Just think about that last purse you bought from the mall or that last chocolate bar that was oh so good. Think about all the products you use on a daily basis. Do you know where these products come from? Do you know who made them? A lot of the clothing you wear, the soap you use, electronics that you are use all come from or were partly manufactured in another country.
So far so good. So what’s the big deal?
How about no pay, human trafficking, physical abuse, no dignity, and child abuse? Becoming more socially aware of where and how products come into the stores will allow us to make better decisions and divert our dollars away from such activities that we find morally and socially corrupt.
We love our iPhones and would kill ourselves if we were forced to be without it. Well manufacturing these phones has driven many to do just that, attempt or successfully commit suicide.
Foxconn, a Tiawanese factory who manufactures many of the electronic giants such Apple and Samsung had such a poor working environment (no sitting, limited, no restbreaks, no talking, etc.) “coincidentally” had several employees commit suicide. The company maintained that it was a coinky dink, but the steps that they took after the incidents solidifies the horrible assertions. Their response to the suicides was a new policy to force new hires to sign off on an anti-suicide pledge and also promised that if they did kill themselves, their families couldn’t sue. There was a public backlash, so they answered they opposition by installing safety nets.¹
Imagine that your mother was standing for 18 hours per day in a hot building without air conditioning to make that beautiful pair of shoes that you worship for .13 cents and hour. This is clearly not enough for suitable housing or food for her family.
Or how about instead of sending your child off on the school bus. you send he or she to work in the sweltering heat of a sweatshop for the next twelve hours to make those sporty “must have” dress that’s all the rage this season.
What if you hadn’t seen your little or sister or brother in years because they had been stolen and are now being trafficked across the country to work the fields?
According to an article in the International Labor Rights Forum,it was “found that child labor still is
rampant on Ivorian cocoa farms. About 35 percent of the world’s chocolate is grown on small farms in the Ivory Coast….[F]armers often enlist children as laborers. The U.S. State Department estimates more than 109,000 children work in the cocoa industry under the “worst forms of child labor” and that 10,000 or more are victims of human trafficking and enslavement. “²
I think that we would not accept any of these scenarios as a reality, but unfortunately this is the reality for many. Opponents to fair trade often will say that “all is fair in love and capitalism,” but that line of thinking is somewhat disingenuous when taking into account historically egregious profits that these multi-billion dollar industries enjoy. It’s boils down to humanity.
I will be the first to admit that I have, and still do buy some brands that have a less than stellar track record, but I’m making steps to start making more socially and morally conscious decisions by researching to identify those companies that have have taken deliberate action against child labor (abuse), underpayment of work, and inhumane sweatshop conditions and boycotting those who seem to be making no efforts.
As founder and president of Woman True, I am attempting to use the power that I do have to support empowerment and self-sufficiency of women around the world by buying fair trade items. It allows us to support our sisters and families abroad trying to keep food on their table who don’t have options. They can’t simply go to Careerbuilder or Linkedin and explore options like other more fortunate. However, they do have technical skill sets that are deserving of fair pay allowing them to live a more dignified and most importantly, humane life.
I am not an activist. I don’t have a television show. I haven’t lead any marches. What I do have is power over how I spend my dollar. Think about the positive shift we could make if we all decided to lead our own personal movements with more deliberate, educated purchasing decisions.
I plan on making sure that my shopping dollar is promoting and thereby creating the world that I want to leave in. Are you ready to shop with purpose? If so, here’s a short list below to get you started. Happy (educated) spending ladies!
[divider]A Short List for Reference Before Your Next Socially-Conscious Shopping Spree[/divider]
Bibico (Womens Clothing, Shoes, Accessories) http://www.bibico.co.uk/
Everlane (Men&Womens Clothing,Accessories) https://www.everlane.com
Kuyichi (Men and Womens Clothing, Accessories) https://www.kuyichi.com
Shift Connection (Shoes) http://shifttonature.com.au
The Root Connective (Shoes) http://www.therootcollective.com/
The People Tree (Men&Womens Clothing,Accessories) http://www.peopletree.co.uk/
Thread Harvest (Men & Womens Clothing, Accessories) https://threadharvest.com.au/w
(of course) Woman True (Womens Accessories, Housewares) http://womantrue.com/shop
Let me know if articles like this influence your purchasing decisions in any way.