We don’t mean for this question to be an insult, but we want people, especially those who are organising social justice/sustainability events to reflect on some of their choices. Sometimes there’s a lack of thought that goes into these events, and we are starting to believe it’s less about fighting for values and more about fighting for a social image. Many social rallies are developing a hypocrisy in the ways they coordinate events. Have you ever wondered if your Monsanto protests are catered with their food? Or if the sponsors of your poverty awareness campaign hire underpaid labor? You probably haven’t, and that’s okay. Our moral highroads constantly hit lows completely unintentionally. Collectively we need to recognize our oversights and stop fighting only half a battle.
An Etiko Story
About a year ago we were approached by a teacher who was working with a group of students putting together a social justice event. Our company’s values and the purpose of their event aligned perfectly so we were excited to collab with their vision. Simply put, they wanted ethically made shirts for their ethically focused event. In our opinion this is the only way it should be but the students inevitability fell for the oldest marketing trick in the book…
Long story short, the students chose another ‘ethical’ brand. Choosing another brand is not the problem, falling for marketing tricks is. This brand was not fairtrade, not sustainable, not locally manufactured but the students believed it was. Why? Well, because marketing works and we are prone to fall for tricks. Font colour changes to green, adding small leaves around the website, slogans that make companies seem sympathetic but are just ambiguous taglines. Tricks. Tricks that help vanity shoppers justify their purchases. The same people that desire praise for shopping ethically but don’t actually care whether it’s ethical or not. #lookatme #icare
At the end of the day it was just another clothing company using unethically sourced labour to supply a social justice event. Ironic. These students were sold on the basis the company was ‘improving.’ A truly dedicated company will make it their sole goal to accomplish their ethical responsibilities.Search brands website for their ethical practices. Do not be sold on a few buzz words within their site.
Pay Closer Attention.
It’s really hard to be ethically sourced fairtrade. Like, really hard. Companies constantly throw words around to trick consumers but we need to pay closer attention to where our dollars go. Oddly enough, the biggest challenge for Etiko hasn’t been developing a genuinely eco/ethical supply chain, it has been getting people to actually shop their values.
When there are two companies… one totally focused on creating a fairer more just world and the other is basically a fast fashion brand… why would you go with the second option? We don’t mean to seem bitter but we constantly hear the same counter arguments that are just not true. For example: higher price. Etiko prices are often identical and in some cases cheaper than our non fair trade competitors but shoppers hold the misconception fairtrade will always be more expensive. When comparing products of similar quality, this is sometimes true… but the cost of being ethical can be higher.
At the end of the day, our dollar is our vote. When people or organizations purchase from unjust companies they are only ensuring more companies behave unfairly. When social justice events are organized to promote ethical treatment of people or our environment, we need to stop acting like hypocrites and ensure we support what we care about.