Tag Archives: consumerchoices

HOLIDAY GIFTS with GRATITUDE

A radical new shopping platform – TOMS…

By opening up to new ways of giving, we can address a whole new world of needs. After all, if you want to create change, you have to be open to change yourself. Join us, and let’s do even more good together.

Toms Marketplace a New Way to Shop

Toms is sharing a new website with 30 other social entrepreneurs showcasing over 200 products for ethical business.

Do you holiday shopping on one website this year! There is everything from bicycles to beads! This is a great idea to help showcase products that are produced with sustainable intentions. The products available give back in different ways. Some of the companies provide improved livelihoods and economic opportunity to individuals who otherwise might not find employment. Other companies use a portion of their proceeds to support:

  • Children
  • Education
  • Fight Hunger
  • Reforestation
  • Job Creation
  • Health
  • Water

One thing they all have in common is the belief that everyday purchases can create positive change!

Another great way to insure that the products that you buy are produced with ethical business standards is to buy from your local business.  You can ask the shop employees/owners about their inventory and policies regarding the products they sell.

Just recently I visited a local merchant, Zens. I found a beautiful assortment of hand crafted jewelry and native designs. I asked the owner about the wonderful selection of scarves. She reported that the designers that she buys from are very interested in safe working conditions and no child labor. So, don’t be afraid to ask about the products before you make a purchase. Dare to care!

Make some changes in our Christmas/Holiday shopping and buy products that support a positive influence in other lives and communities!

Check out the link above for easy holiday shopping!

Helping farmers reduce the work load.

Fair Trade Coffee Corporate Social Responsibility

Week 1b of 4 – Corporate Social Responsibility Leaders

Nespresso AAA Ecolaboration was launched in 2009.

Working with all levels of the Value Chain, Nespresso will focus on education of the local famers as one of their priorities.  One small step from a  corporate giant can have a huge and powerful impact on the lives of the famers that they work in the coffee fields in Guatemala.

You can read more about one of the farmers that has participated in the Nespresso AAA program. He has learned more efficient methods of farming thus reducing time and removing child labor from his fields.

Read more about Louis Alfonso, Coffee Farmer, Jardin, Columbia.

Short-Term VS Long-Term

kirbyskidsforfish

There are a magnitude of inspirations and causes to focus on for topics of Fair Trade.  But the children that are drawn into the endless cycle of poverty are the most heart wrenching.

Short term vs. long term. We are a generation of quick fixes. How can we slow down and take a deep breath and look at where we are today and ponder about change for the future?

Education in the western world is a luxury. I know that I have never considered life in my community without the readily available opportunity of a basic education.   There is a plethora of social and economical benefits of an educated population. Can you imagine where we would be without education? No, seriously, close you eyes and try to image what your life would be like if you, your mother and or father never had an opportunity to go to school past the third grade. Do you see your self in a different neighborhood, a different house, eating different food? Personally, it is very terrifying to image.

While living in Houston, I met a man that is genuinely devoted to helping the underprivileged of the world. I have followed his pictorial journey on Instagram, Facebook and his website.  He posts pictures of the children and women around the world that he works with to help make a change in their lives. I could go on for hours, but yesterday I read his latest post on Facebook and was moved by his initiative.

“If I told you you could give $X and it would get him enrolled in school next week, there would be an outpouring of support to rescue him, which would be great. But if I announced we can start a small business for $Y that in six months will not only rescue him, but keep him enrolled in school for 10 years, most would hesitate to give toward that. Why? Sadly, we’ve been so conditioned for immediate results that we don’t have the patience for long-term solutions. Yes, by all means we should respond to critical needs when we believe it can make a difference. But I challenge you to look at the bigger picture with your charitable giving. Learn more about our vision to successfully sustain our children’s outreach in his colony in a long-term, empowering fashion, and please join us by raising awareness and/or giving toward our goal: http://tr.im/46wjl Thank you!” -Kirby Trapolino

-Together we can do so much…

There’s an APP for that! ATTITUDE – BEHAVIOR

apppicA passion for change…”Where did I get this idea?” It all started about a year ago on a hot and muggy late summer morning in Bellaire, TX. My husband and I attended a Sunday church service(www.cpointchurch.org) .  The pastor was enjoying time off with his family before the school year kicked back into gear and we had an unexpected message from one of the assistant pastors.  His message was jolting and unexpected. He crossed a line that we were not prepared to consider.  His message was simple and informative. There’s  a powerful current of consumerism in the western world that directly affects the plight of the third world countries. Yes, our every day mindless habits(purchases) can adversely effect the lives of other people.  Wait a minute, did he just say that? What is he talking about? We are good considerate and compassionate citizens!  We are sitting in the pews!  What did we do???

I think it’s more about, what we don’t do!  We get into a rut.  We get comfortable in our daily, weekly and monthly routines.  We find a breakfast cereal that we like and we buy it again. We find a route to work that is fast and comfortable so we drive it everyday. We need our coffee/chocolate and we buy it! We like routines and we like comfort.  Of course we do!  There’s nothing wrong with that. But what we don’t think about is life beyond “our little world.”  I am so guilty of this!  I am so wrapped up in my life that I never consider the other side of the equation.  The consumer supply chain is a complex system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from the producer to the consumer.  This structure is something that I would like to investigate further in the future. But, lets stay on this subject a little bit longer-Chocolate! For example chocolate is one of the products that we all enjoy and is severely affected by the challenges of Fair Trade.

After days and weeks of haunting thoughts about how my “worldly” comforts and purchases have devastating affects on other human life, I started doing some research.  I was quickly drawn into the idea that there is a movement to help focus on Fair Trade. We can make a difference, one purchase at a time.  As the consumer, we can choose to purchase a Fair Trade product over another product.  We the people, can make a difference in the way that companies  choose to do business! It is a very simple process.  We change our buying priorities and the companies will change theirs.  We do have the power($$$) to alter the supply chain.

To be aware of the alternatives and pay attention is the first step for change! Most people want to consider themselves as thoughtful, considerate and generous. I would say that for the most part we are, as long as we are aware of how our actions are contributing to others around us. But this is where it gets tricky… not all of our actions are in the best interest for the lives that we don’t see!  Our intentions are good but our actions are devastating for someone else. For example, this spring, several American companies were involved with unsafe working conditions that lead to the death of hundreds of workers in Bangledesh. “Companies are looking for the cheapest possible places to produce their goods, and they’re not asking, why are these places so inexpensive?” Bader-Blau said.  Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/04/30/Retailers-face-new-calls-for-change-following-factory-collapse/5581367358338/#ixzz2Y9lCSu5R  Change can be tough. I agree!  But if we are aware of the choices that are available it can become easier.

And, yes, there is an APP for that!  The good people at Not For Sale (http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/news/2012/04/30/from-free2work-the-attitude-behavior-gap/) have made an app, Free2work for all smartphones!  I have downloaded the app and love to scan the barcodes of my favorite  products!  Although, I have been crushed to find some of my favorite products are some of the worst perpetrators!  There is an option to send feedback to the producers of the APP to help make improvements.  I strongly encourage you to try it and give active feedback to help us all develop a stronger tool for change!

 

Please let me know what you think of this app and if you have any experience with any other similar tools.  I know there are some similar ones out there, but this one is pretty solid.  What do you think?