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Sourcing Products Ethically in Dropshippers: A Guide for Conscious Business Owners

By September 18, 2022July 10th, 2024No Comments

Dropshipping has generated an impressive revenue of over $200 billion in 2024 alone. While the business model originated in the 60s and 70s with mail-order catalogues, the format recently gained popularity. Today, it is one of the most sought-after e-commerce models and presents a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds. 

However, as global awareness for sustainability and ethical production takes off, it is also important to implement those aspects in our businesses. And in a competitive model, we must prioritize sustainable productions and ethical sourcing in dropshipping.

That’s why our blog focuses on sourcing products ethically in dropshippers: a guide for conscious business owners. We include tips, tricks, and key strategies to equip morally aware entrepreneurs to continue dropping in today’s socially conscious market.

What Does Ethical Sourcing Entail?

Ethical sourcing in dropshipping refers to the products being sold are produced in a manner that respects workers, the environment, and global ethical standards. Ethical sourcing encompasses fair labour practices, sustainable production, and transparent supply chains. Let us elaborate.

Dropshippers aiming to implement ethical sourcing in dropshipping must choose suppliers who pay fair wages, avoid child labour, and use eco-friendly materials and processes. We’ve got real-life examples in Patagonia and Fairphone, which prioritize ethical sourcing and transparency.

Ethical sourcing

Ethical sourcing respects workers, the environment, and global ethical standards.

Ethical sourcing prioritizes and elevates your brand reputation and boosts customer loyalty and trust. Consumers want to buy from businesses that match their values and beliefs.

What Part Do Ethical Suppliers Play?

Ethical suppliers play a key role in dropshipping and ethical sourcing. We’ve mentioned briefly above what the main components of ethical suppliers are: paying fair wages, not partaking in child labour, and, most importantly, using eco-friendly materials and processes. 

But seeing as finding reliable dropshipping suppliers is difficult, how do you find the perfect dropshipping ethical supplier? 

You ask, and we’ll deliver!

  • Research reputable suppliers and check for important certifications like Fair Trade, B Corp, and Rain Forest Alliance. These adhere to high ethical standards. When looking for suppliers, search directories like Eco-friendly Directory and Ethical Consumer, these list suppliers committed to ethical and sustainable practices.  
  • As you evaluate suppliers for ethical sourcing in dropshipping, ensure they follow fair labour practices, use sustainable materials, and maintain transparent supply chains. Remember to do audits and, if possible, visit facilities to see their processes firsthand.
  • Go through customer reviews for valuable insights into the ethical supplier’s reliability and ethical standards. Trustpilot and Supplier Blacklist are platforms that offer feedback from other businesses so that you can make informed decisions. 

Aim to build long-term partnerships with suppliers who share your ethical values and negotiate contracts that prioritise ethical sourcing for ongoing and effective compliance.

How Can We Excel in Sustainable Production? 

Another major element of ethical sourcing in dropshipping is sustainable production. In this process, manufacturers will use eco-friendly materials, reduce waste, and use energy-efficient processes. If you want to ensure your business’s products are produced sustainably, look for certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Cradle to Cradle.

Ethical product sourcing

When sourcing products, renewable and reusable ones are preferred for sustainability.

When sourcing dropshipping products, choose suppliers using renewable resources and sustainable materials. If you’re dropshipping clothing, prioritize suppliers who offer organic cotton or recycled materials to reduce your environmental footprint significantly. 

You also want suppliers who implement strict waste reduction strategies, such as zero-waste production processes, and contribute to sustainability overall. 

Fair Trade Products, A Mark of Ethical Excellence

If you see the fair trade label on any product, you know its makers receive fair wages and work in safe conditions. When you’re sourcing fair trade products for ethical dropshipping, look for certifications like Fair Trade Certified and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). These labels guarantee that the products meet stringent fair trade standards. 

Take brands like Divine Chocolate and Ten Thousand Villages as examples. They source their products ethically, which means fair compensation for artisans and farmers. When dropshippers can offer fair trade products, they support equitable trade practices and resonate with socially conscious consumers, enhancing brand credibility and appeal in a market progressively focused on ethical consumption.

Transparency and Traceability

Transparency and traceability are imperative for implementing ethical sourcing in dropshipping. Consumers today want to know where their products come from and how they are made. Tools like blockchain technology and traceability platforms can verify your products’ origins and production processes and give your customers peace of mind.

Brands like Everlane excel by offering detailed information about their supply chains, from raw materials to ready products. With transparent supply chain information, you build trust with customers and can show that you’re committed to ethical practices, which significantly improve your brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Ethical Marketing For Ethical Sourcing in Dropshipping 

A cornerstone component for ethical sourcing in dropshipping is ethical marketing, of course! This type of marketing is in the name of promoting your products by staying committed to ethical dropshipping overall.

To hit the right note with ethical marketing, focus on authenticity and storytelling to highlight your ethical standards. Share the stories behind your products and the positive impact of your sourcing choices. 

Ethical marketing

Your marketing efforts should focus on telling a story while being transparent and honest.

Consider maintaining transparent communication to show your dedication to fair trade, sustainability, and worker welfare. Brands like TOMS and Ben & Jerry’s effectively communicate their ethical commitments and resonate with conscious consumers, excelling in ethical marketing for your dropshipping business. 


Ethical dropshipping is the new and improved way of exploring this high-reward and low-effort business model. By prioritizing ethical sourcing in dropshipping, we contribute to a healthier planet by reducing environmental impact, paying fair wages, and building a socially conscious and competent community

You can always speak to dropshipping professionals to learn how to implement ethical sourcing and ethical practices in your business.  


  • What are some challenges in ethical dropshipping?

Challenges include higher costs, limited supplier options, and the complexity of verifying ethical practices across global supply chains.

Jarin Ahmed

Author Jarin Ahmed

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