Are you concerned with remaining true to your ethical convictions when you shop? Some people are concerned about animal testing and other processes used in the development and manufacturing of consumer products. These are practices that some view as unethical, and it can be helpful to have some tips on how to keep your shopping trips ethical.
GM Foods (Genetically Modified Foods, or GMFs) are a concern for those who want to minimize their impact on the environment. GMFs are a new technology and much is left up to chance, in what amounts to an uncertain experiment with our food. Because labeling laws are dicey, look for foods that are labeled to be free of GMFs – unlabeled foods may or may not contain GMFs, including produce. If you have to guess, choose organic and/or locally grown foods that are far less likely to be genetically modified.
The suffering of laboratory animals is a source of concern for ethical shoppers. The cosmetics industry is most highly implicated in animal testing, so when you are shopping for beauty products, look for a “Cruelty Free” seal or other similar notation on the package.
Animal Cruelty on Farms
Try to purchase animal products such as meat, milk, cheese, and eggs from ethical farms. Look for free-range, grass-fed meats and free-range eggs. Even better, obtain animal products from local farmers whose practices you can observe directly.
Fair Trade Items
Clearly marked, Fair Trade items are produced with small, independent farmers in developing nations in mind. Fair Trade items are produced and manufactured under fair working conditions. Fair Trade also assures that farmers are receiving a fair price for their products.
Support Independent Businesses
Shopping at your local, non-chain (or small chain) stores supports your community. It also means you are investing in items that have not been shipped overseas or across the country.
Buy Second Hand
Buying second-hand items reduces waste, which is a significant part of ethical shopping. Barter, trade, and other means of swapping and obtaining goods are worth exploring.
Know Your Products
Do your research into the companies and corporations from which you buy your products. Find out if their business practices are ethical, and if the company does not line up with your beliefs, you can find an alternative to that item.
Bring Your Own Bag
Reduce the use of soft plastic by bringing your own reusable bag(s) on your shopping trip.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk reduces packaging, much of which is manufactured using synthetic materials and is a source of pollution.