Business Ethics and Supply Chains

EBay and Ethical sourcing

In September 2008, EBay, the online auction giant, launched an ethically sourced online marketplace for selling products that have a positive impact on people and the planet. The project is a collaboration of eBay and World of Good. It includes a nonprofit development organization along with a corporate arm called World of Good Inc.

Socially responsible shopping – Tailored shopping impact

The online marketplace aims to give socially responsible shoppers a chance to buy great products that also help mankind and the planet. Customers can also customize their shopping impact (regardless of the social causes most important to them) by shopping for items with different attributes spanning 15 categories. Items are broadly classified as People PositiveTM and Eco PositiveTM.

Products for sale – Organic, made from recycled material and animal friendly

Sellers at the website ( are verified by third parties known as trust providers. The goal is to meet a core set of ethical and environmental standards. Items for sale on the site include clothing, jewelry, coffee, tea, pottery, accessories and home decor items. These items are organic (e.g. organic clothing) and made from recycled materials. Beauty products sold on the site are ‘animal-friendly’ and some products are made by artisans from developing countries. Even food items are offered on the site.

Ethical consumer experiences with Unique GoodprintTM labeling system

A labeling system known as GoodprintTM gives each product on the site a unique nutritional label. This helps customers easily identify the positive social and environmental impact on each buy/purchase they make. They can assess if their purchase aids: economic empowerment, helps preservation of animal species, conserves energy, or is made of recycled, organic and/or sustainable materials.

Facilitating ongoing dialogue between buyers and sellers

The marketplace, an online community, not only helps bring together products, people, and organizations all in one place but also facilitates a dialogue (about ethical shopping) between them and Trust Providers via related blogs, articles, and forums.

EBay, founded in 1995, has more than 84 million active users worldwide. The items offered on are also made available on

Download related PDF files of management case studies on eBay: