A Beginner’s Guide to Social Responsibility & Ethical Shopping

A Beginner’s Guide to Social Responsibility & Ethical Shopping

Social Responsibility has become more important as increased globalization to reduce costs of products in the Western world has resulted in cutting corners in areas of production. Over the years, several brands have been called out for human exploitation including child labor and sweatshops. Many companies, especially those using drop shipping, are not even aware of how their products are manufactured. Today, 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment and around 73 million of them, work in hazardous conditions. The world is changing and many larger brands are recognizing the importance of ethically sourced products, but we still have a long way to go.

Ethical shopping is not limited to anti-human exploitation as it is defined as purchasing items which have caused no harm or exploitation to humans, animals or the natural environment. Being aware of how your shopping habits can have an impact on the world around you is important to protect the world for future generations. Becoming a more socially conscious consumer may seem overwhelming but there are small steps that you can take lessen your impact on the planet. Vote with your dollar and purchase items that you believe have a positive impact and avoid (where possible), purchasing items that you know have a negative impact or are purely focused on driving profit.

  1. Decide which elements of social responsibility are important to you

Determine your personal priorities to guide your search. You may be more concerned about human exploitation, animal testing or the environment. You do not have to choose just one but taking small steps and determining your biggest concerns may help determine where you shop. Many brands still have a long way to go but choose brands you know are aiming to make a positive influence on the world and that support the causes you care about.

  1. Discover what the brand says about social responsibility

The best place to learn about any brand nowadays is on their website. Navigate to their ‘about’ section or FAQ page to learn more about the brand. Look out for anything related sustainability or social responsibility in this section as this determines whether it is something important to the brand. When a brand is clear about their practices, this implies that they are somewhere you can trust. Carthage has an about page which explains how we support our Tunisian employees. Take a look!

  1. Check for social responsibility certifications or memberships

There many organizations out there that certify ethical brands or products and some of them also offer membership to brands that keep to some principles. I want to make it clear that a brand can be ethical without being certified fair trade or a certified B-corporation but it is a good place to check!. If any of these organizations endorse a brand, you will find the certification on their website or logo. Another place to see this is their about section, footer or something similar.

  1. Ask for more information

Ask! It's as simple as that if you can't find the information you are looking for about a particular brand; send them an email, message them on social media or call them to ask. Brands who respond positively will give a clear indication of whether the brand is genuinely committed to the values you care about.

  1. Give yourself time to understand ethical shopping

As a beginner, doing your research can be overwhelming. Take the time to become familiar with the process and discover what small steps you can do to help. If each of us made one small change, it would exponentially make an impact. Choose particular brands you feel confident about and start there. Your purchases may not be perfect at first, but with time you will surely improve.

Carthage.co is focused on social responsibility. You can rest assured that our stoneware is ethically sourced, created, and imported from North Africa. We're proud to work with local manufacturers that employ and empower their communities with dignity and equity. Check out our products here.
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