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ethical shopping

Fashion, Life & Style

Give Something Back

Here’s a thought for your Wednesday – how do you personally define shopping ethically?  I’ve thought long and hard about this, and came up with no real, tangible or easy definition of ethical shopping.    You see, what one person might consider as shopping ethically may not be seen as ethical to another.  It very much depends on your priorities – whether they be environmental, where your purchase makes very limited impact on the natural world around us, or socially, where your purchases benefit the poorest or most vulnerable people in society.

Give Generation

I’ve found a new American site, called Give Generation, that aims to cater for all definitions of the term ‘ethical shopping’.  You see, Give Generation brings together all stores that give something back ethically, be it environmentally or socially.  You can select which cause is most important to you, from a list of 16, and then shop with stores that donate to or support your aligned causes or charities.  These causes range from human trafficking, orphan care, the empowerment of women, and suicide prevention; to causes such as clean water, hunger and health; to animal advocacy and environmental sustainability.

To test it out I searched for stores that benefit the environment and was presented with a long list of stores; from some that help with reforestation projects, to some that help with ocean conservation, to stores that use recycled or salvaged materials.  From a consumerist point of view, it’s certainly really useful to see where I can purchase things I need that can also make a positive difference, or at the very least off-set a little the true cost of an item’s impact on the earth during its manufacture.

ethical shopping

{some of the products on sale through Give Generation that give back in some way}

Giver Generation caters for all – women, men, kids, homes, and even pets; and to me it seems like a great way to empower shoppers to make socially and/or environmentally conscious purchases.  Unfortunately it’s not particularly UK friendly, but if you are a US Moral Fibres reader I would certainly recommend having a look.

Fashion, Life & Style

Ethical High Street Shops

ethical high street shops

ethical high street shops

Ever wondered how ethical and environmentally friendly our high-street shops are?  Ethical Consumer have put together an interactive table of ethical high street shops, rated on their environmental, ethical and political performance.  I’ve personally found that it is really useful when making decisions about where to shop.

I strongly believe that as consumers it’s our job to be as informed as we can, so I’ve found this table on ethical high street shops quite enlightening and surprising.

As far as ethical high street shops go, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that Sainsbury’s fairtrade clothing would be rated lower than Primark.  That is a huge surprise.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Sainsbury’s.

I also wouldn’t have guessed that John Lewis would be rated only 0.5 points above Primark.  Again, John Lewis is one of those shops that I would have expected more from.

And most surprising of all – that New Look would be one of the most ethical performers on the High Street.  And Bon Marche?  I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot in a Bon Marche shop but I feel that I should seek one out and take a look at their offerings.

Here’s the full rundown:

ethical high street shops

Were there any surprises here for you?

And what shops do you tend to visit on the high street?  I’m a fan of Marks and Spencer, Fat Face and White Stuff.  I feel a bit too old for New Look but I’m thinking maybe I should give it a second look.

PS: Found this post useful?  Since I initially put this post together I’ve written extensively about shopping ethically.  Here’s a guide on how to shop ethically, a guide to men’s ethical clothing companies, and a guide on how to shop ethically on a budget.  I’ve also got information on where to buy ethical sleepwear, ethical tights and socks and even men’s underwear and women’s underwear!