Our Impact

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form part of a 15 year agenda led by the United Nations to tackle the biggest global problems through collaboration between governments, the private sector, civil society and individual action.

Many social enterprises and ethical businesses use the SDGs as a framework to measure their impact.

Inside our business training library, we help ethical brands maximise their impact, reach their customers and grow their sales so they can work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Our news hub is aligned to the SDGs to help people stay informed, campaign for change and make an impact for each of these interconnected global challenges.

And as an impact business ourselves, we’ve embedded giving back and progress towards the goals into our everyday operations.


#EthicalHour has achieved a 4 star rating from Support The Goals, which puts us in the top 4% of businesses for our commitment, plans, actions and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – this includes companies from the FTSE100 and FTSE250!

Support the Goals is an initiative to rate and recognise the businesses that support the Sustainable Development Goals. The key aims of the initiative are to :

  • Raise awareness of the Global Goals in the business community
  • Promote a structured approach to planning, target setting, and reporting in respect of the goals
  • Give young people work experience in corporate sustainability, so they understand how business can contribute to a better world

Find out more about how to get your business rated and join the Support The Goals movement here.


Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would create a more sustainable and prosperous future for us all. We work with businesses and organisations aligned to the SDGs and we recognise that no goal functions in isolation – they all have a positive impact on other areas and issues too.

All the goals are important. We have chosen to give particular focus to the following Sustainable Development Goals and impact targets, based on the areas of our work where we can have the most impact:

Goal 1: No Poverty

We pay all our staff and contractors the Real Living Wage or above, as defined by The Living Wage Foundation. We’re proud to be an accredited Living Wage employer.

We invest a percentage of sales revenue every month into microfinance loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries, through partnership with Lend With Care. When repayments are made, these are reinvested into more loans. As of May 2023, we have made 84 loans to 541 entrepreneurs, which has also created 304 jobs and supported 1,939 family members.

We have planted 2,270 trees with The Mango Tree – a Kenyan charity that are empowering families to overcome poverty. Because the focus of this project was to plant the trees as an income generating tool, the full lifecycle of the trees was not monitored, so we have not included them in our Climate Action commitments, because it cannot be guaranteed that the carbon remained stored and all the trees survived. Instead, we count this impact towards our contribution to Goal 1: No Poverty. In May 2022, we made the decision to plant trees with Ecologi going forward, in line with our climate and nature commitments detailed in SDG 13 below.

Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

As of May 2023, we have directly supported and trained over 2,300 startup businesses and independent brands. We teach business skills and foster a culture of entrepreneurship, and share our knowledge widely through our business community and partnerships with universities and accelerator programmes – to encourage more people to start and grow their own business.

Through our partnership with B1G1 (2019-2022), we provided 376 days of literacy and business skills training to women in Karamoja, Uganda, through microfinance organisation Five Talents. Karamoja has the highest percentage of people with no education, the highest rates of infant mortality, and the highest rates of female genital mutilation within the country (UBS & ICF International, 2012). 53% of Five Talents’ target communities live below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 a day (PPP) and 84% live on less than $2.50 a day (PPP).

Our annual #ShopEthicalInstead campaign is a responsible alternative to Black Friday, promoting conscious consumption and encouraging people to buy from ethical and sustainable brands. The impact of this has been outlined fully in SDG 12 below.

In 2019 we organised and hosted the Be The Change Awards – an ethical, free-to-enter awards programme specifically designed to celebrate independent businesses working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, to help grow the ethical and sustainable economy. 70 brands entered the awards and several finalists secured national and even international press.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Our business training supports founders to build a responsible, sustainable and ethical business – helping small business owners monitor and improve their supply chains and sourcing policies, drive behaviour change and encourage consumers to shop more ethically and sustainably, and take their eco-focused products mainstream to create a culture where responsible business, consumption and production is the norm.

Our annual #ShopEthicalInstead campaign reached over 7.7 million impressions worldwide in 2018. It reached 495,524 in 2019, 1.7 million in 2020 and 4.7 million people when it returned post-pandemic in 2022. In 2022, we directly supported over 100 small businesses and achieved an average 18% uptick in sales for brands involved, as a direct result of the campaign. It has been covered in major press including Vogue Business, Industry of Fashion, Ethical Consumer Magazine and Edie.

In 2018, we showcased 20 ethical fashion brands as part of our live event for Fashion Revolution, and held 3 panel discussions about responsible consumption and production in the fashion industry, with 200 people attending the event. In 2019, we trained 24 brands at a Future Fashion Focus seminar and had 168 people attend our Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution showcase.

We actively campaign against greenwashing. Our Founder Sian has trained hundreds of brands in the Green Claims Code – advertising standards for making sustainability claims, in partnership with the British Association of Fairtrade Shops, eBay for Change and the Arts Marketing Association. In 2022, Sian published her book “Buy Better Consume Less Create Real Environmental Change” which educates people on greenwashing and shares practical ways to shop less, shop better and take action as climate citizens.

We have our own sustainable procurement policy in place guiding the decision-making process when we need to buy something for our business.

Goal 13: Climate Action

Since registering as a Limited Company in January 2018, our carbon footprint has been 32.71 tonnes of CO2e (January 18 – Dec 21, scopes 1, 2 and 3 as measured by SME Climate Hub). Through Ecologi, we have funded the prevention of 61.5 tCO2e from being emitted through 21 verified carbon avoidance projects (as of May 2023).

Our website is powered by renewable energy: hosted by Krystal who use Ecotricity for their power and have achieved a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) rating of at least 1.2 at all their data centres.

Due to the digital nature of our work, we rely on some cloud-based technology from large multi-national providers, who use renewable energy credits rather than energy direct from renewable sources. Many have pledges to move to direct sourcing, but have not completed this yet. Whilst we cannot control how these providers power their servers, we have signed the Sustainable Web Manifesto to demonstrate our commitment to reducing our own digital carbon footprint, and encouraging the third party providers we use to do the same.

Since 2018, we have supported 7 rainforest protection programmes around the world with Stand For Trees – a REDD+ forest protection programme that prevents deforestation and enables carbon offsetting to UN standards. This equates to 15 tonnes of carbon offset to date.

We don’t do ‘climate doom’. Although we recognise the seriousness and urgency of the climate emergency, we actively aim to avoid triggering eco-anxiety when we communicate. Why? Because it’s not good for people’s mental health, it stops them taking action, and it’s against our solutions-focused values.

In May 2019, climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion published an open letter encouraging advertising and communication agencies to “declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly”. Ethical Hour agree, and we took this opportunity to declare a climate emergency as a community. We signed a public declaration committing to disclose the percentage of our turnover generated from high carbon clients, and to reverse this percentage. We published a Client Disclosure Report in 2019 and 2020 and developed a Client Engagement Policy, which outlines that we will not work with fossil fuel clients, or those causing harm to people, animals or the planet.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Globally we now connect over 80,000 changemakers across our community, to work together towards a more ethical and sustainable future. Across our platforms we create educational content to raise awareness of the Global Goals and how people & businesses can support them, and we champion good examples of this in practice.

In January 2019, over 1,200 Instagram posts were created as part of our #MeetTheChangemakerChallenge, which connected changemakers from around the world, showcased their story and shared their impact, to inspire others to take action for the Global Goals.

Every week we bring together the sustainability and impact community on Twitter for our weekly #EthicalHour Twitter chat, where the community shares knowledge, resources and inspiration to help each other make an impact towards the goals in their business, career and personal lives. The #EthicalHour hashtag is used 31 times per day on average, on Twitter alone, and saw a 27% increase in usage in the first 6 months of 2022, vs the same period in 2021 (data source: Sprout Social).

During our 3 year impact partnership with B1G1, which was focused on embedding charitable giving aligned with the SDGs into business, we directly introduced 12 other businesses to the B1G1 network. Our leveraged impacts (the impact of #EthicalHour and all the people we brought into the B1G1 community combined) totalled 113,032 giving impacts for the SDGs (as of August 2022).

In 2019, our founder Sian Conway-Wood contributed a chapter to the international bestselling book ‘Legacy: The Sustainable Development Goals in Action‘, which empowers entrepreneurs and business owners to embody the spirit of giving, to adopt impactful strategies and to make a difference by focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, with a foreword by sustainable business leader Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever.

We prioritise collaboration over competition as one of our core values, and are dedicated to our mission of uniting the most impactful business community on the internet.