Top Ten Things You Can Do To Better Your Ethical Footprint

1. Support Local Businesses

If you find yourself in a Starbucks every morning to buy that morning cup of coffee, consider making a stop at a nearby local coffee shop or a family-owned restaurant for that caffeine part of your daily routine. By supporting these local businesses, you are ensuring that they will able to stay afloat despite the larger chains such as Starbucks.

2. Boycott
There are some obvious companies that are unethical in the way they make their products. If you simply stop shopping at these places you will be decreasing the demand for a product that was made outside of the United States.  By making it a priority to shop at places that are ethical, you are actually encouraging those companies to stay that way. This will make it easier for them to continue their ethical ways and not resort to exploitation of labor. You can also try shopping at thrift stores. Even though the clothes might have come from unethical companies originally, by buying it from secondhand stores you are helping decrease the demand.

3. Educate Yourself

Learn some facts before you go shopping by doing research on sites such Know More and Responsible Purchasing Network.

4. Question Your Clothing

Ask retailers about where their closing was made and what the conditions were like in those factories. Even if they don’t know the answer, if enough people question their closing, it will generate interest.

5. Recycle

Just because something breaks does not mean you have to throw it out. If something is not usable anymore, try to find a new niche for it before getting rid of it. Get creative!

6. Only Buy What You Need

Just because something is a great deal does not necessarily mean you need to buy it. Excessive purchases waste money and only damage your ethical footprint.

7. Buy American

American products are not always as inexpensive as foreign made products, but you can almost be sure that the product you are buying was made for a fair wage by unionized labor.

8. Write Letters

Writing letters to your state representatives about the exploitation of labor in popular companies can help inform the leaders of the nation about these important issues. If Congress gets enough letters, there is a good possibility that something will be changed. In addition, you can write letters directly to the unethical companies themselves and inform them you are aware of what is going on and that you will refuse to shop at their stores. With enough letters, you will get the leaders thinking and it could result in some decrease of exploitation of labor.

9. Make it Your Mission

An interesting and extreme option to help the situation is to do mission or social work in the places that have a high percentage of exploited laborers. By coming to these countries to help the laborers with their daily lives and help teach them new skills, they could get out of their situations.

10. Organize Protests
Protesting against unethical companies is also an idea that will get them informed about how the public feels about the way they make their goods and possibly convince them to start changing their ways.

By: Kati Oberle, Joe Cancelliere, and Agata Jagusztyn.

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