Listed below are a few websites or research that we recommend for becoming an ethical consumer:
Baptist World Aid Australia
Behind the Barcode is the creation of Baptist World Aid Australia and is a series of industry reports seeking to empower consumers to purchase ethically, and by doing so, encourage companies to ensure workers are protected and not harmed, that they are rewarded, not exploited and that they work free from the tyranny of modern slavery. The guides’ grade 219 fashion brands and 100 electronics brands operating in Australia and around the world, and assess the systems they have in place to protect the workers in their supply chain from exploitation, forced labour and child labour.
Ethical Fashion Guide - April 2015
The Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical fashion guide, is produced in Australia but it includes numerous brands that are found here in New Zealand including Adidas, Berlei, Billabong, Bonds, City Chic, Cotton On, Country Road, Cue, Dotti, David Jones, Forever New, Glassons, Karen Walker, Jacqui E, Jay Jays, Just Jeans, Kathmandu, Kmart, Lee, Levi's, Lululemon, Mambo, Millers, New Balance, Nike, Peter Alexander, Reebok, Roxy, Skechers, Smiggle, Spalding, Supre, Sussan, The North Face, Typo, Valleygirl, Veronica Maine, Witchery and loads more! Click here to view this guide
Ethical Electronics Guide - February 2015
So does shopping ‘ethically’ really make much of a difference? This is what Behind The Barcode has to say:
"You would be amazed at the difference your purchasing decisions can make! Since the last edition of the Fashion Guide, two thirds of the companies we had engaged with in the 2013 Fashion Guide improved their labour management system, and 44 companies have engaged with us about what they’re doing to ensure that workers aren’t being exploited. The pressure arising from consumers and investors, and the increased awareness since the fatal Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, which saw over 1,100 workers lose their lives, has seen the industry take big strides forward. That means better jobs, and better protection for workers!"
Since the last edition of the Electronics Guide, 64% of companies have improved their ratings, with 9% of companies showing significant improvements.
These companies care about what you think of them, and of course they care about where you shop and why you’re shopping there. By using this guide and choosing to shop ethically, every dollar you spend sends a signal to companies about how you want them to act.
So yes, your advocacy and choice to purchase ethically is making a real and life-transforming difference for workers overseas!" Click here to view this guide
Make it Ethical
The people behind Make it Ethical have a very simple vision - to connect you with the many fabulous ethical traders out there!
From small-batch in-house production to organic cotton and living wages, right through to fair trade and beyond! Make it Ethical love ethical production and hope to show you how easy it is to buy better.
Check out http://www.makeitethical.com/
You re-shape the fashion industry – the lives of its producers, its workers – every time you buy or dispose of clothing.
You re-shape the fashion industry every time you find stories about your clothes, talk about them with others, share them online, and discuss what’s right and wrong about them. What you think, say and do changes fashion.
You hold the power to influence the kind of world you want live in and that you want for others. Your words and where you put your money matters. It sends a signal about what you believe in.
It just takes three simple steps...
- Be curious
- Find out
- Do something
Read the great actions in this downloadable booklet from The Fashion Revolution: How to be a Fashion Revolutionary
Ethical Consumer U.K
This is a great site to visit for all sorts of reasons. On a basic level, it is worth clicking on a few of their buyers guides to see if as a non-subscriber you can access information that helps you rank international brands. It is obviously not a New Zealand site so there are many brands not available in New Zealand but mentioned below are just a few of the numerous buyers guides available without a subscription that lets you see company rankings of a variety of products:
- Chocolate bars - including the well known M&Ms, Mars bar, Milky Way, Snickers, Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Kit Kat, Cadbury's chocolate, Crunchie, Flake, Picnic, Toblerone chocolate, Nestle Milkybar: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/food/chocolatebars.aspx
- Tea - including the well known brands Twinings and PG Tips tea: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/drink/tea.aspx
- Washing machines (and a range of other appliances) - including the well known brands Smeg, Haier, AEG, Electrolux, LG, Siemens, Bosch, Panasonic, Samsung and Russell Hobbs: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/appliances/washingmachines.aspx
- PC and video games - including the well known brands Sega, Nintendo, eBay, Playstation.com, Apple, Google Play, Xbox.com, and Amazon: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/audiovisual/pcvideogamesretailers.aspx
- One of these reports on tea looks at a the question of whether there is any difference between ethical labels, and which labels are most deserving of your support: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/tea-industry-report/teacertifications.aspx
- Others look at what has changed in the fashion industry since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, which really has spurred a raft of action by international fashion brands: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/fashionindustry/aftermathofranaplaza.aspx
By signing up and becoming a subscriber you can understand the detail that goes into rating the companies which gives you more power to make your own comparisons based on your own ethical priorities.
Still on Ethical Consumer UK, there are numerous free reports available on industries such as the fashion industry, palm oil, supermarkets, home appliances, tea, the internet and so many more you could easily spend all day reading them!
Ethical Consumer UK has a comprehension section on boycotts including information on over 60 current boycotts (the biggest of these is the Amazon boycott) and empoweringly an article on recent successful boycotts. http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts.aspx
Corporate Critic is a product of the Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) in the U.K. Corporate Critic indexes and rates the Corporate Social Responsibility records of over 25,000 companies, using primarily civil society data.
ECRA was founded in 1988 as a not-for-profit workers' co-operative to 'provide information on the companies behind the brand names and to promote the ethical use of consumer power.'
Slow style vs fast fashion
"As clothing prices have plummeted over the last ten years, we’ve bought more than ever before but typically spent far less on any one item. The nation’s wardrobes are bulging but these cheap new clothes may have come at a cost that’s far greater than what’s paid at the till.”
Good Magazine took a look at the dark side of the fashion industry and uncover some secrets of enduring style that will help you reduce what you buy and be more conscious about what you do buy:
- Plant your wardrobe with style perennials
- Learn to splurge strategically
- Flirt with trends – one at a time
- Head off the beaten shopping trail
- Learn the tricks of repurposing old favourites
- Support retailers who embrace the slow fashion ethos
Other interesting links to check out:
Five things to read about... modern slavery: "Modern slavery is a resilient, complex scourge that blights almost every country on earth. Although there are no easy or quick fixes for the global problem, small acts can make a difference to individual victims.”