We are now in the thick of Autumn, which means of course: changes!
New seasons bring new celebrations, new holidays, and new trends.
“What coat is in style for fall right now?” “What’s everyone wearing for Halloween?” “And how do I get everything for cheap?!”
Trends are coming in and out of style faster than ever before. With the rise of social media, as quickly as something trends (fashion, makeup, a household product, etc.), it seems that it goes out of style just as fast. Consumers want what’s “in” right now, and they want it for cheap. Wondering how these companies keep up with this fickle demand?
Unfortunately, it’s with unethical manufacturing products.
Manufacturing is the process of making something (products) on a large-scale basis using machinery. Ethical Manufacturing is making sure that this process is done in a sustainable and socially responsible process. It would be nice to think that all companies produce their products with a strong moral compass. But to produce products on a large scale in an ethical matter costs money. Money that none of these companies want to pay.
Examples of Unethical manufacturing?
Well, this can be done in a variety of ways. Examples include companies having sweat shops/using unethical forms of labour, using low quality and harmful ingredients/materials, incorrect or misleading labels and misleading advertisements and more.
These companies know what they are doing is wrong, and often mislead with greenwashing tactics to try to convince consumers to not look too much into how their companies work. Check out our blog on what is greenwashing and why do we care? for more.
It’s important to look at the bigger picture with this. Living in North America, we can often centre ourselves and the values of our communities on this side of the world without understanding that any unethical/unsustainable form of manufacturing that’s happening anywhere in the world will inevitably affect us here.
Think to yourself: If you won’t purchase clothing from a sweat shop in Canada, why are you more prone to buy from these shops across the world? Because it seems far away. This is how companies can sweep these practices under the rug.
...as the consumers we have agency in where our money goes.
Different and more environmental laws in other countries allow companies to have cheap labor but also bypass some of the stringent requirements that make operating in Canada more expensive. Also, the practice of operating overseas allow these companies to lack overseas accountability. Even though they import to Canada, it can be much easier to get away with violating lows and standards in a country on the other side of the world. This is the reason many companies shift their manufacturing practices to other countries. However, as the consumers we have agency in where our money goes. If we shift to investing in companies that produce more ethically, this demand will push for more ethical practices and transparency on environmental impact on other companies.
Choosing with your wallet means a lot. It means policy changes overall; companies changing their standards, bettering the environment and our own well-being. So, before your next shopping trip, take a minute to look at the tags on your products, check out the company’s website, and be sure of where exactly your money is going.