The glossary of our sustainable and ethical values

Some terms and specific words can have very different meanings to different people, so we wanted to give you full clarity on what our 10 key values mean in the Plum & Belle universe. Terminology and current buzz-words can often be flung about with the hope of imparting some green credentials to brands or products. That is a very big no no as far as we are concerned, so before we accredit any brand of product with one of our values, we fully investigate to ensure that it's an absolutely valid attribute. 

We do our homework so you don't have to

Natural materials

Made from plant-based materials or harvested, with great care, from live animals. The highest consideration is given to the land, natural resources, animals and humans involved with and impacted by the processes needed to create these materials. 

Some of the plant (cellulose) based materials may be organic, and will have all of the relevant certification to assure you of their status. Those that aren’t certified organic have still been grown and harvested in a highly conscientious and considered way.

There are also some natural materials that have been processed in a similar way to synthetic materials, giving them very silky attributes (viscose, modal, tencel). These are generally wood based and should originate from well-managed environments. 

The animal (protein) based materials will have any certification detailed by product. Regardless of certification our aim is that any natural materials (like wool, for example) come from carefully nurtured animals and material is harvested with minimal impact on that creature’s happiness.


Products have been created using existing materials or reclaimed fibres. By using existing materials, products inherently have a far lower environmental impact, as the majority of any product's environmental impact happens at the material's creation stage. We particularly love the creative, innovative thinking it takes to create products in this category.

This symbol also highlights product that’s been created from recycled or reclaimed fibres, like recycled polyester (often made from ocean plastic), regenerated cashmere or reclaimed cotton. There’s so much innovation in this arena, creating exciting new materials without further impacting natural resources. It’s a great step towards circularity, too.

Minimal waste, pollutants and emissions

This is achieved through a combined effort of thoughtful planning and Innovative green technology across all aspects of design, production and shipping. There are simple direct actions too, that have an excellent impact on these points, like sourcing material close to where you’re manufacturing, planning a use for any waste, such as material off-cuts, and using materials that require minimal processing at every lifestage.


Denotes products that have absolutely no elements sourced from any creature. The beauty brands that we have selected are also stringently cruelty free.

One off/limited edition

We are proud to be able to offer products that are unique or from a very small production run. We have a very carefully curated selection of beautiful vintage finds, which are all one off.. Some brands have collections that are made by hand, using traditional crafts, embracing the natural variances in materials, and the uniqueness of each maker and so their items are only offered in small production runs.

Community engagement

Sustainability is about creating the perfect balance between humans and the earth’s resources, so it’s really important for us to have values that are human-centric too. Many of the brands we carry have created their businesses with their community at their heart. We believe in empowerment and opportunity, and we love that we are able to help these brands to grow their businesses and build stronger, happier, upskilled and enabled communities.


We want your life to be as simple as possible and we want to empower you to take simple direct action with confidence. These are products that you can domestically recycle through standard municipal waste collections, or even pop in to your own compost heaps where they will rapidly mulch down to harmless natural compounds.

Conserving traditions

Applied to products created using a craft requiring great skill, following time-honoured processes. These are often location-specific, too, giving a wonderful insight into the culture and community of the place and its people. Traditions are preserved and have a brighter future through you simply choosing these products, allowing craftspeople to make a living through continuing their amazing and unique work.

Made in the UK

We are champions of British-made products for a couple of reasons. The further away from us a product is created, the more opaque our oversight and understanding of its origins and implications become. By bringing more making back to the UK, we can bring that clarity of who, what, where and how right back in to focus. This also gives us the opportunity to reinvigorate dying traditions and disappearing skills, creating greater opportunities for the future. We have historically been a nation of highly skilled makers, and we’d like to see that being celebrated again.

With Certifications

There is a multitude of diverse certifications across the sustainable and ethical landscape. These help us to understand that an aspect of a product’s creation process has specific levels of excellence. These can be from the certification of a material source, like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), or perhaps something more people-focused, like Fairtrade. All of these help express both traceability and transparency in a really clear way.

a close view of a field of daisies in low lighting
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.