According to the Ethical Markets Report 2017 the overall value of ethical spending grew by 3.2% last year to £81.3 billion – the highest total so far. In the first 2 weeks of 2018 ethical news has dominated the UK headlines, from the suggested 25p #LatteLevy to reduce plastic waste from takeaway cups to the ban on plastic microbeads coming into effect.
All around the world it feels like consumers are waking up to ethical issues and demanding more from brands. As the demand for companies to have a positive impact increases, small ethical businesses are ideally placed to fill this gap in the market.
Online community #EthicalHour went from strength to strength last year, bringing together over 25,500 ethically-focused business owners, bloggers and consumers across their network to support each other and grow the ethical economy.
The network, who run a blog and podcast all about ethical living and running an ethical business, ended the year on a high when they became finalists for the UK Blog Awards 2018 in the Green & Eco category, and were featured by CEO of Ann Summer Jacqueline Gold in her Women on Wednesdays (#WOW) Twitter awards, celebrating women-owned businesses.
#EthicalHour’s community has grown rapidly since their launch in June 2016. They now have a thriving weekly Twitter chat and Facebook group where thousands of ethical business owners, bloggers and consumers network and support each other.
Founder Sian Conway started the project when she began learning more about ethical living and went looking for support and advice online. As a marketing consultant, she quickly realised that many ethical business owners start small businesses based on their personal values and passion but don’t know how to promote themselves online and many of the resources out there aren’t tailored to positive impact businesses.
She started the community to bring these people together and now creates bespoke resources for ethical business owners to teach them how to do their own marketing, as well as providing sponsorship opportunities to ethical brands. One popular resource recently launched is the ethical marketing planner, a digital diary download which contains over 150 awareness days and causes in 2018 that ethical brands and bloggers can use to raise awareness. Sian has been using her blog and Facebook Live to teach people how to make the most of these opportunities and pitch themselves to the press to further raise awareness of ethical causes and grow their businesses.
#EthicalHour has quickly become the go-to resource for advice and support on ethical living and business, with Sian featuring on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme last summer in a debate in ethical living.
To further advance on their mission to unite and support over 20,000 changemakers by 2020, the network are now launching ‘The Little Black Book of Ethical Living’, a directory covering all elements of ethical living from cosmetics and fashion to travel and food. There will also be a section where ethical business owners can find business services from providers that match their values.
#EthicalHour have aimed to make the directory as accessible and affordable as possible in their mission to support smaller ethical brands, with listings starting from just £20 per year. The network re-invest their profits into raising awareness, promoting members and charitable causes – including microfinance loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries through Lend With Care and carbon offset, rainforest conservation projects through Stand For Trees. To date they have invested in 2 entrepreneurs and 6 rainforest conservation projects have been supported.
They are now accepting applications from brands that would like to feature in the directory and will be launching it to the public from February 2018. To apply or find out more please contact Sian Conway – firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website.