Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not answered below, please email us.

How up-to-date is your data?

Our database is updated on a daily basis, and these updates are shown on the website instantly. In 2020 we introduced a new feature in the app which streamlines the update process. Now, when you open the app, it automatically checks for updates, and if one is available the app updates itself. The data in our app is updated every month or two.

The database is currently (2021) in the best shape it’s ever been in, (thanks in part to covid lockdown freeing up our time). While we don’t have a “last updated” feature for our company profiles, if you look at individual assessment items for any given company, you can see the year it was last updated (or the year the relevant report was issued). Over 50% of our assessment data is dated 2019 or more recent.


How do I get my product or company listed?

If your brand/product matches our inclusion criteria send us an email at info @ ethical.org.au with a short description of your business and the products you offer.

Inclusion criteria for main database: product is widely available in mainstream stores in Australia

Inclusion criteria for “Alternatives beyond the mainstream”: to be considered for this section your product must fit one of our already existing categories, not be available in mainstream stores, and meet at least one the following criteria:

  • product range carries at least one ecolabel, such as Fairtrade, organic, ethical clothing australia
  • company holds at least one ecolabel, such as B Corporation, carbon neutral, cruelty-free
  • Australian-owned and made


Why does company X have different ratings on your app and website?

Our database is updated on a daily basis, and these updates are shown on the website instantly. The data in the app is updated automatically every month or two. So if a company in the app has a different rating on the website, the website rating is the more up-to-date one, and this new company rating will appear in the app after the next data update.


Why don’t you include information about where products are made?

The focus of Shop Ethical is the companies behind the brands, not the products themselves. We tried once to include where products are made, but it wasn’t technically feasible to do so accurately and be kept up to date.

One reason for this is that our database lists brands, not products. For example we list Rexona deodorant once, under deodorant. However there are many Rexona deodorant products (SKUs), and they are not necessarily all made in the same country.


Can I filter out issues I don’t care about like genetic engineering, nuclear power or vegan?

Not at this stage. We hope to add the ability to customise ratings in the future. In the meantime you might find our Values Screen page useful, where you can browse our assessment database to see which companies have praises or criticisms in the areas you care about.

While our database does contain info about nuclear power and vegan, neither of these issues have any influence over company ratings, and we have no criticisms allocated to companies for genetic engineering. We do however have criticisms against a number a companies for producing or financing nuclear weapons.


What is your definition of 'Australian-owned'?

Our definition of ‘Australian-owned’ is more than 50% owned by Australian based organisations. This is related to where the company is headquartered and where they pay tax. Australian based subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies are not ‘Australian-owned’.

By supporting Australian owned businesses over foreign-owned, we channel money into the local (Australian) economy rather than overseas. This supports infrastructure here. Also, operations in Australia are more likely to conform to requirements for fair wages and conditions.


What is your criteria for including products in the guide?

Basically they are the ‘common brands’ found in major retail stores, such as supermarkets.


Can I suggest a brand or company?

Yes! This can be done directly from our app, or via our online form.


Will you be publishing another edition of your book?

Unlikely. We published 9 editions of our pocket-sized print guide between 2008 and 2018, selling over 130,000 copies, but most people prefer the app these days. Creating and printing books is expensive and time-consuming, and not really financially viable for us any more. You can still order our most recent edition, which was published in November 2018.


How can I help?

If you love Shop Ethical and want to help us there are a number a ways you can:

1. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
2. Make a one-off or monthly donation
3. Volunteer
4. Spread the word through your networks
5. Buy our app (iPhone or Android) or gift it to a friend