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

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.

176

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.
Lifestyle

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments