THREE graduates have set up an online service to boost independent business that support ethical standards.

Charlie Jordan, Matthew Denford and Ryan Hudson finished their business management degrees at the University of Brighton this year.

Together they have launched “Ethicul” as a reward system for people making ethical shopping choices.

When a consumer purchases from a store as part of the scheme, they are rewarded with tokens, which add up and allow people to reclaim them as rewards from the businesses.

The trio say more than 20 businesses have signed up to the scheme.

To receive their Ethicul reward users need to get 250 tokens, and can then claim big discounts from retailers and deals such as £5 off if they spend £25.

Now, more than 100 users have already signed up in the city, and they are hopeful many more will join in.

Charlie said: “Having all moved to Brighton to attend university, we were staggered to see how many fantastic, ethically minded retailers there were in and around the city.

“We could certainly, see why it is among the greenest of towns in the UK, but we still found ourselves shopping with the retailer powerhouses that often ‘green wash’ their reputations.

“This is where we recognised the problem. We did not know where these ethically minded organisations were, nor what they had to offer.

“Having sat on the idea, support from the university relit a spark for taking Ethicul forward as we entered the new decade.

“Having officially formed in March 2020, we are giving the ethically minded retailers the exposure, visibility and reach they deserve for all the fantastic things they do.”

The trio hope that their scheme will help many of the smaller retailers to reach customers in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

To work out what firms reach a high ethical grade, they look across the industry and sector and review whether the business goes beyond normal industry standards.

Charlie said some of the measures businesses take are cutting plastic use after concerns about single use plastics polluting the oceans and countryside.

Another part is the impact on society in the city and around the world, with millions still trapped in poverty or working in dangerous conditions. The final part is the social wellbeing of workers and their living standards.

Charlie said they accept that no one is perfect, but firms should look to address these core values to be promoted by the app.

He said: “Often many members of our communities want to purchase more ethically from independent retailers but factors such as convenience and price can get in the way.”

“Ethicul is a platform that encourages people to purchase ethically by rewarding consumers for doing so.”

They hope to grow their company and aim to reach a million transactions by 2025. Visit for more information.