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Ethical Shopping, What Part Does That Play?

SUSTAINABILITY ARTICLE FOR THE WEEKENDER HERALD

BY LIDDY DOLMAN  JULY 2013

'ETHICAL SHOPPING, WHAT PART DOES THAT PLAY?'

A simple explanation of ‘Ethical Shopping’ found on a Yahoo blog site is “using your purchasing power to vote for values you care about”. I chose that explanation because it can be interpreted broadly, precisely how I view the subject.

To some it means purchasing products that are recycled or made from recycled materials, organic, chemical free, cruelty free, vegan or products made from natural ingredients, materials or sustainable materials. To others, the pursuit of purchasing local goods and services to support their local community, a subject covered previously.

A really helpful habit to get into when shopping is to ask yourself whether you actually need what you are about to purchase. If you can’t justify it in the first five seconds you probably don’t. You will be delighted as to how much you save in a year.

Another important example of ‘Ethical Shopping’ is purchasing items made overseas under what is commonly known as ‘Fair Trade’ conditions. ‘Fair Trade’ is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. It often refers to Coffee and Chocolate in regard to the many farmers around the world producing these much sought after consumer items. We now have a growing number of ethical organisations, importing beautiful, hand-crafted items into our country produced by communities from around the world employed under ‘Fair Trade’ conditions.

However, not all organisations follow that example.  The recently reported tragedy of 1000 textile workers killed, and many more seriously wounded, in a building collapse in Bangladesh sparked an investigation into the textile manufacturing industry in that country, uncovering widespread unsafe and unfair practices. Many Australian businesses have flocked to Bangladesh to manufacture their fashion stock in recent years because of the incredibly low wages with little or no investigation into the working conditions of the staff.

We need to take responsibility and do our own research on brands we are purchasing from, it is an eye opening experience.

A big subject for just one article but one worth thinking about and ultimately, taking the action that works for you.

Next edition – What is Sustainable Fashion?
Visit me at Ecolateral 411 Magill Road St Morris or visit www.ecolateralshop.com.au for more info on sustainability.

411 Magill Road St Morris, SA 5068 Australia (08) 8333 3478

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