Introducing: Compare Ethics

Abbie Morris is co-founder and CEO of Compare Ethics, an online platform that compares ethical products and removes the barriers of finding the truly committed ethical brands. From social media to pop-up shops, they are connecting conscious consumers to brands that share the same values. We pick Abbie’s brains as to how she started and what 2019 has in store for Compare Ethics.

What was your main motivation for creating Compare Ethics?
As a young couple living in London, James and I always had options when it comes to choosing sassy brands. But when we went looking for the perfect trousers, because James kept getting holes in his jeans, we found many brands had little information about the social, animal or environmental impacts of their production process.
This lead to a trawl all over the internet and we did find ethical brands who care. This was great, but these brands were not easy to find and there was no one place to compare and choose what was best for us at the right price.
We simply were frustrated with this fragmented and long way of finding ethical brands, so we decided to create a one stop shop: where shoppers who care about fair wages, treatment of animals and the environment can compare and choose brands they trust and love. At the same time, ethical brands out there can come to one place to engage with the shoppers they are looking for.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that sustainable brands face today?
Greenwashing is a real issue. Many brands are seeing the rise in demand for sustainable products without properly backing sustainable or ethical claims. There are therefore increasingly cases of the greenwashing being exposed and this ultimately feeds a lack of consumer trust in brands.
We live in a world where consumer trust is paramount. Without this, sustainable brands (or otherwise) will not have many legs to stand on. The sustainable brands I know, work hard for their credentials. It will be a challenge to ensure a minority of brands do not ruin it for the majority that work hard for best practice

Despite the growing conversation surrounding sustainability, ethical fashion still tends to be considered a fringe movement. How do you think customers can be convinced to choose sustainable product over a fast fashion equivalent?
Indeed, as a movement we are currently on the margins. However, ethical fashion is firmly on route to the mainstream. This is for mainly two reasons:
Firstly, millennials are increasingly aware of the destructive impact that fast fashion has on our people, planet and animals. People are spending more time researching what they purchase and will back strong stories.
This, coupled with increasing choice and styles that reflect mainstream audience needs, means we are seeing people choose to back brands that demand more from fashion.
Don’t get me wrong, we understand that people won’t choose ethical fashion due to research alone. Any information must be met with strong a product and story that is relevant. Taken together, this movement is a force to be reckoned with.

Can sustainable and ethical manufacturing ever become commonplace in the commercial fashion marketplace?
Certainly – in fact, we are already seeing sustainable manufacturing begin to take shape. Common Objective are an excellent example of this. They are an intelligent business network for the fashion industry. Their technology matches members with the connections and resources they need to succeed - and makes it easier for them to work in the most sustainable way. Technology tools such as this creates strong foundations for commercial growth.

What does 2019 have in store for Compare Ethics?
We are very excited for this year. You can expect strong omnichannel experiences and increased personalisation service for our growing Compare Ethics movement. On the brand and marketplace side, we will be working with industry to showcase best practice. We will always be leading with strong products that millennials want but that are backed up with ethics and sustainability at its core.
I am very excited – for us and many in the industry, we will be seeing strong moves from margins towards the mainstream.