Tag Archives: ethical products

Which Brands of Chocolate Are the Most Ethical to Buy?

Like many others, I have a strong fondness for chocolate. It’s not quite a food group or anything like that, but a nice piece of a good quality chocolate helps to make up for a lot of stresses. The only problem is not not all brands of chocolate are anywhere near equal when it comes to the ethics of the company.

There is a large problem in the cocoa industry with child labor and slavery. This is a huge issue, and to me the most important reason to pay attention to the ethics of the companies you buy chocolate from.

Sustainability is also a concern. Not all cocoa farming methods have a focus on being sustainable or are organic.

It’s not always so simple to figure out which brands are the most ethical to buy as different sources have different guidelines to determine how ethical a chocolate company may be. Green & Black’s gets an A from Better World Shopper, but only 1.5/20 on Ethical Consumer’s default chart. You have to decide which factors matter to you.

It can be frustrating to lose a favored brand to the realization that they may not be entirely up to par with their business practices. I’ve long been fond of Ghirardelli, and they only got a C from Better World Shopper, as there’s no sign that they buy Fair Trade cocoa or anything like that, so it’s time to switch. I’m glad they aren’t the worst, but I wish they’d be better, because their chocolate tastes wonderful.

Why Are We Addicted to Cheap?

Price is a big factor when most of us go shopping, especially if the budget is tight. It makes a lot of financial sense to go for cheaper items when they’re available. If you want to consider ethics, however, cheap isn’t always the way to go. Despite this, many people are addicted to cheap products.

Cheap products can be ethically challenging due to the circumstances under which they’re made. It’s not just the environmental issues, although those are important. It’s the human rights issues, products being made under sweatshop conditions and/or with child labor. It’s the humane treatment of animals.

Paying just a bit more for clothing and other products could go toward significantly improving the living conditions of the people who create these products. Unfortunately, it’s not just price; it’s also the willingness of the business to pay their workers well. Clothing made for Ralph Lauren can be just as problematic as clothes made to be sold at Walmart.

How Can You Keep Your Shopping More Ethical?

Ethics aren’t an easy thing to manage when you’re just trying to keep your family going. You don’t have a lot of extra money to spend sometimes. Even so, there are ways you can buy more ethical products without breaking the bank. It’s one of your few chances to buy cheap while doing good for others.

When it comes to clothing and other reusable products, shopping in thrift stores is often your best choice in terms of ethics and budget. It’s much cheaper than shopping anywhere else, and the money goes to support what are usually good causes in your area.

You can also check out the social responsibility of different companies online. Better World Shopper and Green America offer resources to help you with this.

Supporting co-ops is another good way to go. This isn’t just about food. Many fair trade products are made by co-ops.

Watch Out for False Claims

If you don’t know much about the brand you’re buying, just that they claim to be green or eco in some way, watch out for false or misleading claims. Too many times these claims are poorly regulated at best. If you don’t have time to do the research before purchase or at that moment, keep it in mind for the future.

At the same time, remember that you can’t always make the perfect ethical choice. Better products may not be readily available to you in your area, and you can’t always wait for shipping. Do your best with what’s available to you.