The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form part of a 15 year agenda led by the United Nations to tackle the biggest global problems through collaboration between governments, the private sector, civil society and individual action. Many social enterprises and ethical businesses use the SDGs as a framework to measure their impact.

Inside our membership community, we help ethical brands maximise their impact, reach their customers and grow their sales so they can work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As an impact business ourselves, we’ve also embedded giving back and progress towards the goals into our everyday operations.

OUR IMPACT FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Ethical Hour have achieved a 4 star rating from Support The Goals, which puts us in the top 4% of businesses for our commitment, plans, actions and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – this includes companies from the FTSE100 and FTSE250!

Support the Goals is an initiative to rate and recognise the businesses that support the Sustainable Development Goals. The key aims of the initiative are to :

  • Raise awareness of the Global Goals in the business community
  • Promote a structured approach to planning, target setting, and reporting in respect of the goals
  • Give young people work experience in corporate sustainability, so they understand how business can contribute to a better world

Find out more about how to get your business rated and join the Support The Goals movement here.

OUR SDG IMPACT COMMITMENTS & PROGRESS

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would create a more sustainable and prosperous future for us all. We work with businesses and organisations aligned to the SDGs and we recognise that no goal functions in isolation – they all have a positive impact on other areas and issues too.

All the goals are important. We have chosen to give particular focus to the following Sustainable Development Goals and impact targets, based on the areas of our work where we can have the most impact:

Goal 1: No Poverty

We pay all our staff and contractors the Real Living Wage or above, as defined by The Living Wage Foundation.

 

We invest a percentage of sales revenue every month into microfinance loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries, through partnership with Lend With Care. When repayments are made, these are reinvested into more loans. As of May 2022, we have made 71 loans to 499 entrepreneurs, which has also created 285 jobs and supported 1,802 families.

 

For every masterclass watched on demand in our resource library every month, we provide a day of literacy and business skills training to women in Uganda, which is outlined in more detail in SDG 8 below.

 

Every month, for every member of our paying community, we plant a tree. from May 2019 when our subscription model launched, to December 2021, we planted 2,270 trees with The Mango Tree – a Kenyan charity that are empowering families to overcome poverty. Because the focus of this project was to plant the trees as an income generating tool, the full lifecycle of the trees was not monitored, so we have not included them in our Climate Action commitments, because it cannot be guaranteed that the carbon remained stored and all the trees survived. In May 2022, we made the decision to plant trees with Ecologi going forward, in line with our climate commitments detailed in SDG 13 below.

Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

As of May 2022, we have directly supported and trained over 700 startup businesses and independent brands. We teach business skills and foster a culture of entrepreneurship, and share our knowledge widely through our business community and partnerships with universities and accelerator programmes – to encourage more people to start and grow their own business.

 

As of May 2022, we have provided 376 days of literacy and business skills training to women in Karamoja, Uganda, through microfinance organisation Five Talents. Karamoja has the highest percentage of people with no education, the highest rates of infant mortality, and the highest rates of female genital mutilation within the country (UBS & ICF International, 2012). 53% of Five Talents’ target communities live below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 a day (PPP) and 84% live on less than $2.50 a day (PPP).

 

Our annual #ShopEthicalInstead campaign is a responsible alternative to Black Friday, promoting conscious consumption and encouraging people to buy from ethical and sustainable brands. The impact of this has been outlined fully in SDG 12 below.

 

In 2019 we organised and hosted the Be The Change Awards – an ethical, free-to-enter awards programme specifically designed to celebrate independent businesses working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, to help grow the ethical and sustainable economy. 70 brands entered the awards and several finalists secured national and even international press.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Inside our membership community, we provide training on how to be a responsible, sustainable and ethical business, helping small business owners monitor and improve their supply chains and sourcing policies, drive behaviour change and encourage consumers to shop more ethically and sustainably, and take their eco-focused products mainstream to create a culture where responsible business, consumption and production is the norm.

 

Our annual #ShopEthicalInstead campaign reached over 7.7 million impressions worldwide in 2018. It reached 495,524 in 2019, and 1.7 million in 2020. It has been covered in major press including Vogue Business, Industry of Fashion, Ethical Consumer Magazine and Edie.

 

In 2018, we showcased 20 ethical fashion brands as part of our live event for Fashion Revolution, and held 3 panel discussions about responsible consumption and production in the fashion industry, with 200 people attending the event. In 2019, we trained 24 brands at a Future Fashion Focus seminar and had 168 people attend our Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution showcase.

 

We actively campaign against greenwashing. Our Founder Sian has trained hundreds of brands in the Green Claims Code – advertising standards for making sustainability claims, in partnership with the British Association of Fairtrade Shops, eBay for Change and the Arts Marketing Association. In 2022, Sian published her book “Buy Better Consume Less Create Real Environmental Change” which educates people on greenwashing and shares practical ways to shop less, shop better and take action as climate citizens.

 

We have our own sustainable procurement policy in place guiding the decision-making process when we need to buy something for our business.

Goal 13: Climate Action

Our website is powered by renewable energy and we have committed to offsetting the emissions it generates every year, based on our traffic numbers calculated from Google Analytics and carbon data calculated from the Website Carbon Calculator.

 

Due to the digital nature of our work, we rely on some cloud-based technology from large multi-national providers, who use renewable energy credits rather than energy direct from renewable sources. Many have pledges to move to direct sourcing, but have not completed this yet. Whilst we cannot control how these providers power their servers, we have signed the Sustainable Web Manifesto to demonstrate our commitment to reducing our own digital carbon footprint, and encouraging the third party providers we use to do the same.

 

We have committed to taking our tree planting pledge forward with Ecologi, from May 2022. Since 2018, we have also supported 7 rainforest protection programmes around the world with Stand For Trees – a REDD+ carbon offsetting and forest protection programme that prevents deforestation and enables carbon offsetting to UN standards. This equates to 15 tonnes of carbon offset to date – thirty times the amount needed to offset our website’s carbon footprint since we first began in 2016!

 

We don’t do ‘climate doom’. Although we recognise the seriousness and urgency of the climate emergency, we actively aim to avoid triggering eco-anxiety when we communicate. Why? Because it’s not good for people’s mental health, it stops them taking action, and it’s against our solutions-focused values.

 

In May 2019, climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion published an open letter encouraging advertising and communication agencies to “declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly”. Ethical Hour agree, and we took this opportunity to declare a climate emergency as a community. We signed a public declaration committing to disclose the percentage of our turnover generated from high carbon clients, and to reverse this percentage. We published a Client Disclosure Report in 2019 and 2020 and developed a Client Engagement Policy, which outlines that we will not work with fossil fuel clients, or those causing harm to people, animals or the planet.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Globally we now connect over 66,000 changemakers across our online platforms to work together towards a more ethical and sustainable future. Across our platforms we create educational content to raise awareness of the Global Goals and how people & businesses can support them, and we champion good examples of this in practice.

 

In January 2019, over 1,200 Instagram posts were created as part of our #MeetTheChangemakerChallenge, which connected changemakers from around the world, showcased their story and shared their impact, to inspire others to take action for the Global Goals.

 

Every week we bring together the sustainability and impact community on Twitter for our weekly #EthicalHour Twitter chat, where the community shares knowledge, resources and inspiration to help each other make an impact towards the goals in their business, career and personal lives.

 

During our 3 year impact partnership with B1G1, which is focused on embedding charitable giving aligned with the SDGs into business, we introduced 12 other people to the B1G1 network. Our leveraged impacts (the impact of Ethical Hour and all the people we brought into the B1G1 community combined) totalled 95,502 giving impacts for the SDGs.

 

In 2019, our founder Sian Conway-Wood contributed a chapter to the international bestselling book ‘Legacy: The Sustainable Development Goals in Action‘, which empowers entrepreneurs and business owners to embody the spirit of giving, to adopt impactful strategies and to make a difference by focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, with a foreword by sustainable business leader Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever.

 

We prioritise collaboration over competition as one of our core values, and are dedicated to our mission of uniting the most impactful business community on the internet.

CAUSES WE’RE PROUD TO SUPPORT

Stand For Trees

Lend With Care