Saturday, 16 May 2009

The ethical superstore - profile

Ethicalsuperstore.com

The Ethicalsuperstore.Ltd was founded in 2003 by social entrepreneurs Vic Morgan and Andy Redfern. The company’s main business activities include:

  • Operating ethicalsuperstore.com - a leading UK consumer webshop for fair trade, organic and eco-friendly merchandise currently featuring over 3,000 products.
  • Operating hug.co.uk - one of the original fair trade and organic online fashion shops in the UK.
  • Providing business services and products to wholesale customers under the PointOV
  • Brand – services include e-commerce and fulfillment services to leading fair trade companies, charities and values-based organizations. Key clients includes Cancer Research UK, Traidcraft, and People Tree. The company also sells wholesale products to independent shops, catalogue companies, and major multiples with customers including John Lewis, Sainsbury and WH Smith. For more information about business services and wholesale products, please visit Ethicalsuperstore.com’s business website at www.pointov.com.

The business is managed by a team with in depth experience in the field of ethical trading, e-commerce and fulfilment. The two company founders are Chief Innovation Officer Vic Morgan and Chief Executive Andy Redfern.

Andy is a former executive Director of Traidcraft, the UK's leading fair trade organisation, a non-Executive Director of Cafedirect and was previously Editor-in-Chief of Personal Computing (PC) Magazine UK. Vic is an experienced entrepreneur in the field of fair trade and e-commerce having previously founded New York-based oneNest (now part of Novica.com), after graduating with an MBA from Harvard and bucking the trend to become a social entrepreneur. The company’s Finance Director is Tim Morgan, who is also a non-Executive Director of Cafédirect and was previously Finance Director at Traidcraft where led the development of their award-winning social accounting system.

Ethicalsuperstore.com is a member of the Social Enterprise Coalition. The business is privately owned by its founders, a small group of external investors, and all staff through an employee stock ownership scheme. External investors include Northstar Equity Investors, an investment fund based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne focused on helping early stage technology businesses in the Northeast, and Rathbone Greenbank, one of the UK’s leading investors in social businesses. We also receive assistance in financing our purchases of fair trade products from Shared Interest Society, the UK’s specialist financial institution serving the market for fair trade.

Ethical Superstore Manifesto

Our Vision:
Creating Global Change Through An Ethical Consumer Revolution
Our Mission:
Our Service At our core, we are committed to helping you, the ethical consumer “Buy What You Believe”. You can choose from the widest range of the finest quality fair trade, organic, and eco friendly products via our Ethicalsuperstore.com website. We strive to provide you with a simple and secure online shopping experience, with personal service always there when you need it (we actually pick up the phone and respond to emails), together with a fast and flexible delivery service. We’re always looking for ways to minimize the impact our service has on the environment – we’re working to make our packaging as eco-friendly as possible and we even offer a service to carbon offset our deliveries to you. We realise it can be confusing deciding which ethical products to buy and what information to believe, so we do our best to share product background information to help you make informed ethical purchasing decisions. We’re committed to providing you with comprehensive and accurate information about the ethical credentials of the products and brands we sell. Given how important it is to be open and accurate with this type of information, we will be creating opportunities for you to get involved in this important area of our community.

Our Products
If it’s a high quality product that makes a positive impact to people and/or the planet, we want to help you the ethical consumer find it and buy it – anything from Fairtrade and organic grocery shopping, to energy efficient gadgets, to unique ethical gifts that give back to the people that made them. We sell products from leading ethical brands as well as supporting products from independent traders and producers, including products sourced from fair trade suppliers in over 40 countries. We even share our products’ origins, to make it easier for you to see where products come from and to help you support where your heart may be – for example, if you’d prefer to buy your holiday gifts from fair trade producers in Bangladesh. In order for a product or brand to be sold by Ethicalsuperstore.com, it must have established ethical credentials in at least one of the following areas:
  • Fair Trade
  • Organic
  • Eco Friendly
  • Health and Wellness promotion
  • Education and awareness building
We also evaluate a brand/manufacturer’s overall ethical credentials in deciding whether we should sell a particular product. When a product has received an ethical claim that has been certified or verified by an independent 3rd party organisation, we will share that information with you. For example, we sell ethical products with claims certified by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, Soil Association, and Energy Saving Trust. We appreciate your fundamental question is ‘how ethical?’ is a given product – we do our best to help you find the correct answers.

Ultimately the choice is yours, the ethical consumer, of what to support in your ethical purchasing – our aim is to empower you to make the choices that are right for you and your family. Please let us know if there is a product or brand you feel we should support (or stop supporting).

Our Economics
We are an ethical business, which to us means more than merely setting a good example. To be a true leader of the ethical consumer revolution, we are committed to achieving rapid growth so we can afford to continuously innovate and expand our support of new ethical products and services. Being smarter with our income and expenses by operating a web-based business, we can be fair with the prices paid to our suppliers as well as with the prices we charge our customers – we’re always looking for the “win-win” situation. We also aim to go the extra mile in supporting what we believe in – not everything in business can be quantified, but we do it because it is the right thing to do. We’ve invited like-minded investors to help strengthen our financial foundation – this has been really helpful in accelerating our growth. We believe an essential part of our success will involve having a broad ownership in our company – our staff is already included in the ownership of the company (staff discounts are cool, too) and eventually we hope to create the opportunity for you the ethical consumer to join us as owners. If you’d like to learn more about our business, click here for some more information . We’re an “open book” organisation. We truly are building this as a team – we believe in sharing the benefits.

Our People
We’re passionate about what we’re trying to achieve in serving the ethical consumer, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously (click here to see what we mean ) We have fun doing our work and we encourage our staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance. We support a culture that respects each individual in our team, encouraging him or her to apply his or her own values, strengths and creativity to what we do. We have some real talent for ethical product development and sourcing, programming, web design, customer service, business development, warehouse management and order packing, stock management, accounting and number crunching, and quality control. We also have many trusted partners (many pioneers themselves in ethical trade) that we collaborate with to serve the ethical consumer. At our core, we strive to be good listeners and are constantly looking for opportunities to learn and share what we learn with you. An unlimited supply of Fairtrade coffee and tea at work certainly helps.

Our Invitation:
The Ethical Consumer revolution is in its early days – we promise to show the spirit of a leader. You’re invited to come and join us on the journey.

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