5 questions for ethical shoppers
As Christmas approaches, we all go a little crazy and consume more than we usually would. Here are five questions that every mindful consumer should ask – all in the spirit of giving!
1) Who made it? (Or grew it?)
At The Shop for Change, we believe in 100% transparency. We want to know the factory or farm where the product originated, as well as who works there and how they are treated. At the very least, you want to know that the business you are supporting does not use child labour and that its workers are paid a fair wage.
2) Am I buying for maximum social impact?
Many companies have business models designed to do social good – but not all are as effective as they claim. We generally prefer to go for companies that take the ‘trade not aid’ approach and empower disadvantaged communities by providing sustainable employment, skills development and access to education – rather than merely giving them handouts.
3) Is it safe for the environment?
A lot of labels proclaim a product to be cruelty-free, organic, free-range or natural – but how can you be sure that you’re not just falling for a marketing tactic? One way is to check for certifications, or – because these can be costly to obtain – buy direct from a farm or seller you trust.
4) Is this the best quality I can afford?
Buying high quality products is another way to protect the environment by reducing waste. It’s tempting to take advantage of a bargain, but poorly made products break easily and end up as landfill. Quality may cost more at first but it’s worth it in the long run.
5) Do I need more info?
If a product’s packaging and marketing material lacks supply chain information, why not contact the company directly and find out for yourself? Most companies are willing to answer questions that their consumers ask them. And if they are cagey, do you really want to support them?
For a great range of handcrafted gifts with social and environmental impact, head over to The Shop for Change.
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