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Why are ethical and sustainable products important?

At Universal Flip, we believe in ethical luxury; in creating stylish yet sustainable products for you to enjoy. Our designer, Nicky, has always had a passion for fashion, from high-end couture to boho chic, especially sustainable fashion! But, her other love is visiting the beach.

Inspired by both, Nicky had the idea of designing and producing her own range of affordable, sustainable beach accessories. And, with that, Universal Flip was born.  

But, what are sustainable products, and why should we all aspire to shop ethically? Read on to find out how you can do your part by choosing responsible brands.

What is Ethical Shopping?

Ethical shopping combines the activity of buying with your ethical beliefs of what is morally right or wrong. So, put simply, ethical shopping is purchasing items and services that meet your moral values.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as labelling brands and products as ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Instead, it falls back to the individual and what they deem and prioritise as important. For example, the majority of people are now looking for eco-friendly and sustainable values as their starting point.

There are some signs that can help you draw your conclusions, however. In the fashion industry, especially, there are ethical accreditations you can look out for, such as Fair Trade, Fair Wear and GOTS. 

Similarly, in the food industry, there are other things you can look out for when assessing their ethical values. These include considering whether products are biodegradable, cruelty-free, organic, have a Natural label, if they are free of palm oil or pesticide-free, even if the packaging is recyclable. Of course, some of these factors are also applicable to the beauty industry too. 

Another way ethics can be determined by supporting local businesses, which, in turn, supports the UK’s economy. Artisan shops and local craftsmen are a key example of this, as well as spotting the accredited Made in Britain product logo.  

A lot of ethical shopping comes down to sustainability, too. Everyone is now talking about the importance of sustainability and making sure the products you choose are sustainable; but, what does this really mean? 

Sustainability: What does it mean?

Unfortunately, ‘sustainable’ can have a different meaning to different companies and, even, different individuals. However, the overall aim of sustainable products is the same.

With its basic definition, sustainability refers to the ability to be maintained at a particular rate or level. To be considered sustainable, the production and consumption of the product must not harm or destruct in any way. Therefore, products created using nonrenewable resources and damage the environment, or cause harm to individuals or society, are not going to be classed as sustainable. 

The most three recognisable characteristics of a sustainable product include:

  1. Does not delete natural, non-renewable resources
  2. Does not harm the environment
  3. Was not created in a socially irresponsible manner

Therefore, sustainable products are made from renewable resources with their production, distribution, and consumption uses as little energy as possible. This also includes responsibly disposing of waste. As a result, there should be little to no impact on the environment. 

Sustainability also refers to the treatment of staff and levels of health and safety within the manufacturing process. A socially sustainable business cares about their employees’ health, well-being, and success, so practices of equal hiring, fair employment, diversity in the workplace, and ensuring employees are heard by management are also included in their agenda. 

How do you know a product is sustainable?

Just like with ethical shopping, looks for labels and logos! A brand will be proud of the sustainable selling point, so there is usually always a label informing customers how it is made and its reduced environmental impact.  In addition, signs such as those identifying recycled materials, renewable resources, if the product is biodegradable or whether the Labour was ethically sourced will help you weigh up a product’s overall sustainability. 

There are also formal standards and marks of approval you can spot. Organisations like the EPA and World Fair Trade are common labels that will help you along the way.

Know your own values

Ethical values can be applied to everything we buy. And, of course, all of these factors vary depending on the product or service. So the best thing you can do is decide which aspects are the most important to you. Then, it’s a matter of sticking to your own values and finding products that fit your criteria. 

When it comes to sustainable beach accessories, look no further than Universal Flip. With the primary mission to bring sustainability and style together through a harmony of ethically made products, we are a brand that is striving to improve our impact on the world.

With manufacturing standing at the forefront of our minds, we will only use ethically sourced and ethically manufactured materials. In doing so, we can guarantee that workers within this industry are treated fairly. 

To find out more about our sustainable beach accessories, check out our range of products today