I have felt a strong pull to write about the importance of ethical shopping. In this post I share my heart on the positive impact it can have on children enduring manual labour, how it affects the environment and how it is economically more beneficial for you. As well as tips + tricks for you to make a positive change.
What If I told you the jacket, jumper or coat that is keeping you warm this winter was made with literal blood, sweat and tears because a child was forced out of their rights to work in poor and hazardous conditions for wages that don’t cover living expenses and are sometimes even sexually abused just to make ends meet for their families. Would you still purchase that top or that skirt because It just fits so perfectly and it’s ‘cheap’ after knowing this information?
I remember sitting in a church service late 2017 back in Australia and being absolutely shocked and appalled by the number of human beings that endure poor treatment and working conditions DAILY.
As a lover and follower of Jesus this is an issue that should not and cannot be ignored.
Matthew 20:16 – ”So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
It is estimated 260 million children are in employment around the world. Of those 260 million, 170 million are engaged in child labour. The Definition of child labour is: “work for which the child is either too young – work done below the required minimum age – or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited”.
Although child labour statistics have decreased by 30% over the past 12 years and is actually forbidden in most countries, it is still such a prevalent issue among China, Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan.
It is estimated that 11% of children throughout the world are deprived of education due to the interference of work.
Children work at all stages of the supply chain in the fashion industry. They do the production of cotton seeds, harvesting, yarn spinning as well as putting garments together in factories.
In the cotton industry, children are employed to transfer pollen between plants. They are subjected to long working hours, they are at a risk of being exposed to pesticides and are often paid below the minimum wage.
In developing countries where cotton is one of the main crops, children help harvest. This means long hours of sowing cotton in the spring and weeding during summer.
Proverbs 31:9 – “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
These facts and statistics are crazy. Since becoming more aware of what happens in this industry I have become more conscious of what I purchase + how I purchase. I am going to share 3 main ways I have shaped to shopping more ethically.
Good on you app.
This is a free app you can download onto any of your devices. It is a guide to help you become more aware of how you shop. I am going to take you through step by step how this works.
The app will get you to sign in through your Facebook or your email.
Once you are signed in there is a white bar on the home page where you can type in your favourite brands. For example: I just typed in converse. It came up with 3 out of 5 dots and underneath it says: ‘It’s a start’.
Next, It gives you ratings in relation to labour, environment and animal testing.
Keep scrolling down and it gives you information based off those ratings.
It then gives you bands that sell similar products to converse but sit at a higher rating.
Lastly, it will give you related articles to read up on in relation to the brand/product you’ve typed in.
Such a simple and useful tool to help you on your way to a more ethical way of shopping.
Thrifting is a more sustainable way of shopping for people and the environment.
Each time you purchase a secondhand item of clothing you are actually helping the earth. Because of the recycle and reuse method this then helps to reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfill.
Thrifting supports charity and community. I have just recently moved to America and have been introduced to goodwill. Goodwill is an American nonprofit organisation that provides job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people who have barriers preventing them from otherwise obtaining a job.
It is cost-effective. Goodwill have .99cent day either once or twice a month. I have walked out of the store with nearly 20 items of clothing for less than $20. Compared to an outfit that can cost double that when shopping mainstream stores.
Make your own clothes.
I personally haven’t started this but it’s definitely something I plan on doing once I get a little more familiar with a sewing machine!
Making your own clothes, scarves, beanies and socks is so much more cost-effective and is also more fun + rewarding. You can tailor your pieces to your needs and ideas, you know exactly where the material is being sourced from and you aren’t giving any money towards potential child labour in the process.
I hope and pray this post encouraged you and stirred a little something in your heart to start small by making positive changes in regard to how you shop.
Obviously I’m not saying to go through all your clothes and throw out the ones that have bad/low ratings but it’s a step in the right direction to become more aware and more conscious of how you shop in the future.
Psalm 103:6 – “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”
r e f e r e n c e s :
Cotton fied image sourced from google.
Statistics sourced from: https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/