ethics: other peoples' ethics - human rights - democracy - CO2

Ethiscore from Ethical Consumer a checklist of ethical "areas of concern" applied to companies, and this page tries to apply it to as practice in case anyone ever asks us to fill-in some kind of questionnare about this kind of stuff, and maybe you want to see the gaps: the things that we are not very good at that other people score.

Ethicsore uses a nobbly set of concerns that no one person is going to a agree with absolutely and support in all their purchases and investments, but it just makes better reading. At the other extreme are lists from Ethical Trading Initiative, set-up by civil servants to compare existing practices among clothes importers, which are more dull. All such scores tend to ignore the firms making things in Europe under EU law that are way-ahead of anything a well-scored multinational can achieve. 

bonobo ape pondering ethical instinctsAnimals

  • Animal Testing - not applicable

  • Factory Farming - not applicable

  • Animal Rights & Cruelty -  not applicable sells only vegan products, which saves checking fifty-plus sub-bullet-points. One thing to note is that this score is based on boycott campaigns over the years, so it's very different to a score from Ethical Trading Initiative that was set-up by the civil service to compare notes about existing ways of doing business. Ethical consumer scores companies down for involvement in any dairy farming in any country; it is against dams, it is against nuclear power and supply to armed forces. Not many of us think about every campaign or agree with it or channel every investment and purchase according to the campaigns.

For example, some vegans wouldn't enjoy going-round leather shoe factories or buying from leather merchants that sell nonleather footwear products.

Water for the Elephants by Sara Grueen - her previous book before one about Bonobo apes, for which this publicity picture was taken and got onto the internet from where pinched


  • Environmental Reporting

    We have a page copying the "Livestocks Long Shadow" environmental report's intruduction once tried to show a formal statement.
  • Climate Change

    Our country pages report CO2 emissions per unit of electricity in each country, and each product is linked to a country page.
    Goods made closer to us have less kilometres to travel; we don't put a number on it.
    Goods made on slow cycles of design change have more sea and road freight and less air freight, needed for samples trials and top-ups and accounting for about 8% of clothing freight according to one estimate.
  • Pollution & Toxics 

    We score badly on this because we sell plastic, mainly in shoe soles rather than anything disposable like bottles or plimsolls. It's the plastic chosen by UK industry just before a massive contraction under 1980s+ UK economic policies, so there isn't much choice of supplier or tooling; we have to use 1980s technology. An alterntive would be to buy shoes from further away, possibly in countries with human rights problems, and hope that the factories have the latest tek. We prefer the first option.r 

    Leather pollutes as well and all our footwear is covered by the The Footwear (Indication of Composition) Labelling Regulations 1995 as well as our own stricter standards.
  • Habitats & Resources - not applicable

    About wild animals, green belt, and the equivalent in countries that were once jungle. Likewise...
  • Palm Oil - not applicable

Video of Bonobo ape firing an AK47 gunPeople

  • Human Rights - we do well

    Here's an idea we're tried that other traders can copy for free.
    A new Human RIghts Index rates each country with a score. We've written it on a country page and linked each product made in that country to that page. Simple.

    Ethicscore have also changed their concerns lists to deduct points for "Non disclosure of country of origin in sector where sourcing from oppressive regimes is common"; a nifty idea. Talking of which, our flipflops are probably made in China, the butterfly-shaped pads we can send with mens shoes to make them fit women are made in China, but those are exceptions and anyway you've got the score page to check.
  • Workers' Rights - we do well does well on this.

    Products are made under EU compatible law for employment and discrimination except in Albania where the factory management is based in Italy but the factory is not. The Albania country pages lists some detail Discrimination against gay people is a problem at the moment in Albania.

    Products are made in countries with a social security system (except if they're not, like belt buckles and flip flops but the rest are). Countries with social security systems are less likely to have a large growing population, so there's less pressure to work at any cost.
  • Supply Chain Management does well on this.

    The only way to do this for free is to buy from countries where the government does it, at least to the low standards listed like "freedom of association". does this. The section reads as though it's designed for someone importing from Asia or Africa, and the introduction says that it's for importers.
  • Irresponsible Marketing - not applicable

    About food, drink, tobacco, and fashion advertising on models. Not applicable to - nor the point below because we haven't had a military order yet. We do have some tools for making boots as worn by fighter plane pilots, but we don't have space for a lasting machine and cutting presses to make the boots.
  • Arms & Military Supply - not applicable


  • Controversial Technologies - not applicable. Examples include

    • genetic engineering
    • nuclear power
  • Anti-Social Finance - not appicable. Examples include

    • Company criticised for enforcing poor terms on small suppliers
    • Mis-selling of products
    • Payment of bribes etc etc
  • Boycott Calls - not applicable. Examples include

    • Amazon, Crufts and others - listed here
    • Russia, Syria and others - listed here
  • Political Activity - donors who fund lobby groups who pretend to be impartial etc etc

    This is a list of pet hates - the party donors who may also hire lobbyists and may be members of a supposedly expert trade association. has a page or two about a pet hate like that, which is now dormant but might re-emerge. Involvement with London Fashion Week and British Fashion Council isn't mentioned, but they are funded by the Greater London Authority and the Department for Business, so we pay taxes towards them
  • Tax - we do OK

    Veganline pays taxes towards a welfare state so it is way-ahead of some rivals, but it
    benefits from VAT exemption on small firms that costs larger rivals another 20% on the amount they mark-up. These firms might also pay for rent and insurance on a bricks-and-mortar site, so the tax paid is all legal and standard and ordinary but unfair on slightly larger shops.

Sustainability "those brands making a postiive impact"

  • Company Ethos - we do well on this. The headings are

    • All ... fair trade ... not tested on animals criteria... innovative environmental alternatives
    • ... a mutual organisation
    • All ...e organic
    • ... vegetarian in a sector where this is not the norm
    • All products are vegan
    • Not-for-profit trading structure
    • Company is a B corp

  • Product Sustainability (organic, fairtrade, energy efficient, vegan & vegetarian products) - we do well on this of course