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.