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Digital agency turning away work if it’s not vegan enough

PUBLISHED: 13:49 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:01 20 February 2020

The Ethica team. Picture: Ethica Global

The Ethica team. Picture: Ethica Global

Ethica Global

A marketing agency is turning its back on unethical brands in favour of those which are doing their bit for the planet.

Ethica is a spin-out business of Norwich digital marketing agency Selesti and only works with brands which are ethically driven.

The business was launched by group chief executive Ollie Blackmore last year and is already turning over a quarter of a million pounds.

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Mr Blackmore said: "I came up with the idea when I was on Mount Fiji during a Japanese cycling tour to raise money for Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project.

"I'm vegan myself and have always been interested in sustainability and ethical business and it seemed right to set up a specialised agency for this industry."

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The team of five at the St Giles Street company work solely with cruelty-free, vegan, NGO and ethical brands. Clients include One Planet Pizza, the Big Issue and Cancer Research UK.

"Every brand we work with is case-by-case," Mr Blackmore said. "We won't work with a brand that isn't predominantly vegan or cruelty-free but at the same time we will talk to brands which are in the process of shifting towards that goal.

"At the moment we make most of the approaches to brands but at Selesti we have turned down work because we don't agree with the premise of the business. We've had enquiries from leather shops and greyhound race tracks, for example, which we've turned down."

Because of the boom in vegan and sustainable brands, Mr Blackmore believes that Ethica can turnover £1m in the 2020/2021 financial period.

Mr Blackmore cited the vegan boom in China as being a new area of enquiry as the industry has grown by 17% since 2015.

"We do thorough checks of the brands we work with," he said. "We go out and meet the directors, which always gives you a good idea of what the company is like. We check out accounts to make sure that they're not making significant payments to brands which would undermine their credibility.

"There's a lot about 'greenwashing' at the moment so brands can make themselves look good, we're very wary of that."

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