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Archive | Social Enterprise

How to Choose Wisely when eating out

Choose Wisely when eating out

Choose Wisely when eating out

The RSPCA’s exciting new initiative Choose Wisely puts power back in the hand of the consumer, allowing you to look up cafes and restaurants putting humane food on the menu, with just a click. Melissa Hobbs and Jessica Gray from the RSPCA explain how it works.

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Can you help us make ethical shopping fun and easy for millions of consumers?


We’re taking ethical shopping to the next level – and we need your help.

Here’s how YOU can help millions of shoppers make more ethical fashion choices.

As members of the Otter community, we know you take your ethical shopping seriously.
Maybe you already know which brands align with your values and which ones to avoid.

But new research from UTS Sydney shows that about 25 per cent of shoppers have ‘mixed feelings’ about buying ethically.

And it found that the most commonly cited reason for not buying responsibly was confusion about what makes a product ethical.

Everyone wears clothes, let’s help them choose wisely

It’s hard to overstate how big the global fashion industry is and how many people are impacted by it on a daily basis.

We’re talking about the second most polluting industry in the world after oil, and the third for climate change impact.

That’s why at Otter’s sister-project Good On You, we’ve spent the last couple of years building an online database of almost 3000 brands – each of them rated for their ethical practices.

Now we want to take it to the next level and make that information easily available to millions of consumers. To do that, we need your help.

The Good On You Ethical Fashion App

Good On You App Results page We’re very excited to announce our campaign to crowdfund the Good On You Ethical Shopping Assistant app.

The app enables you to search for a product you’re interested in.  It lists all the brands near you, shows their ethical rating, and where to buy them.

Or you can search for a brand and see how rates and compare with other brands that do better.

Once you’ve made a choice, the app helps you find stores near you.

It’s Not Just About Shopping

The value of apparel sales globally was estimated to be US$1.2trillion in 2012.

By putting the information in the hands of you the consumer, the Good On You Ethical Shopping Assistant app enables you to make an informed choice about where to spend your money.

If you don’t like what a brand is doing you can take your money elsewhere.

And we know that’s the kind of pressure that forces companies to make changes to their production methods.

Some Brands Are Listening  …

Around the world a number of major retailers are already developing schemes to provide consumers with useful ethical information.

Marks and Spencer, for example, highlights which products are Fairtrade, cruelty free or avoid poor labour practice. They are also committed to increasing the number of products with positive ethical qualities.

And just last month, David Jones announced that it was setting a target of making all 1600 brands in its stores sustainable, environmentally friendly, and free of child and slave-labour.

Nobody wants to see another Rana Plaza disaster, where more than 1,000 people lost their lives in the collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory.

Everyone who creates clothes, sells clothes or buys clothes has an interest in cleaning up the industry and making it fair and sustainable.

It’s Up to Us to Persuade More Brands to Change

Good On You’s mission is to make it possible for you, the consumer, to shop with peace of mind and learn which brands are doing better on the issues you care about.

Please pledge your support for Good On You to help make the Ethical Shopping Assistant a reality.

Together we can harness the power of consumers to change the world.


What’s different about the Good on You app?

  • Clothing focus with more than 3,000 brands listed including many never researched before
  • Suggests alternative brands that do better on the issues you care about
  • Personalised to your values, and you can even teach it your style (think Tinder for brands)
  • Tells you the closest stores or online options for your chosen brand
  • Makes it easy to give direct feedback to companies from within the app
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Have a Christmas that’s merry for you and the world with Good Spender

good spender

Mark Daniels, Head of Market and Sector Development at social enterprise development organisation Social Traders, on their new social enterprise shop Good Spender!

Carols are playing in the supermarket, Christmas is coming, and the thought of presents is starting to loom large. This is a great opportunity to create social impact for individuals and communities by purchasing from a range of outstanding social enterprises on the Good Spender website.

Good Spender is an online marketplace where consumers who want to make a difference with their shopping can buy directly from social enterprises. Social enterprises are businesses that sell goods and services to benefit the community.

Every dollar you spend with a social enterprise goes directly to support the social purpose of that organization. This can range from creating employment for those with disabilities, the long term unemployed or indigenous Australians, through to protecting the environment and supporting nutrition and sanitation programs in developing countries.

This Christmas, Good Spender aims to be not just a platform for buying good and doing good, but also a convenient solution for ticking off your shopping list. Discover the broad range of products sold by social enterprises, and support their mission by buying from them, including:

Oz Fair Trade – beautifully home wares and jewelry handmade by local artisan from recycled bomb shells during the Vietnam War.


Summerland House Farm – farm fresh macadamia nuts, coffee, and gift hampers that create jobs for people with a disability.


Liminal Apparel  – fair trade and organic cotton bags and accessories that better the lives of local producers.


Niulife – a delicious and healthful range of extra-virgin coconut products that empowers third world producers.

Spend smart and do good these holidays. Visit for your Christmas shopping, and give gifts that make a difference. Also sign-up as a buyer to receive the newsletter, where you will be the first to know about new products and promotions such as free shipping!

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Fair Fashion: Save Ethical Clothing Australia!


Ethical Clothing Australia has become a casualty of Federal budget cuts, with the government announcing it will axe ECA’s $1 million budget.

ECA is the only labour ethics compliance body in the Australian fashion industry, working to secure wages and conditions for Australia’s thousands of garment workers.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The joint industry-union group has conducted almost 3500 audits of Australian clothing factories in the past five years and met with more than 2500 home-based outworkers, known as the industry’s “hidden workforce”, who are vulnerable to exploitation.

Eighty Australian fashion labels and manufacturers – including Cue, Carla Zampatti, Puma, Rossi Boots, Hard Yakka and RM Williams – have been accredited under the voluntary scheme.The head of the de-funded organisation said the cuts would lead to more workers being underpaid and overworked, and act as a disincentive for the industry to operate ethically.

ECA’s certification is an essential source of consumer information, and stripping funding from the organisation’s accreditation program will decrease Australians’ ability to make more ethical choices when shopping for clothing and footwear. It is already far too difficult for the average shopper to access information on clothing supply chains and working conditions, and ECA labelling is one of few ways we can know we’re making a positive choice.
Take action by sending an email to Senator Eric Abetz here or see ECA’s list of other ways you can help here.
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Five festive season gift dilemmas solved!

ugly christmas jumper

Christmas Sweater (Flickr: theuglysweatershop)


The end of the year is a time to relax and celebrate with friends and family, but it can raise numerous ethical dilemmas, not the least around gift giving.

With a handful of rules, and a bit of help from reliable sources, you should be able to get around most of them.

1. Your kids want the latest fast fashion or brand name shoes?

Find out which major brand best manages its supply chain in the interests of workers and the environment, or choose a product that has sustainability and fair trade at its core. Etiko Hitops are just one example. They’re made of certified Fairtrade organic cotton and FSC-certified latex, and are 100% vegan. Continue Reading →

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The sharing economy: how to save the environment and your money

Photo: Velib (Flickr: LWY)

Photo: Velib (Flickr: LWY)

Need a shovel? Head to the hardware store. Need a place to stay? Book a hotel. Need to get from A to B? Buy a car. Right?—Not necessarily!

Welcome to the collaborative consumption community, where goods and services are exchanged and shared rather than bought.

Now if you need a shovel, you can log onto Openshed and find someone in your local community that has one for you to borrow. If you need a place to stay you can book a room in someone’s house through a service like Airbnb. If you need a car for regular travel or occasional trips, you can join a car sharing organisation and get one locally. You save on time and money, reduce your environmental footprint and might even get to know your local community. Continue Reading →

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Food Connect brings local produce to your street

JL in Motion (2)

We speak with Julian Lee from social business Food Connect about the why and how to buy locally grown food, his favourite food and places, and the impact of  Food Connect in Sydney.

What first got you interested in food issues?

I was fascinated from an early age about growing food. I then learnt about Permaculture and that got me even more excited about how good design can make what seems impossible from an industrial perspective, possible – and even beautiful!

Why is it important for consumers to source food from farmers? Continue Reading →

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