People around the world are more connected than ever before through commerce, information technology, transportation, and media. Because of this reality, our personal consumption is a justice issue. What we buy, and how much, either supports or rejects global systems that oppress people. Shopping ends up being a lot like voting in that we choose where to put our money. If enough people refuse to buy something on ethical grounds, firms respond to shifting demand by creating different products that people will buy. If we maintain the same buying patterns, we give businesses no reason to change their unjust practices. In fact, our demand helps perpetuate them.
Books and Readings on Just Consumption
- Laura Hartman, The Christian Consumer: Living Faithfully in a Fragile World. 2011
- Julie Clawson, Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of our Daily Choices. 2009
- Tania Lewis, Emily Potter, Editors. Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction. 2010
- Fred Pearce, Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff. 2008
- Whitney Bauck, “7 Steps Toward Ethical Consumerism,” March 20, 2015.
Buying Guides for More Just Consumption
- Better World Shopper, a website, book, and app that grades companies on social and environmental responsibility.
- GoodGuide, a website and app that rates products for their health, environment, and social impact.
- Conscious Consumer Shopping Guide, a guide from the Center for a New American Dream that provides information so you can make just, sustainable, and durable purchases.
- Leslie Garrett, The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World. 2007
- Micah Challenge USA: Ethical Shopping Guide, links to ethical companies arranged by category
- The Art of Simple Ethical Shopping Guide, another selection of links to ethical companies arranged by category
- A Church’s Guide to Ethical Purchasing, A guide published by World Vision