Quick post this week, I’m getting to be very busy!
These are the main causes that I consider important when buying ethically:
- veganism – if a product involves animals, they are going to be extremely vulnerable to exploitation, whether it is meat, milk or egg.
- human trafficking – it’s not well-known yet, but slavery is still holding up capitalism. Workers are vulnerable, especially when they are millions of miles from the companies and consumers who drive demand for items such as fast fashion. The more you know about how and where an item was made, the better the workers are likely to be being treated…so keep that in mind.
- palm oil – it’s a great oil, but shouldn’t mean demolishing irreplaceable ancient forests. for example, the iconic chocolate brand Cadbury’s should be abhorred for their lack of stance on this issue.
- tax evasion – this robs ordinary people by depriving their governments of any the profits generated in these huge corporations. The corporations get more powerful, whilst inequality and poverty are re-inforced. Tax evasion is the earth-wrecking scandal that has yet to be seriously challenged.
- plastic, and harmful materials – very few things are worth damaging the planet for, especially if there is a better alternative. Tin, glass, and natural products win with me, and if the product has to be plastic, it needs to be worth it and get lots of use out of it.
- avoid “too” cheap – most huge businesses are not charities, they drive hard, painful bargains to keep their prices low for you the consumer, who in turn has a low wage to keep profits high. we need smaller, kinder organisations who put people before profit, shopping locally is one way to try to support this, but avoiding the biggest firm and the lowest prices, if you can afford to, is also helpful.
- avoid too expensive – prestige items are rarely ethically minded, and can be just as exploitative as the cheapest items.
- avoid buying. this sounds stupid, but if you can borrow, or re-use, or avoid using a product, that’s an ethical choice. Spending isn’t the only way to be ethical. It reduces resources, and improves the circular economy. For more information, Moneyless Manifesto puts this perfectly.
This list is been the result of far more articles, books and influences than I can list here, but here are some important ones:
Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole The World – Nicolas Shaxton
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion – Elizabeth L.Cline
Junkyard Planet: Journeys around the billion dollar trash industry. – Adam Minter
Moneyless Manifesto: Live well, live rich, live free. – Mark Boyle (pdf is free online).
Disposable People: New Slavery In the Global Economy – Kevin Bale
Thanks for Reading!