Shopping Greenly and Ethically
IF you’re trying to make your lifestyle more sustainable and your choices more ethical, examine how you shop. Food and goods produced locally by fairly treated workers are more sustainable than items made in distant countries by workers in sweatshops. Green and ethical choices you can make include the following.
Support your local community socially and economically by buying your food, gifts, crafts, home items, and clothes from local producers and businesses. Choose fruits and vegetables grown locally in season and transported over as short a distance as possible to reduce the amount of fuel used.
Choose organic or chemical-free foods
Buy foods and goods produced using as few chemicals as possible and/or made from organically produced materials. Choose secondhand or vintage goods, those made from biodegradable materials, and those made from recycled materials rather than resources that have to be mined from the earth.
Make sure workers are treated fairly
Ask stores whether the workers, producers, suppliers, and farmers involved in the production chain are paid fairly, have good working conditions, and can sustain their production (meaning that they have enough left after feeding themselves and their families to maintain their premises or buy new equipment and seeds). Avoid goods produced using child labor or in sweatshop working conditions.
The Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International works toward a “just and sustainable economic system,” and its members must meet ethical principles. Look for products certified by the Fair Trade Federation to be sure that the growers and producers who made your goods were treated fairly and that the goods were produced in a sustainable manner.
Be kind to animals
Animal welfare is a growing concern; consider choosing meat and dairy products that come from animals raised in humane conditions rather than animals intensively farmed and confined in overcrowded pens and cages.