The ethical shopper is one who thinks about the social impact of the products they buy. They consider the environmental, social and economic consequences of the products, processes and brands they essentially invest in. Does the company have a good track record for how the treat employees (especially in developing countries)? Does the company use sustainable materials and processes? Does the company endorse fair trade and create positive social impacts in the areas they operate in? These are amongst the list of questions an ethical shopper might consider.

Sounds complex? It doesn’t have to be. At Shopanthropic, we want to make it easier for any mainstream consumer (i.e. those who may not be inclined to purchase ethical or fair trade products) to become a socially-conscious shopper. That being said, we created a “creed” for the ethical shopper. Ten simple concepts that any shopper can follow to lead more sustainable lives through their purchasing decisions:

  1. Thou shalt ask questions and educate oneself in order to make informed purchases
  2. Thou shalt purchase from brands that advocate for social change
  3. Thou shalt purchase products that have a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the communities and companies involved in their production
  4. Thou shalt use one’s purchasing power as a “vote” to encourage all companies to adopt ethical producing practices
  5. Thou shalt purchase fair trade products, while being educated on the value of fair trade
  6. Thou shalt support small companies  who are providing quality products to consumers (essentially helping them build brands and a movement)
  7. Thou shalt support companies who treat their employees fairly and responsibly
  8. Thou shalt not sacrificed quality and fashion for ethical products but find companies that cater to both
  9. Thou shalt support not-profits and organizations who encourage social enterprise and social finance
  10. Thou shalt tell friends about great ethical and fair trade finds one discovers

There you go: ten principles that any shopper can follow in order to make informed and ethical purchasing decisions. All it takes is a mixture of education and research, in order to find the growing number of companies in the ethical and fair trade space. Also, don’t forget to never sacrifice style and quality in your hunt for socially-conscious deals.

Last, a key part of the ethical movement is to the need to develop it further. So share your discoveries with your colleagues and friends (including this article!) and transform others into ethical shoppers too!