Top 4 Online Sustainable Marketplaces

For those of us that don’t live near a progressive urban center, having brick and mortar stores that focus on green items is not much more than a fantasy. There are a slew of online stores tailoring to the LOHAS consumer, so I thought it might be about time to get a conversation started here about peoples’ favorite online green stores that can deliver for conscientious last minute shoppers. Treehugger just ran a great post about the top ten compostable gifts, and given peoples’ proclivity for lists, here, I’d like to cover the top 3 online stores for green schwag.

In no particular order…

Perhaps the most visually appealing online marketplace for green goods, the Ultimate Green Store covers mostly personal items for home, office, family, pets, and clothing, while also dabbling in solar goods, including a solar powered iPad charger.

The Ultimate Green Store most resembles a Bed, Bath & Beyond kind of website storefront, complete with a gift registry for weddings, baby showers, and other special events. Definitely worth a look for the green Mom to be or new couple in your life.

Since 1999, the Sustainability Store has been coalescing some of the greener sites on the web that sell merchandise. The Sustainability Store doesn’t certify the products, allowing readers and vendors to self-police the site for green-imposters, but the editors are responsive enough to emails that I trust they’ve done their due diligence in the last 12 years and have a good offering of everything from Fair Trade sites to organic clothing to skin care and other personal products.

The Sustainability Store also has two marks of achievement its vendors can apply for: the Star Award, and the World Award. The Star Award is given to vendors who go through the Sustainability Store’s rating process, which deals with sourcing and sustainable business practices. The World Award is given to organizations that convey exemplary progress in environmental and social responsibility.

In addition, the Sustainability Store does a community service with educational links on sustainability.

EcoMall, one of the oldest green sites on the web, has been a resource list for all things in what it calls “Greentailing” (retailing green goods).

The site, while not aesthetically pleasing, does have perhaps one of the most abundant and diverse set of green interests represented, allowing readers to join a number of lists for political activism, a daily green news bulletin, and other tips and trends. In addition, of course, the store is itself a list of links to the aforementioned greentailing enterprises around the web. Odds are, if you’re looking for something specific, you can find it here. But browsing? No thanks!

Though this one is an absolutely amazing brick and mortar green retail store, it also has a great online presence and is worth noting in this list. Real Goods, a northern California store associated with the Solar Living Institute, sells all sorts of cool green stuff. You may (or more likely, may not) recall an article I wrote for 3p about a year and a half ago about a contraption that makes drinking water from thin air. It was at the Real Goods store that I first saw the device and decided to write about it.

The Real Goods Store online is not easy to find from their main site, but it really does have some cool green gadgetry. You can buy a bat box for natural pest control, a waste free lunch kit, a fermenting crockpot stoneware item, backpacks, and garden composters.

And of course, there are a lot of others…what did I miss? What stores do you love online?


Follow on Twitter:



Scott Cooney, Principal of and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

Leave a Reply