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What can you do to become a more progressive shopper?

IMAGE VIA PROCLAIM

WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU

Put your money where your morals are.

In the wake of the latest Black Lives Matter resurgence, many Australians have only just realised the individual part they play in the systemic racism that pervades our country.

Brands have been called out, resources have been shared, petitions have kicked off, donations have been generously given. But looking at long-term change, many of us are starting to question our everyday purchasing decisions.

It can be difficult trying to figure out the moral and political standing of businesses, but we’ve collected a list of websites and apps that do the hard work for you. They’ve waded through a brand’s greenwashing techniques and empty social responsibility jargon to find out the truth, so you can align your economic decisions with your morals.

Prioritise second-hand 

Capitalism feeds off the desire for shiny new things. Instead of lining big corporations’ pockets, consider shopping second-hand first. Local op shops aren’t the only choice, there are a plethora of accessible options such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Depop, markets, clothing swaps and suitcase rummages. Especially for items such as clothing, accessories, homewares and books, there are plenty of preloved goods to go around. You’ll also be giving money directly into the hands of another person, not another faceless brand.

Progressive Shopper 

Donald Trump’s donor’s list being made publicly available has revealed a floodgate of donations that we as consumers may unknowingly be feeding into. Progressive Shopper is a Chrome extension that simplifies data from the US Federal Elections Commission about a brand’s contributions to political candidates. It breaks down companies and their employees’ donations to Democrats or Republicans, as well as other issues such as if they fund Fox News, the gun industry, anti-abortion politicians, private prisons and deforestation and fossil fuels. Etsy, Amazon, Revlon, Apple, Nike and Squarespace are some of the brands currently included.

Good On You

Good On You is a trailblazer in the ethical fashion game. Founded on Aussie soil, this app and website acknowledge that there are many aspects to ethics and sustainability. It rates brands based on their commitment to people, the planet and animals. This is done by auditing and evaluating information provided on their supply chain, policies and practices, as well as their use of resources, energy, water, chemicals and animal products. It’s easy to navigate and it’s supported by Emma Watson, so overall, it’s a big win-win situation.

Well Made Clothes

Serving as an ethical online marketplace, Well Made Clothes gather new and established brands all under one digital roof. To be included in its ranks, brands need to meet Well Made Clothes’ basic environmental and labour requirements as well as fulfil at least one of the eight values of being sustainable, fair, transparent, vegan, handcrafted, local, or having gender equality and minimal waste. With a huge range of women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, footwear and homewares, it’s a go-to destination for discovering new favourites.

Ethical Made Easy

As its name might suggest, Ethical Made Easy seek to simplify the process of navigating ethics and sustainability in fashion. Its three core values of transparency, freedom and integrity are highlighted across its fashion, skincare, accessories and beauty brands. It even goes a bit further than that – Ethical Made Easy also writes in-depth descriptions and often interviews founders to gain deeper insight. There’s also a nifty Journal with informative articles, like ‘Every question you’ve ever had about ethical fashion, answered’.

Market Forces

Market Forces dives into the often-dubious land of finance and aims to hold banks, superannuation funds and governments accountable. Since being launched in 2013, it has worked to expose companies who are funding environmentally damaging projects, particularly fossil fuels. There are simple ‘take action’ email templates asking banks to stop funding fossil fuels, thank them for not funding fossil fuels or requesting their position on fossil fuels if they have not disclosed.

Shop Ethical!

In Australia, there’s two major supermarkets that account for almost 80 per cent of supermarket sales. In comes Shop Ethical! – an app and downloadable pocket guide that seeks to inform Aussies about their everyday shopping habits. This comprehensive database has over 5,000 products ranging from food, personal care, pet products to electronics and more. There’s even a handy barcode scanner too. The pocket guide is $10 and the app is $5.99, available on iPhone and Android.

Blak Business and Tiddas 4 Tiddas

Financially supporting Blak creators is a sustainable way to help grow First Nations’ businesses. Run by a Koori woman, Blak Business is an online platform that collates useful information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, politics, voices and creators. Tiddas 4 Tiddas is another project run by two Kamilaroi sisters. As an Instagram page and newly launched podcast, it amplifies stores of what they dub as ‘Indigenous female excellence’ by showcasing vibrant Indigenous women and their successes and businesses.

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