April 04, 2017
One of the regular questions we hear at The Human Thread is: “What can I do to buy better?” Generally, people are looking for a short and simple answer like “Don’t buy from this store, but buy from here” or “Don’t buy from this country, but buy from here” or “Use this handy guide” or “Buy only from second-hand shops.” Frankly, ethical purchasing is hard work, and there are no easy solutions.
Nonetheless, there are helpful tools. On this website, we occasionally share scorecards (like The Truth Behind the Barcode: Apparel Industry Trends) and fair trade guides for Milwaukee and Chicago. We share global evaluation’s like Know the Chain’s Apparel & Footwear Benchmark Findings Report. These guides, if the methodology was rigorous were valid during the research, but the passing of time naturally makes the data less accurate. We love Catholic Relief Services’ resource for Ethical Trade. (We have written more about it here.) Project Just has lots of great resources, including “Five questions to figure out which brands are legit.” Smart phones now have apps that help with ethical purchasing, like Good on You and Not My Style. If updated regularly, a cell phone app may provide more current data.
We’d love to hear from our readers about what you use to help guide your purchases. Feel free to post on the the thread in our Facebook page here: