"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
This article by Stop The Traffik (an anti-human trafficking organization based in the UK) flashed across my Facebook newsfeed this morning and I had to share. Funny thing is that ethical consumption has been a topic on my mind for the past few days.
Most of my friends know I’m a bit of a clothes monger and shoe addict. Fashion is a creative outlet for me and clothes become art. But more and more I’m convinced that to be a modern day abolitionist is more than just volunteering at the safe house I help with. It’s more than buying fairtrade coffee and chocolate. It’s more than wearing conflict-free diamonds on my finger. It’s going to have to represent those daily choices on how I spend my money.
There’s a great project called Free2Work that assess major retailers for labor abuses, worker’s rights, anything that can indicate if the products were produced under potential abusive situations. Lack of worker’s rights allows for the possibility of slave labor, child labor, and indentured agreements. They even look at working conditions, safety, etc.
Free2Work gives each company a grade based on this assessment and it’s been a handy tool for me as I look to purchase ethical products now. I know a lot of us are on tight budget. Heck, I just bought a home so I’m not exactly rolling in dough here! The cool thing is that ethical products don’t necessarily have to cost more. Gap and its subsidiaries all have an B grading from Free2Work. Hanes got an A. Skechers got a D grade. It’s an easy choice that can make a huge difference in so many lives.
So please read this, friends. Then check out Free2Work and find out how you can help!
In this series we’ve looked at a couple of arguments for being an ethically conscious consumer. Since this is my last day as Comms Intern and this is a subject close to my heart, I’ll return to it today, and address another common objection to consumer choice.
It’s not our problem
Where to start with this one? The reason that STOP THE TRAFFIK supports certification by organisations such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ is that it provides an important first step towards guaranteed traffik-free goods. In other words, we are moving into a world where people are not forced from their families and into farms, potentially suffering all manner of abuse.
“But wait!” you might say. “I don’t live in Côte d’Ivoire. I’ve never met this hypothetical person. They don’t affect my life in ways I notice.”
Yes and no. Look at what you wear. Look at what…
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