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Thread summary:

Ethical shopping, fair-trade products, buying from environmentally responsible companies, companies with good human rights track records, socially responsible consumers

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Old 05-14-2007, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,227,644 times
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For a few years now, my partner and I have been trying very hard to be far more "ethically" minded when shopping. We try to buy "fairtrade" products when possible , have boycotted many companies because of their appalling human rights standards and we try to keep ourselves informed as to the impact of our consuming. Does anyone else out there believe as I do that as customers we have a lot of power and that we should try wherever possible not buy from companies with bad track records in human rights( at home or abroad),and with terrible environmental credentials ?
It is very hard to live a modern life and be ethical but I believe more and more people want to know where their goods come from and who has produced them , and under which working conditions.
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:40 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,383 posts, read 41,220,564 times
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I have tried to shop ethically, seasonally and locally.
When you are a family, this *occasionally* (not always) can be pricey.
As our kids are leaving the nest, it will be just we two and maybe I can be even more discriminating.
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,410,326 times
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I do try to avoid Sprawlmart.
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 397,283 times
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Sure I can qualify as someone who does this. I love "fair trade" goodies, but perhaps my sense of "ethical" work standards is not the same as others (I am not all that concerned about overseas sweatshop claims which I think are more about provincial American attitudes toward primitive work conditions than actually reflecting the desires of the local workers who are involved). I also think part of "shopping ethically" needs to include a desire to buy less stuff all around. Being frugal in my consumption (rather than focusing on price) is something I think greatly benefits the environment.
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
14,042 posts, read 25,774,616 times
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I try to do this. Whenever I have a choice, I will buy something made in the USA. Like New Balance running shoes. I prefer to give my money to companies providing jobs to people here!
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
Sure I can qualify as someone who does this. I love "fair trade" goodies, but perhaps my sense of "ethical" work standards is not the same as others (I am not all that concerned about overseas sweatshop claims which I think are more about provincial American attitudes toward primitive work conditions than actually reflecting the desires of the local workers who are involved). I also think part of "shopping ethically" needs to include a desire to buy less stuff all around. Being frugal in my consumption (rather than focusing on price) is something I think greatly benefits the environment.

I totally agree about consuming a lot less and I haven't bought a new CD or DVD in years ( ebay is great) and we are really quite terrible consumers as I hate shopping and will only buy stuff when I actually need it. Most of my furniture is second hand or old. ( still very nice though).
Regarding sweatshops though , even though it provide crucial jobs for the poorest people in the third world, I think you will find that these workers do mind the conditions they work in as can be noticed by the great increase in labour rights protests and local third world organisations trying to fight for decent wages and work conditions. There is a huge wave of self empowerment going on now from India to South America and via China . Small growers and factory workers are organising themselves around the world in great political movements and unions and good on them !!

We in the Western World should no be allowed to exploit human beings the way we do and I hope that Fairtrade products will one day become the norm rather than a middle-class exception. If you were to triple wages in third world factories and agricultural areas, we as consumers would barely notice the cost difference. Of course the other solution would be for multinational corporations to take a slight cut in profits ! Yes I know hardly likely but it could be done without anyone having to suffer.

Our wealth and comfort has been built on the suffering of others for far too long and we do need to take responsibility for our actions and realise that what we are doing is obscenely selfish and grossly damaging to us all.

What we are doing to workers and farmers worldwide is nothing short of crimes against humanity. I know because I have actually seen the sweatshops of Asia and India and it makes you ashamed to be from the West. I also strongly believe that there is a lot of poverty and destitution in the US and Europe and that better labour laws ,general working and living conditions and social benefits should be available to all.
For anyone interested in Ethical issues and "majority world" news , if anyone is interested I would recommend the great magazine "New Internationalist" (www.newint.org) .
It's a great introduction to the rest of the world and how others live and highlights the struggle these people have to face and what they are doing to help themselves.

We need to vote and with our wallets and demand changes from the way business is run.
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,227,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cil View Post
I have tried to shop ethically, seasonally and locally.
When you are a family, this *occasionally* (not always) can be pricey.
As our kids are leaving the nest, it will be just we two and maybe I can be even more discriminating.
I agree Cil about it being more expensive and I quite understand when people find it difficult. I just hope that one day , ethical goods will be the norm not the exception.

I realise at the moment a lot of it is very much a middle-class indulgence and it's so sad. I am quite concerned about companies like Wal-Mart who abuse people's human rights in third world and developing countries AND on top of that treat their employees pretty dreadfully too ( all the people I have spoken to who worked in Wal-Mart were less than happy ).

A lot of the Churches in Europe have been at the forefront of a lot of changes regarding Fairtrade and have pronounced that Christianity begins with charity and compassion not exploitation and slavery. That has to be a good thing I think, though I am myself an Atheist.
I don't know whether there is the same kind of movement in the US?
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 25,081,718 times
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I do avoid Sprawlmart and will go miles out of my way to shop mom 'n pop or small business.

Feeding the big chains isn't my idea of supporting our communities, but rather enhancing the coffers of the large corporations.

I've seen too many small business people go under in the face of a chain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaz longue View Post
I do try to avoid Sprawlmart.
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,566 posts, read 36,931,189 times
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Nah, I just buy whatever I want.
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Working on relocating
800 posts, read 3,982,007 times
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I try to buy ethically...locally, organic, fair trade, etc.

I also try not to support companies that exploit their workers.

I really believe you can influence consumerism and commerce by the way you spend your money. It also helps to write letters...one person can make a difference
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