A start-up founded by three University of Brighton graduates to encourage ethical local shopping has now signed up over 50 businesses across the city.
The concept arose by chance from a degree course group project, when the students found that many people wanted to shop at independent outlets rather than giant online portals like Amazon, but were not aware of what local businesses were out there – or which were genuinely ethical. As part of the registration process, the Ethicul team check businesses on issues including waste, positive social impact within the city, and ensuring the wellbeing of workers.
The trio received crucial early assistance to set up Ethicul from the university’s entrepreneurship scheme beepurple, which helps students and graduates access expert mentoring and funds from sources such as Santander Universities.
The app – now used by over 500 people in the city – rewards users with tokens at a range of shops, restaurants and well-being centres, and promises they will never earn less than 5% back in value relative to what they spend – considerably more than loyalty schemes run by major stores. The Ethicul team are also currently building a new mobile app to make it easy to generate tokens automatically whenever a card purchase is made.
In the same interview, Charlie said: “We want to [create] a societal shift in the way we choose to spend. Together, we can make a huge difference in fighting for the sustainability of the planet, enhancing communities, and improving social wellbeing.”