Picture credit: Francisco Huguenin Uhlfelder, Shop Until You Drop by Banksy


This document is published by the Ethical Brand Foundation ("EBF") at

EBF employs a proprietary methodology for authenticating so-called ethical brands. Our approach has been specifically designed to avoid subjective (biased) judgements about whether or not a particular practice or activity that an organisation is engaged in is either good, bad, morally appropriate or acceptable. Any organisation of any size and almost any nature may register an ethical brand.

However, in order to protect the integrity of the Identity™ for the benefit of both consumers and our global community of licensed ethical brands we screen all newly registered entities to ensure that no license to display the ™ logo is issued to any organisations that is currently engaged in, knowingly supporting or deriving commercial benefit from any practices we have deemed unacceptable. In any event, we reserve the right to unilaterally decide whether or not to admit or revoke the registration of any entity, as per our Registration and License Terms.

Unacceptable Practices

We classify any organisation, enterprise or individual that we consider to be engaged in any Unacceptable Practice as a "Non-Starter". Included in this definition is any enterprise with a nature of business that is ambiguous, or which we generally consider to be operating in a manner that is inconsistent with the basic values that most people would intutitively expect from a so-called ethical brand. To register as an ethical brand whilst engaging in any Unacceptable Practice, or to commence any Unacceptable Practice following registration is a violation of this policy. We reserve the right to deny and or cancel the provision of any service to Non-Starters.


The enterprise or individual must be legitimate. It must exist as a legally named and distinctly identifiable entity that is recognised and permitted to exist in its country of origin. It may be a business, a club, association, educational institution, co-operative society, trade union, national, regional or local government agency and in any event must be engaged in the nature of business declared during registration and as stated in its Directory™ listing. It must also be contactable via telephone, provide a physical address and be prepared to furnish us with any further information we request for the purpose of verifying its legal status.

Controlled Substances

The unlicensed distribution and sale of pharmaceuticals and other potentially hazardous substances, chemicals and compounds. That is, anyone who promotes, distributes or sells such substances without the apopropriate authority. This broadly includes any such products produced and or sold under license and or requiring requiring aprescription, but traded without such a license or prescription anywhere in the OECD region.

Pornography and Sex Trade

The production or sale of pornographic material and the business of procuring and providing sex services such as prostituion in its various forms.

Labour Exploitation

The procurement or production of products, components, materials or services from individuals or communities that are willing to accept or at least tolerate sub-standard pay and or working conditions due to an economic, social or other disadvantage that makes them vulnerable to commercial exploitation. For guidance refer to the International Labour Standards of the International Labour Organization ('ILO') which broadly defines exploitation as the violation of the International Labour Standards.


The act of over-stating and or making explicit or implied but nonetheless misleading claims regarding environmental practices or the environmental benefits of a product or service. There are many online references to greenwashing. This is an interesting article: How to Tell Greenwashing from Real Corporate Responsibility and this is a useful starting place for further research.

Arms Trade

The production or sale of weapons, machinery or other controlled or dangerous devices. This includes the sale or provision of any products or services that serve to further and support violence, aggression and conflict.

IP Infringement

Any activity that involves copying, replicating, counterfeiting or otherwise illegally reproducing and or selling intellectual property that includes any original copyright or patentable material (including any brand name products) such as software, books, designs, works of art, images, film footage, music, clothing or fashion accessories without the the consent of the proprietary owners thereof.

SPAM, Blackhat SEO and Affiliates

The promotion and or referral of products and services provided by third party producers and outlets whereby the promoter is acting as an introducer and not a producer or retailer.


This list of exclusions is provided for convenience only. Compliance with this Non-Starter Policy should not be interpreted as automatic qualification for any license or service. If you are in doubt please contact us here.

Last Updated: January 2017