Become a Conscientious Shopper

With a little bit of research it is possible to make your money do more by shopping ethically. Equality, the environment and animal rescue are some of the most popular causes.

Here’s some reassurance...

For anyone who’s ever crossed the high street to avoid a charity-can rattler, or a "chugger" as they are now commonly known—what we buy on the other side of the street can also help people in need, says Rob Harrison of Ethical Consumer magazine.

“Just choose your priorities—equality, the environment, animal rescue etc.—and bear them in mind when you shop,” he says. In the past we have seen a lot of exploitation of people, natural resources, animals as well as ethical disputes regarding taxes and finances.

If you are able to keep an awareness of these concerns in the forefront of your mind while shopping, then little by little we can all make the world a better place. And if you needed any more convincing...

 

Spending wisely we can help prevent another...

Clothing-factory collapse

It took a million people to prod fashion companies into signing the Bangladesh Accord, which pledges funds to improve factory safety there. Sixty-three have now endorsed it. For a list, see labourbehindthelabel.org.

Raging forest fire smog

From fires clearing land for palm-oil plantations in Indonesia spread as far as Thailand last summer. Often disguised as vegetable oil or stearate, palm oil appears in everything from ready meals to toothpaste, so it’s hard to avoid. It has to be listed as an ingredient from December, but until then look for sustainable palm oil or palm-oil-free products (see ethicalconsumer.org).

Libor-rigging scandal

Banking is one of our top three concerns, according to Ethical Consumer. Consider a mutual society (there’s a list on financialmutuals.org), which is organised for the benefit of all members.

Tax-avoidance scheme

Show disapproval by swapping Google for Bing, ordering from individual suppliers online and buying fairtrade coffee from independent cafes. Then sign up to Ethical Consumer’s tax-justice campaign to make sure you’re not the only one paying your dues.