So many of us feel strongly that our economy needs a boost of equity and fairness. But it can be daunting to think about what our buying power means when ordering cat litter.
So, we’re bringing you a refresh on the ethics of consumerism. After all, you’re already shopping – why not know what kinds of businesses your cash is supporting?
How do we define ethical consumerism?
- Moral tenets that influence our behavior when we purchase goods or services
- A form of activism based on the idea that every dollar we spend is like a vote for the company you're buying from
- An intentional effort to support businesses putting Human-Powered Business principles into practice
To put it into perspective, one-third of global consumers say they would ditch their favorite brand if it doesn’t line up with their values.
OK, but why should I care if a product is ethical?
When enough people spend their money in a deliberate way, it can cause brands to take notice make changes to meet demand. In turn, more meaningful progress happens: Working moms around the world might earn a living wage. Fewer people might face food and water scarcity. More businesses could invest in climate solutions. And so on.
I’m listening, but I’m ready to give up on trying to affect change. It’s exhausting.
Oh, do we hear you. There will always be obstacles and change never happens fast enough. This can feel exhausting, especially if you’re like us and feel some serious passion about building a more equitable, prosperous economy.
The good news: YOU can be part of the solution simply by doing what many of us do best – eating, buying the products and services you need and enjoy, and, of course, drinking world-class beer from your favorite brand 😉.
Isn’t it the companies that should be doing better? Why put it all on the consumer?
It’s true, businesses should do better on their own. But in too many cases, they’re not. Our personal spending power is one of the most important ways we as individuals can send a message to businesses that we want them to improve – for workers, for our communities, and for our planet. If millions of consumers support brands and businesses following Human-Powered Business principles, things will change.
“Voting with your dollars” isn’t just refraining from spending in unethical places. It’s also supporting companies that do take a humanized approach to business.
I’m sold (no pun intended). But how do I know if I’m shopping ethically?
Fortunately, with a little research, you'll find that the work has been done for you. There are apps and websites that make it super clear. Here are just a few examples:
- Good On You rates fashion brands on ethical and sustainable practices.
- FoodPrint’s food label guide helps you find out what each label — nutrition facts, health claims, various logos, proclamations of animal treatment — really means.
- Fat Tire’s Carbon Neutral Toolkit for craft brewers can help any brewery join the movement by measuring carbon emissions and taking steps to become carbon neutral.
When in doubt, a quick scan on the company’s website will give you an idea of how transparent they are about ethical and sustainable practices. Hint: if the company discloses the information, they’re on the right track. Look for ethical and sustainable certifications and read about the brand’s mission and goals. A little homework and sound judgement goes a long way.
If you’re really invested in being an ethical consumer and ready to fully commit, reflect on your buying habits. Ask yourself what you really need. Shop local and secondhand when you can. Start with one product you buy frequently, and make an intentional choice to switch to a brand that better adds value to humanity and our planet. It all makes a difference!
Like this article? Explore this site further for even more resources on how you can contribute to build a more prosperous, equitable, and human-powered future.