An Urge To Shop Smarter And 'Vote With Your Wallet'
Start writing a post

An Urge To Shop Smarter And 'Vote With Your Wallet'

We may live in a capitalist society, but we have a joint power as consumers to become a sustainable society.

An Urge To Shop Smarter And 'Vote With Your Wallet'

Have you ever heard the phrase "voting with your wallet?" The idea is to use the power that you, as a consumer, have in influencing big brands. Whether it be clothing, food, or beauty products, there are many brands with ethically sourced ingredients or materials that are worth supporting with your money. Otherwise, why should we be giving big brands our money if we don't agree with the way they run their companies? For example, a clothing brand like Forever 21 does not communicate information about its environmental policies, and its labor sourcing is poorly rated in terms of paying its workers living wage and empowering employees. Still, it's a popular brand, and its cheap, fashionable clothes tend to draw in customers without a second thought.

In reality, though, it is essential that we take a look into the economics behind some of our favorite brands. It is most likely cheaper for a company such as Forever 21 to outsource labor and pollute the environment with dyes and chemicals than for them to pay their workers a living wage and pay for responsible disposal of toxic materials. Unfortunately, an overabundance of companies get away with going the cheap route despite their practices being unethical or environmentally unsound. That may seem depressing and irreversible, but I can assure you that we can shift these practices to be more moral.

Imagine if half of the consumers of a product decided to stop supporting a brand because of an aversion to their unethical practices. That brand would then be losing 50% of their profit, and thus be losing their incentive to source unsustainable and ethical producers purely because of economic savings. It's that easy — our capitalist society is only concerned about financial profit, so companies are easily persuaded to reform their practices once they begin to lose income.

Check out the film "The True Cost," it can be found on Netflix. It's an incredible documentary depicting the detriments of fast fashion and Americans' tendencies to overlook the bad for a cheap fast-fashion solution. This film seriously had me doubting every purchase I've ever made. Since I first saw it, I downloaded the app "Good On You," a convenient collection of brand ratings based on their concern for ethical usage of labor, environment, and animals. When my Instagram ads suggest a new brand to me, I won't even glance at their website without consulting Good On You!

Furthermore, there are additional apps and websites, such as Better World Shopper, that rate those factors and more! Better World Shopper evaluates a brand's concern for human rights, environment, and animal rights, but also rates community involvement and social justice, including a company's sourcing of illegal products and practices such as labor trafficking. These ratings correspond to where a product comes from — what is its environmental impact and who has been taken advantage of to make this product available to you? When it comes to voting with your wallet, you want to support the companies who value the same things you do.

Lately, I've noticed an increase in public awareness about the importance of shopping sustainably. There are many factors that go into smart shopping, but it is not about buying the most expensive items. Although the pricier, more well-known brands often make products that are likely to hold up better and last you longer, those products may not have been ethically produced. I realize that it isn't always possible to access or afford products that have been created with morals in mind, but I urge everyone who is able to purchase the most ethical products that are available to them.

So, to close, I wanted to acknowledge Emma Watson's recent support of the app Good On You and her frequent support of wonderful environmental and feminist organizations. She said, "As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy." Be a more conscious consumer. Shop smarter. Vote with your wallet. Support local brands and companies that share your values. Let's change the world one purchase at a time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments