Here at BuyVertue towers we love being positive. We don’t think beating consumers with a big stick will work in the long term if we really want to make a difference to the way people think about what they buy. Positive encouragement to buy great products is a much better tactic. Ethical and fair trade products need to be great quality as well as great ethics. However, it is sometimes good to remind ourselves of the opposite side of the ethical consumerist coin.
Fair trade and organic produce are all about deliberately doing good by what we buy. We go out of our way to make a difference for others sometimes even spending more in the process. But when we have no alternative products that do good we are often left with choice of who does the least bad. Not great, but definitely worth taking the time to figure out who should benefit from your hard earned cash.
My first port of call is always Ethical Consumer. It provides fantastic guides to who you should and should not buy from. The individual guides to product categories are excellent and if you’re not a subscriber you should sign up now. However, the key section to commit to memory is the section on corporate boycotts. Every corporation wants to be loved. No one wants to work for an “evil empire”. And getting a company on a boycott list is a great way to raise awareness of the issues and to get them to change their mind.
The current ethical consumer boycott list is great place to start. Decide what matters to you and then pick the companies you want to target with “not with my wallet” policy. For example, animal testing is key issue and the fact it is still widely used on cosmetic products is appallingly in the 21st century. So time to avoid spending (or giving) your cash with Boots, British Heart Foundation, Estee Lauder, Herbal Essences, Iams, Johnson and Johnson and Nestle. Plus there are other animal welfare concerns with Adidas, Burberry, Escada, Japan, Harrods, Joseph Ltd, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kurt Geiger and Tesco. You can find a more detailed boycott page for animal rights issues on the Ethical Consumer site too.
So now is the time to shop with your brain engaged. Boycotting companies and letting them know why does work. Ethical Consumer did a review of successful boycotts – very inspiring.