Socially-Conscious Holiday Shopping

Hello loyal blog readers! In order to make it easier for all of you to keep up with The Goodness Geek, I’ve decided I would like to get on a dedicated blogging schedule. I am planning to post updates by 8am (or hopefully sooner) every Tuesday morning from this point forward. If I don’t, please feel free to (gently) harass me until I do.

Now that it’s officially mid-December, many of us are scrambling to get our last-minute Holiday shopping done – I know I am. And, in doing so, I know many of you are trying to avoid buying gifts that are harmful to our social, economic, and literal environment. This is a particularly challenging task when so many companies show blatant disregard for worker’s rightsconsumer privacy, and cultural sensitivity. Here are some tips for shopping with a conscience this Holiday season:

1) Shop local. Supporting local businesses not only helps boost the economy in your community and make it easier for new companies to flourish, it is also better for the environment by minimizing the energy consumption associated with shipping good across long distances – a win-win! Look for small-shop businesses in your community (or in the community of the person you are gifting for) and help keep our marketplace as diverse as we are.

2) Shop fair trade and other ethically produced goods. It’s hard to buy items and gifts not knowing what their potential social and environmental impact could be. Luckily, companies like Fair Trade International and Rainforest Alliance evaluate which products are produced with ethical worker conditions and environmental standards at heart. Look for their symbols on packaging to verify that a company meets their ethical standards. I also recently discovered GoodGuide.com – a website and App with a pretty great and easy to use system for checking out a product or company’s impact. They have a broad product and company database, and evaluate products’ health concerns as well as their social and environmental impact.

3) Get crafty. If you have any interests and/or skills in crafting, you have the power to make gifts that are incredibly personal and meaningful for your friends without having to worry about environmental impact. Why not use your powers for good? Don’t have any crafting skills? Let the fine craftspeople at Etsy do the work for you! Etsy is a certified B-Corp (corporation with a social mission), and enables you to buy directly from artists and other crafty folk, helping independent artists stay in business.

4) Shop charitably. Lots of businesses have made a point to donate a percentage or portion of their income to charity. There are many examples of businesses that have adopted this fantastic practice, but a great example is Sevenly – a company which donates $7 of every purchase directly to charity.

Do you have a favorite ethical shopping website? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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