Shopping ethically is beneficial for workers and communities all over the globe. Ethical consumer decisions can also be beneficial in combating the ongoing climate crisis. Here are some tips for shopping ethically, so you can inspire the change you wish to see in this world.
Telling the truth is one of the most ethical things any business can do. Making that truth easy to find is even more honorable.
Ethical brands should be proud of their conservation efforts, diverse workforce, and/or fair wages. These efforts should be proudly displayed on a brand's website in plain view. If none of these initiatives are highly and immediately visible, then the brand is most likely not partaking in any.
In addition, brands should own up to their misgivings. Anytime a company makes a mistake, they should own up to it and announce what they learned as a result. Any attempts to cover up scandals or bad press are unethical.
Climate change is an alarming situation for both current and future generations. From transportation of goods to demand for disposable products, our shopping habits have added to global warming. We must cut our carbon footprint by supporting businesses that employ sustainable practices.
It's not just the brand’s responsibility to act more sustainably. As a consumer, our decisions should be ethical, too. For example, choose organic cotton or hemp clothing over clothes made with plastic chemicals that disrupt our hormones or dyes that contaminate water supplies.
3. Small Business and Local Support
Supporting small businesses helps enrich the community. These business owners are our friends, family, and neighbors. They depend on our patronage to provide for their households.
Chain stores tend to have executives who are millionaires. Yet, their employees barely get an affordable wage. Our continued support only enforces these low wages and makes the corporate entities more powerful.
4. Make Sure It's Really Fair Trade
Seeing the word "fair trade" implies that the artisans and farmers who made the product were paid a liveable wage to work in favorable conditions. However, there are no global or local regulators for "fair trade." Therefore, any brand can falsely put these words on a label without any consequence.
The CBD industry is the same way. It's not heavily regulated. So, reputable CBD brands implement independent lab testing to verify the purity of their oils.
Genuine fair trade merchants get their products verified by third-party certifiers. There are a few organizations to provide this service, with the most notable being FLO, the international Fair Trade Labeling Organization.
- A set global and regional price for items and crops
- Commodities crafted in adherence to labor laws
- At least 50% of the product consists of fair trade ingredients
Fair trade merchants will adorn their products with FLO seals or display certifications in their shops.
5. Buy Organic
The use of pesticides is harmful to farmers, the people who use these products, and the environment. Always buy organic whenever possible.
Much like fair trade, the word organic can be used deceptively. Brands can label their product as organic, even if only one ingredient is truly organic.
True organic brands get their products certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Look for a USDA-certified label to know the product is 100% organic.