The Constant Ethical Turmoil of Shopping

The Urban Monk

A decision as simple as buying fruit has become an exhausting moral dilemma.

Was the fruit ethically sourced? Were pesticides used? Who grew the fruit — were they paid fairly? Is the grocery store you’re buying it from a subsidiary of a massive global conglomerate, harming the environment with its business practices?

It’s enough to make your head spin.

Plus, the ability to even consider these microaggressions against the planet is an incredibly privileged position. Those who live in food deserts, flyover states, or simply don’t have the extra bucks to contribute to an organic purchase…

Well, it’s even harder to make ethical choices about plastic consumption, fast fashion, or fresh food. Maybe impossible.

The more we know about the way things work, and the more we learn about the tangential impact of our modern methods, the more difficult it is to feel good about purchases.

Now… many people have simply made the choice to consume less.

But plenty of us are trying to navigate the waters of conscious capitalism, trying to find a way to survive in our world system while lifting up those who deserve it and starving the businesses that don’t.

Not necessarily an easy thing to do — after all, we’re all just learning.

You want to trust someone you know. That’s normal. It’s why brand loyalty exists at all!

The trouble is, most of the brands we’re loyal to aren’t loyal to the planet.

And… as far as the up-and-comers go, who’s got the time to vet every single company who calls themselves ethical?

A company has emerged through the darkness because they saw a need: a website that curates the best ethical brands on the internet and sweeps them all together for you in one place.

Meet EarthHero.

The EarthHero Mission

We’ve gotten a taste of convenience — and it’s tough to go back. Most of us remember when there was a designated “errands day,” when we would go from store to store to fill up on necessities.

Most of the time these days, errands are as simple as filling up your virtual cart, saving your credit card information, and buying everything you need with a simple click.

Imagine returning to the world to forage through stores, hunting for ethical purchases chosen from the limited available selection.

EarthHero has made it so you don’t have to.

The company created an eco-agora of sorts, an online marketplace that sources ethically and consciously created replacements for the disposable consumption that has defined our lives so far.

EarthHero traces a company’s sourcing, manufacturing, and packaging to determine whether or not they make the eco-cut… and only when it passes the company’s rigorous 5-step process.

It does this so that you can be sure the brands that EarthHero partners with pass muster.

The Methodology

EarthHero’s 5-Step Sourcing Methodology is deceptively simple:

  • Materials and Ingredients: Every brand must meet certain standards — including using naturally made, plentiful, fast-growing, non-synthetic, vegan, or recycled materials. It looks at third-party certifications as well as its own research into brands’ transparency.
  • Company Responsibility: How do these brands treat their waste? Their employees? How does their manufacturing impact the environment? Are their processes responsible from beginning to end?
  • Give-back: Do these brands build community support and charity into their business models? How do they allocate profit? How has their presence impacted the neighborhoods they occupy? Do their products themselves solve a problem — like finding a way to recycle fishing nets?
  • Packaging: Are these brands packaging their products in non-recyclable cardboard? Styrofoam? Plastic? Is it made of recyclable or biodegradable content?
  • Sustainable Lifestyle: Can you reuse the glass container in any of these brands’ products? Do their products help you cut down on car travel? Avoid plastic use? How is each brand leading you to live a more sustainable life?

Now, EarthHero is not Amazon.

But their website does have plenty of categories to help you start transitioning to a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle — Zero Waste, Clothing & Accessories, Baby & Kids, Travel, Home, Outdoors, Audio & Tech, Pets, Beauty & Care, and Gifts.

A pretty comprehensive start!

We are all living in this world together — and lots of us are lobbying for change.

A database for finding top-down ethical products? That’s a modern solution to a modern problem.

Vote with your dollar.

If you enjoyed these thoughts and think we’ve got something in common, I have a feeling you’re going to love the streaming service I launched last year — It’s my answer to the dilemma of conscious consumption, where you’ll find ALL of my documentaries and series, as well as more from renowned thought leaders like Nick Polizzi, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Tom O’Bryan, and more. Try it for two weeks — on me.




NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of

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Pedram Shojai

Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of

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