Just because you love shopping, it doesn’t mean you don’t care about where the things you buy come from. Plenty of enthusiastic shoppers want to make sure they make ethical purchases and that their money isn’t supporting anything they wouldn’t want it to. If you don’t know the origin of your purchase, you could be buying something that relies on child labor or exploits conflict, or something that uses unsustainable materials. If you want to take an ethical approach to shopping, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you buy anything. Here are some of those important questions to help you make your decisions.
Where and How Are Products Made?
One of the first things many people want to know about anything they buy is where it comes from. There are certain origins they might want to avoid, not just because of ethical reasons but because of quality too. It’s important to research the conditions in which workers create the things you buy so that you can make ethical purchasing decisions based on that. You might need to think about whether workers are treated unfairly or are underpaid, and even whether children are used in part of the process to bring you a product. Unfortunately, this can be hard sometimes, as many brands aren’t particularly transparent.
What Materials Do Potential Purchases Use?
It’s also worth considering the materials that a product uses. This is for reasons of sustainability, and it can also indicate the conditions people might work in to create the product. Some things to pay attention to are precious stones like diamonds or anything that is mined. Brands like Brilliant Earth can bring you ethical, conflict-free diamonds, but others aren’t so ethically conscious. You might want to think about materials such as wood and bamboo, which can be unsustainable to use, as well as needing to be transported thousands of miles.
What’s the Track Record of the Seller or Manufacturer?
Knowing your brands is often the only way you can shop ethically without having to constantly stop and ask questions. If you know who to avoid and who you approve of, it makes things easier. You can research different brands and stay up to date with the news. You might reject brands that support things you disagree with, those who have a track record for treating their employees poorly, or perhaps companies that avoid paying taxes.
Where Is Your Money Going (and Going Through)?
Another thing to take into account when you’re shopping is handling your money, and how companies handle your money too. For example, many people take issue with several banks for what they see as unethical behavior. As well as avoiding these banks yourself, you might want to avoid shopping in stores that use these banks. In addition, you can become familiar with how companies and the people involved with them spend and invest their money. For example, maybe they donate to a political party you don’t want to support.
If you want to shop ethically, you need to be in the know. Education is key to making the right decisions.