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How to Buy Ethically Sourced Items: The Purchasing Power of the Consumer

natasha komen

Reading about Human Trafficking can feel overwhelming. Human trafficking seems to reach into every avenue of our world. However, as consumers, we have the power to buy ethically sourced items. Most companies decisions are driven by sales, so there is power in purchasing wisely. How do we find ethically sourced items? Easy, look at our website. Alright, we appreciate the laughs, but while we have some great products we don’t have everything you need.

 

By the time a consumer buys something, chances are some part of it can be traced back through many hands giving us less understanding of the true background of that item. So a lot needs to change for us to truly shut down human trafficking, but we can do a lot with our purchasing power.

 

As consumers, we’re asking for transparency from the companies that we buy from. Luckily this is a movement that has been going on for a while and continues to grow. For many items, there are labels or sites we can check that have done research for us. While this is far from a comprehensive list, it’s a start to using our purchasing power.

 

Fair trade

What does fair trade actually mean? In sum, it’s the protection of the marginalized producers in developing countries. Items that carry the fair trade Logo must meet a set of international standards. These standards do vary slightly depending on the product, for more information check out the fair trade website below.

 

B Corp

B Lab is a nonprofit that awards businesses their mark of B Corporation based on an overall performance of transparency, legal responsibility, social and environmental impact. They look at the businesses ability to balance not only profit creation but world sustainability.

 

Jewelry

To find conflict-free and ethically sourced jewelry always ask where the piece is sourced from. Some countries are known for their strict standards (Canada, Russia, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Australia are some examples) where others have a reputation for poor human care. You can also ask to see the Systems of Warranties Statement.

 

Food

This is probably one of the most difficult and controversial topics of all. We’ll go over it in more depth later. For now, it’s good to keep in mind some of the same questions you might use when approaching other topics. Asking yourself where is it coming from? Who’s making this? And are they being transparent?

 

This is a start, not the end all. So any change by using your purchasing power is a success.

 

Sources:

http://www.fairtradeamerica.org/What-is-Fairtrade/Using-the-FAIRTRADE-Mark

https://bcorporation.net/about-b-corps

https://www.theknot.com/content/the-scoop-on-conflict-free-diamonds

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