Ethical Buying Policy …

This shop is run on behalf of Friends of the Earth by New Internationalist, and our buying policy reflects both organisations’ aims.

Friends of the Earth believes:

  • There is a tomorrow: We need to use the planet like there is a tomorrow. This means living within the limits of the natural world.
  • Everyone gets a fair share: Everyone, everywhere, now and tomorrow, deserves to have a good life.
  • Change the rules: We need to change the rules so that the economy works for people and the environment, not pit one against the other.


New Internationalist aims to:

  • Report on issues of world poverty and inequality.
  • Focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and powerless worldwide.
  • Debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic needs of all.
  • Bring to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice.

How do we choose our products?

We aim to source products that ethical consumers want to buy, and that promote strict a) environmental and b) ethical supply chain (inc fair trade) criteria.

Environmental criteria

All buying decisions have an impact on the local, regional and global environment. Friends of the Earth’s shop aims to minimise the environmental impact of our business and to operate in a responsible manner, and wherever possible, have a positive impact.

Eco friendly products are ones that are less harmful to human health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose.
Environmental impacts can arise at any stage of the product lifecycle as a result of raw material extraction, processing, manufacture, distribution, use and end-of-life management.

Our eco friendly products should be:

  • Fit for purpose and value for money
  • Serve a useful / necessary purpose
  • Encourage supporters to take action to support our key campaigns (bees, energy, greener products)
  • Energy and resource efficient, eg wind up shaver, recycled washbag.
  • Minimum use of virgin materials, eg recycled glasses, organic seeds.
  • Maximum use of post-consumer materials, eg envelope reuse label,
  • Non-polluting, eg non-toxic cleaning materials, organic cosmetics.
  • Durable, easily upgraded and repairable
  • Reusable and recyclable, eg sustainable gift wrap.

In addition, when considering the impact of an item’s production, we look for suppliers that have a high level of environmental responsibility, including:

Waste management
Waste should be minimised and items recycled whenever this is practicable. Effective controls of waste in respect of ground, air, and water pollution should be adopted. In the case of hazardous materials, emergency response plans must be in place.

Packaging and paper
Undue and unnecessary use of materials should be avoided, and recycled materials used whenever appropriate.

Processes and activities should be monitored and modified as necessary to ensure that scarce resources are conserved, including water, flora and fauna and productive land in certain situations.

Energy use
All production and delivery processes, including the use of heating, ventilation, lighting, IT systems and transportation, should be based on the need to maximise efficient energy use and to minimise harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Fair trade criteria

Each time you buy a product labelled as "fair trade" you are supporting a local community that has benefitted from the production of that item.

Whilst we work with suppliers who are members of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) or the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) we don’t insist on membership of these schemes – some suppliers can’t afford it, some are just starting out, some are too small, and some just don’t want to join.

We ensure our suppliers know who makes their products, and the conditions in which they are made. In nearly all cases we talk directly to the people who have visited where the products are made, by a community association or family, for example. When we are satisfied that our purchase will bring real benefit to the community where the items are made, we label them as ‘fair trade’.

For these products:

  • Employment must be freely chosen;
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected;
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic;
  • Child labour shall not be used;
  • Living wages are paid;
  • Working hours are not excessive;
  • No discrimination is practised;
  • Regular employment is provided;
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

Further reading on the New Internationalist ethical buying policy.