Canadians explore ethical shopping
NC — Shopping ethically can be difficult when the price for everything from coffee to gasoline to groceries has gone up and you just want the best deal. But there may be a reason why certain items like chocolate, clothing, and handbags are so inexpensive. Some countries subject children to inhumane practices in order to make a profit. By purchasing these items, you are supporting child labour practices and helping these businesses stay afloat.
Here are some simple steps consumers can take to think ethically and make small changes in the world:
• Buy products that are Fair Trade Certified like chocolate, coffee, and jewellery. Fair Trade is an international monitoring and certification system that: guarantees producers in developing countries are paid fair wages, prohibits abusive child labour, and promotes environmental sustainability. Look for the fair trade symbol and take comfort in knowing that the items you are purchasing will encourage just practices.
• Send a letter to a store where you regularly shop, asking if their products are made without the exploitation of labourers, and how they know. When customers care about ethical practices, stores start to care about producers.
• Get involved with organizations that help stop child labour like Christian Children's Fund of Canada which ensures that children go to school in developing countries so they cannot be exploited and abused (www.ccfcanada.ca).
• Monitor your investments. Ask how your investments can be more ethical. Tell your investor you do not want to invest in companies that exploit children.
• Research how clothing is assembled. Make sure the clothing you buy is not produced in sweatshops or through child labour.
Take these small steps of action to stop injustice. By becoming an ethical shopper, you will be taking a stand for oppressed and mistreated workers of all ages in developing countries.