Shopping ethically is a movement towards the eradication of unethical labour exploitation in factories around the world. The term ‘sweatshop’ was originally coined over 200 years ago to describe factories that ‘sweated’ out products through exploitation of workers.
Although the long hours, low safety precautions and little wages seem like they should belong in the 19th century, they sadly still take place in many countries today.
How is this still happening?
Multinational companies continue to replace hundreds of thousands of small businesses, local farmers and shopkeepers. Globalisation has brought an increase in ‘fast’, cheaply sourced fashion. And with this fast fashion, many of the products depend on child labour and paying their workers well below the poverty line.
“I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer”.
- Denis Hayes, Coordinator of Earth Day.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Nielson’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report shows that two thirds of consumers around the world would pay more for a product from a sustainable brand, and this figure rises to almost three quarters for millennials.
Each one of us can make a positive impact with every dollar we spend. The power of conscious consumers can encourage innovative companies and tighten human rights regulations.
Plus, buying high-quality clothing outlasts cheap and disposable fast fashion. This sustainability makes it better for the planet as well as for its workers.
How can we tell what brands are ethical?
First of all, have a look at the labelling. Look for clothing marked with Fairtrade, Ethical Clothing Australia and the Global Organic Textile Standard certifications.
You can also download the free app ‘Good on You’ where you can search brands and it can let you know it’s environmental rating, labour rating and animal rating.
The app ‘Shop Ethical!’ is priced at $4.94 and gives you access to over 5,000 products with their environmental and social records.
Lastly, buying local and talking to business owners will give you a better chance at finding out more about the products you are buying and whether they are contributing to something good in society.
Be a conscious consumer and contribute to changing the world
Our purpose at I Stand For is to create ethically sourced apparel at affordable prices, while supporting local artists and our community along the way.
We believe that conscious shopping is central to creating a better path in society, one that is built on adhering to human rights, bettering the environment and treating all animals with respect.
There is nothing more powerful than the collective. Every conscious consumer is playing a part in showing big brands what is acceptable – and what isn’t.