It’s no surprise that TEO likes it when people, brands and shops do things a little differently. Especially when the difference is for an ethical and sustainable purpose. It’s all too easy for us to lose touch with reality when it comes to how products are created. But if we invest in the right businesses, we can protect the interests of workers, animals and the environment, without sacrificing quality or our ethics. We here at TEO have rounded up our top three ethical and sustainable brands, taking a deeper look into their ethical stances and what they do to contribute.

Photo: Now And Then Photography

Lush Cosmetics – worldwide
Lush is one of the more well-known ethical brands, with all products being vegetarian (most vegan) and cruelty-free. Lush is great for three reasons. First: no animal testing. Lush has campaigned against animal testing since their creation in 1995—it’s something they’re very passionate about.

Second, Lush focusses on minimising their environmental impact by using as little packaging as possible and sourcing ethical ingredients. Proudly boasting a colourful suppliers list, Lush supports many farming communities with permaculture farming methods, which helps regenerate the soil. Some of these communities include villages in Northern Laos and remote areas in Ghana and Tunisia.

Finally, Lush staff actively campaign for social issues they feel strongly about. They have been active campaigners for numerous NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and charities, protesting issues such as the unethical treatment of asylum seekers, shark culling and marriage equality. Lush also produces a product called Charity Pot, where 100% of the proceeds (minus GST) are donated to small charities around the world. If that wasn’t enough, Lush set up the Slush Fund (Sustainable Lush Fund), which donates 2% of their total buying spend to ecological growing and raw-material related projects.

You can visit Lush at one of their many stores across Australia and afar.

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Photo: Josh McCawley

Rock Retro Scissors – SA based
Rock Retro Scissors is a South Australian based hair salon, spearheaded by Katie and Matthew Kromwijk. As their tagline goes, they are ‘more than just a hair salon,’ sustainably recycling 95% of all waste they produce. They’re able to do this by being a part of the Sustainable Salons Australia initiative, which recycles paper, plastic, metals and hair in salons.

“All our hair is used in a variety of ways,” Matthew explains. “From being donated to local community gardens for composting, being made into ‘Hair Booms’—essentially a large hair sponge—to soak up oil spills in the Great Barrier Reef, as well as donating ponytails to make wigs for children with cancer and alopecia.”

On top of this, their foil and metal tint tubes are weighed and sold, with the proceeds going to OzHarvest, while any leftover chemicals are neutralised and turned into water for construction uses. Nothing has been forgotten here—even the furniture has been sourced and recycled from various antique and op shops.

No products used in the salon have been tested on animals. Rock Retro Scissors swears by vegan-friendly products such as Olaplex and evo, and sticks to their beliefs that animals and the environment should be treated with respect.

You can visit Rock Retro Scissors at 505B Lower North East Rd, Campbelltown.

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Photo: Supplied

SWOP Clothing Exchange – NSW and QLD based
SWOP Clothing Exchange is a brand built upon the idea of sustainable fashion culture, providing a shopping experience that isn’t expensive or wasteful. SWOP will actually buy your vintage or modern clothing, provided it’s in great, wearable condition—you can take a look at which brands they love and which brands they don’t on their website. In return, you can get shop credit worth 50% of the retail price of the clothing you exchanged or cash at 25% of the retail price. This set up promotes the passing-on or repurposing of perfectly good clothing items, unrestricted by fast fashion trends—not a bad deal, really.

The SWOP Brisbane store hosts the Sunday Stitch Lounge by The Stitchery, which encourages the mending and caring for of garments by providing sewing machines and advice for participants. SWOP believes that it is possible for everyone to shop sustainably without sacrificing choice or creativity. There are a number of not-for-profits that SWOP have supported, including: Streetlink Adelaide CBD and Pay a Sack Forward Brisbane and Melbourne, both of which support those experiencing homelessness in Australia.

You can visit SWOP at the following locations:

Brisbane West End
161 Boundary St
West End

Brisbane City
Level 2
134 Adelaide St
Brisbane

Sydney
112 Enmore Rd
Newtown

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