Ottawa – While studying international development and entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa, Frank Ferris saw a huge gap between the number of ethically-oriented consumers and the available resources for helping them find businesses and products they wanted.
That realization would eventually lead to EthicalTree.com, an online resource for aligning those consumers with the businesses that share their values – something far more reliable than resorting to Facebook groups and other forums.
After graduation, Ferris teamed up with partners Siavash Ghazvinian and Willy Collins to create Ottawa’s largest ethical business directory, where users can find restaurants and other business that align with their personal values, such as Fair Trade, vegan, vegetarian, organic and woman-owned businesses.
“EthicalTree also works with local business owners interested in attracting and retaining more customers from the ever-growing ethical consumerism markets,” says Ferris. “We’re expanding the number of ethical preferences in the directory, and we’re on-track to be available in Toronto by the end of 2017.”
Ferris says the resource allows people to make a difference by supporting ethical businesses through their purchasing decisions, and that can have lasting positive social and environmental impacts – whether it’s reducing suffering to animals, lowering carbon emissions, supporting producers with fair wages, or encouraging young women in entrepreneurship.
“As it becomes easier for consumers to support causes they care about with their dollars, they will shape
Ottawa’s business ecosystem into a more ethically-oriented one,” he adds.