the following categories.

  • Books & Music
  • Calendars
  • Fashion
  • Gifts
  • Home & Garden
  • Children

Unique Features and Services

The Ethical Shop allows customers to search their site by values and causes. This helps to narrow-down searches for products that are; recycled, eco-friendly, educational or made in the UK.

They work alongside The Soil Association to sell charity Christmas cards, gifts and books. The Ethical Shop also works with other charities, including the War on Want and the Free West Papua Campaign.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

The Ethical Shop carefully packages delicate items in shredded cardboard, rather than plastic bubble wrap. They use recycled cardboard boxes and wherever possible, reuse cardboard boxes. Orders are sealed with eco-friendly paper tape and are completely free from plastic.

Standard UK delivery costs £4.99. Express delivery (next-day) is available for an additional fee of £12.00. Orders over £75 in value qualify for free delivery.

The Ethical Shop delivers to all UK addresses, Europe and internationally. They offer a no-quibble returns policy on UK orders.

 

Oxfam

Oxfam has been a UK high-street staple for more than. As well as more than 650 physical locations, Oxfam operates a large and modern online shopping service. They sell over 100,000 donated and new (branded) items on their online shop.

Their new products help local craftspeople and independent businesses both in the UK and abroad. Oxfam’s range of donated items are helping to form a circular economy, where products are reused and recycled rather than thrown away. This massively reduces the volume of waste that goes to landfill each year.

Oxfam is technically a confederation, not a private business like most ethical shopping websites; it’s the parent organisation of 21 independent charities located around the world.

Product Categories

The prices for donated items are decided by volunteers in Oxfam’s high-street shops and sorting centres. great-quality donated items are listed. Oxfam is run by a large team of paid staff and over 23,000 volunteers.

  • Books (Donated)
  • Mens, Womens and Kids Clothes (Donated)
  • Entertainment (Games, Music etc., Donated)
  • Home & Collectables (Donated)

Brand new items are sold under the category “Oxfam’s Own”. The following sub-categories

  • Accessories
  • Bee Range items
  • Books
  • Food & Drink
  • Gifts
  • Greetings Cards & Wrapping
  • Paper
  • Health & Beauty
  • Homeware
  • Moomin items

Unique Features and Services

Oxfam’s site allows users to narrow-down their search to products made exclusively by UK local businesses and independent craftspeople. Their range of “Oxfam’s Own” items are of excellent quality and often feature one or more sustainable materials, including recycled wood, cotton and denim.

The Oxfam shop sells a range of “Oxfam Unwrapped” charity cards and e-cards, which directly benefit people in impoverished nations. For every card sold, at least £1 is put towards providing clean water and healthcare, empowering local farmers and providing disaster response in countries across Africa.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Oxfam’s online items are dispatched from two central warehouses in the UK. The order processing time can take up to 1 week.

Deliveries are sent 2nd class by Royal Mail, at a charge of either £1.00 and £3.95 depending on the type of items. High-value and very large or heavier items will be sent by courier.

They offer a 28-days grace period to return any purchased items, without question.

 

Sancho’s

Sancho’s has been providing environmentally-friendly clothing, accessories and gifts to the British public since 2015. They have a physical store in Exeter but sell the bulk of their products through their website.

The name Sancho’s is a childhood nickname of the company’s co-founder, Kalkidan. Sancho’s was recently featured on the BBC One documentary ‘We Are England: Bossing It – Fighting For Fashion – Exeter’.

They exclusively use organic, recycled and recyclable sustainable materials in their products. Much of their clothing, including their men’s and women’s activewear, is made from recycled fabric to cut down on wastage in the fashion industry.

To ensure that all Sancho’s products are produced fairly and ethically, they use third-party accreditation More than 100 brands are featured on Sancho’s website. They regularly update their product selection and bring out new seasonal clothing ranges each year.

Sancho’s is partnered with a circular clothing platform called Owni, which helps customers to recycle and reuse fashion items.

Product Categories

  • Clothing
  • Jewellery
  • Accessories
  • Gifting
  • Lifestyle

Unique Features and Services

Sancho’s is a Black-owned business with a keen eye for top-quality products. Their products have received various ethical accreditations from organisations including; Fair Wear Foundation, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and PETA-approved.

They sell a range of ethical clothing for men and women. They accommodate plus sized people and have a handy, accurate sizing guide for these products.

They offer competitive prices on their products, and will match the price of their competition on request.

Sancho’s supports independent UK companies and international businesses, ensuring that their supply chain is ethical and sustainable. No forced labour is used in any part of Sancho’s and their partnered brands.

Product Packaging and Deliveries

Sancho’s orders totalling £50 or more qualify for free UK delivery. Otherwise, standard UK delivery costs £3.95. All Sancho’s orders are sent with tracked delivery.

For added peace of mind, Sancho’s gives customers the option to return or exchange items within 15 – 30 days of purchase.

 

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