Jane Mosbacher Morris, entrepreneur and author of Buy The Change: Use Your Purchasing Power To Make The World A Better Place, has a challenge for consumers.
Are you ready to make informed decisions about where you spend your money, to vote with your dollars?
Morris spoke with Forbes to break down how everyone can vote with their wallets, especially when it comes to supporting companies that treat their workers well. And it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Morris: Today’s growing supply chain transparency really empowers us to find out if the human beings who sewed those jeans or picked those tomatoes were employed ethically, or not.
I’m really excited about a new online tool called Sourcemap that lets you trace the origin and trade route of many of the products and brands we all use. Labels like “Union Made” or “Fair Trade” are also strong indicators that workers are being compensated fairly and working in a safe environment.
Forbes: What are potential downsides to our shifting our buying behaviors in search of doing good with our dollars?
Morris: Just like eating healthier, like consuming fewer calories or less sugar, it can take more time to read what has gone into the creation of a product. It might also mean uncovering something only one we might have supported previously. Then it takes conviction to say, ‘I love this shirt, but I don’t feel comfortable with how it’s made, so I won’t buy it!’
It can be time-consuming to figure out who made what! It’s worth it, but it’s a habit shift. I think of it like eating healthier. With ethical purchasing, it can take time to look at labels, to put down something with an unclear origin and keep looking for a better choice.
Morris adds that consumers can overcome “decision fatigue” by remembering that you can’t investigate every single thing you buy.
“It’s important to think in terms of manageable micro-changes,” she explained. One way to start is to pick one product that you will commit to buying ethically.
“Coffee is a really easy place to start, since coffee has far more robust supply chain transparency than fashion. You can order coffee from Equal Exchange, one of the oldest Fair Trade roasters in the country. You can look for Fair Trade or UTZ certification labels on the bags or cans at the grocery store.”