How To Shop Ethically When Shopping Online

With online shopping experiencing a dramatic surge right now, consumerism is out in full force. As in-store retailers close or shift their business operations online, more Americans are heading online to get their shopping fix while in quarantine — either out of necessity or for comfort. With the rise of online shopping, there is one key question that is being asked: is it ethical to be shopping for non-essentials during this difficult time? Experts argue that if there was ever a time to be conscious of your shopping habits, the time is now. Industries ranging from food to music are jumping on the ethical bandwagon. While research shows that up to 88 percent of consumers want to shop with sustainability in mind, many remain confused as to how they can kickstart their ethical shopping habits online.

Do Your Research Online For Ethical Brands Before Buying

To clarify which brands are ethical, you can use preassembled ethical shopping brand lists and guides like The Good Shopping Guide or Ethical Consumer’s List Of Trusted Fashion Labels. You can also research a brand’s ethical commitment by heading to their website and reading up on their certifications like the Global Organic Textile Standard or The Nest Seal, which protects the well being of many artisans. If you do choose to buy from larger companies, you can also research local press releases and news reports in a bid to identify a company’s ethical values. For instance, looking at companies that are listed in ethical markets can give you a glimpse of stock funds that avoid financing controversial companies or causes like animal cruelty.

Opt For Second Hand And Swap Platforms

You don’t necessarily need to head to flea markets, thrift stores, or garage sales to second great second-hand buys. There are now many eCommerce stores dedicated to preloved reselling or swaps. Platforms like eBay, Etsy,, and vintage resellers like Beyond Retroow offer curated second-hand collections — ranging from fashion collections to vintage music vinyls and CDs.

Shop Online, But Locally

While it may be tempting to head online to Amazon and other large online eCommerce stores, supporting local businesses can help you keep your local small retailers stay open during a particularly testing economic time. With the SME community being largely affected, consumers must find ways to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. To identify open retailers in your local community, utilize local search engines like or Alternatively, if you are aware of local businesses in your area you can head online to their website or social media page to find out if they are trading online.

Lastly, evaluate your shopping and banking habits. Before heading to the checkout online, take a moment to ask yourself whether this purchase is really necessary or simply clutter. Also, switching to an ethical bank ensures that your savings are being used to fund good projects. So while you may not be shopping, you are still supporting the ethical movement indirectly.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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