Ethical consumerism is important for many people who want to know that not only is something they are buying good quality, but that the people responsible for producing it are treated and paid fairly for doing so. It isn’t nice getting dressed in the morning knowing that your “bargain” dress was made by someone not much older than your children, who will never have the opportunities that we take for granted.
Unfortunately the amount we pay for an item does not equate to the conditions in which it is made. Take the recent allegations that Beyoncé’s “Ivy Park” clothing collection is produced in Sri Lankan sweatshops. Bey isn’t the only big name to be embroiled in a sweatshop scandal – labels like Nike, H&M, Disney, and Gap have all been linked to manufacturers in developing countries who are alleged to exploit their workers.
Thankfully not all manufacturers are out to make a quick buck at the expense of their employees. Australia has some fantastic companies who produce great quality items while sticking to their belief that workers deserve safe conditions and fair pay. This list isn’t definitive but it will help you if you want to be more ethical with your choices.
Ariella makes gorgeous clothing for children and adults, with all their Australian made items being manufactured in accordance with the Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accreditation body. Other labels with ECA accreditation include Otto & Spike, Jeanswest’s Homespun Tee Collection, RM Williams, and Scanlan Theodore.
You’re not short of ethical options when it comes to eating and drinking in Brisbane! The Standard Market Company in James St is a fantastic example, as are Brisbane Brewing, Mondo Organics, and the Northey Street City Farm.
Method don’t just make great cleaning products, they live and breathe their ethical ethos in the way their offices are designed and run, in their manufacturing processes, and in the way they give their employees three days a year to do their choice of community service.
National Australia Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank were the only two Australian companies on the 2016 Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies list, receiving recognition for actively encouraging their employees to make a difference in their communities, as well as their sustainability initiatives.
Biome stocks Fairtrade and ecologically sound products both in store and online. Reverse Garbage in Woolloongabba can be tricky to find but is worth the effort for the cache of goodies ranging from fabric and carpet off cuts to mosaic tiles and foam shapes. It is perfect if you run a kindy or toddler group, while their gift shop is ideal for unique pressies. Justice Products has been quietly but consistently doing their bit with a wide choice of items from pants to honey on Boundary Street in West End.
You don’t have to change your shopping preferences overnight but by becoming more aware about where and how things you buy are manufactured you can help improve the conditions of others with conscientious decisions.