But you can by shopping in an Ethical way. Put simply, this is buying things that are made ethically by companies that act ethically. Buying ethically means buying a brand or from a company which doesn’t exploit labour, animals or the environment. The way in which you can act as an ‘ethical consumer’ can also take on a different form and that is avoiding products (also known as boycotting) you disapprove of such as battery eggs.
GuideMeGreen acts as a unique internet guide, showing you which brands and companies are classed as ethical. For more indepth information see the Good Shopping Guide or the Ethical Consumer magazine.
Why buy ethically?
Everyone needs to go shopping in one way or another. As an ethical consumer, every time you buy something you can make a difference by choosing an ethical product or by buying from an ethical business.
For example, when you buy from a company that doesn’t exploit its workers and provides them with decent working conditions, you are giving the company the funds to continue its ethical behaviour. At the same time, you are no longer buying from a company that exploits its labour with poor pay and often a dangerous working environment. That company then loses business, which may encourage it to change its ways and to look after its workers.
Marks and Spencers the huge retail chain in the UK recently ran an ethical products campaign and said that this was its most successful ever. Many of the big retail companies are now seeing the benefits of offering a range of ethical goods for sale including ethical trainers, ethical shoes and t-shirts.
How do I know it’s ethical?
In general consumers must have confidence that any ‘ethical’ claims that a brand may make conform to certain standards which are independently accredited. Organisations such as the Good Shopping Guide and Ethical Consumer provide an ethical analysis of everyday brands and the companies behind them. The Ethical Marketing group publishes the Good Shopping Guide, updated annually, grading hundreds of companies according to their policies on 15 ethical issues.
Working to promote ethical shopping, The Ethical Company Organisation enables consumers to easily compare the Corporate Social Responsibility records of hundreds of companies and brands.
The Ethical Company Organisation’s Research Department monitors the ethical records of hundreds of different companies across 15 criteria including environmental records, human rights, animal welfare and involvement in the arms trade. This involves working with hundreds of ethical consumers, progressive companies and NGOs on a range of research and publishing programmes.
For example, next time you are buying clothes, the good shopping guide recommends that you buy from HUG and avoid Nike.
Find Ethical products via GuideMeGreen’s ethical directory