The Ethics of Shopping

Spring has arrived and with the flowers blooming and the sun shining aren’t we all thinking about what we want to buy for the summer? I sure am. This time of year I always want to pack away the jumpers and get myself pretty and colourful new clothes for summer. This year, my approach is a little different. After a year of travelling and living out of a bag, and another year of living in one room with limited space, plus carefully considering the ethics of shopping, I am a little slower to purchasing new items.

The ethics of buying and selling is a hot topic right now and I think it’s a wonderful thing. It is so easy, however, to feel totally overwhelmed, ill equipped and frustrated at knowing where to start and why it matters. I’ve put together a small series from some wonderful guests bloggers to help you out. These women in their own ways are making big and small changes to the way they buy, sell, create and do business so that our planet and more importantly, humanity benefits.

Last summer I read a life chaining little book, written over 30 years ago. The Celebration of Discipline written by Richard Foster has one very challenging chapter that really stood out to me - Simplicity. Foster challenges the reader to ‘reject anything that breeds the oppression of others’.  A powerful sentence. Whilst this can be applied to a huge variety of lifestyle choices, he writes particularly about what we buy. Food, clothing and possessions.

I believe that as human beings we have a responsibility to steward both the world we live in, and to live in a way which means we are contributing to the lives of our fellow humans positively. This can be so difficult and I do not have this down to a tee. Not at all. But, I am trying to make small changes because that I can do, and you can too.

I actually do care about the farmer and the workers that pick the cotton and create the fabric of the clothing we wear. I have bought it and therefore have some responsibility and now ownership about how those workers are paid and treated. It is actually empowering and liberating to realise this and to make powerful choices in my daily life that benefits others and not just myself. Yes my wardrobe is a little smaller, I say not to more, It’s a little harder to source items but living simply and carefully has never been a bad thing.

What I have found is that it takes time to know where to buy things and one step at a time is good. We cannot overhaul our whole lives at once, I think it would be impossible and our bank balance wouldn’t thank us. Small baby steps is what I have found helpful. One item at a time when it needs replacing. And let me say I don’t do this all the time either, when I can, I try.

There is so much we could say about this, about how good it is to support small and independent businesses, how fast fashion is detrimental to the planet and people, it’s a big topic but let’s start small.

I’ve put together a little list for you that may help with places to source things that I have found and those that you guys gave me tips about!! This list includes planet friendly, healthy and ethical places to shop!

It’s somewhere to start. Good luck on your journey. Let me stress: There is no shame here, no guilt or condemnation. This isn’t about superiority but about consideration, thoughtfulness and making a positive impact on this precious world and the people in it. I hope you enjoy the series and feel empowered and inspired over the next few weeks!

Food and Household

  • Locally sourced veg boxes 

  • Fair-trade where possible

  • Local Farm shops

  • Bulk buy - local pay and weigh (sadly these seem quite rare - bonus you can take your own containers and avoid plastic)

  • Branch basics - non toxic cleaning products: https://branchbasics.com

  • Peace with the wild - eco friendly and plastic free: https://www.peacewiththewild.co.uk

  • Ocean Saver - plastic free: https://www.ocean-saver.com

  • Who gives a crap - planet friendly loo roll!! https://uk.whogivesacrap.org

  • Boobalou - eco living: https://www.boobalou.co.uk

  • Rise and Fall - ethically made bedding: https://riseandfall.co

  • The Whole Food Diary - Instagram and website for inspiration on food and lifestyle swaps - https://thewholefooddiary.com/about/

Jewellery 

  • Voice International: http://www.voiceinternational.org.uk

  • Lines and Current: https://linesandcurrent.com

  • Epanoui lifestyle: https://epanoui.co.uk

Clothing 

  • Charity shops - Ok I know this is boring but they are the BEST!! I have found some serious gems shopping this way.

  • Know The Origin: https://knowtheorigin.com

  • Lucy and Yak: https://lucyandyak.com

  • Vinted - second hand clothing: https://www.vinted.co.uk

  • Manifesto Women: https://manifestowoman.com

Disclaimer: I haven’t tried all of these shops, lots of these have been recommended to me and I hope to work my way through them! Please do tell me of other places you know off! Let’s share the knowledge!