That really is the question. I came across a very interesting little book at the library the other day and as I was reading it, I started to really think about how I spend my money. Like most people, I do not have endless supplies of cash. I shop for bargains, I use coupons, I figure out how much I'm getting for the dollars I spend on an item. Generally I buy what is going to give me the most for my money. As I said in a previous post - it's not easy to spend less and shop more responsibly. In fact I heard a news story the other day that said that one of the reasons that people are getting fatter is that bad food costs less.
This little book "the better world shopping guide" by Ellis Jones (New Society Publishers) rates different companies based not only on how environmentally responsible they are - but also their social responsibility looking at human rights, community involvement, animal protection, corporate crime, discrimination, employee treatment and philanthropy. It is a fantastic little book - and while it has an American focus, it is still invaluable for Canadians and even those abroad.
I was shocked to discover some information about companies I thought were better - we drive Saturns but GM received the worst grading for many reasons- and pleased to see that I've made some good choices - Seventh Generation was rated the best company on the Planet!
I'm looking into organic home delivery from a local supplier who buys things as close to home as possible and I was thinking this was a great move(and it is) yet this little book showed me in a few minutes how many other things need to be looked at. If you want more information - go to www.betterworldshopper.org . You can research all the information there and even buy this great little guide (small enough to fit into your pocket) to take shopping with you.
I guess it comes down to making good choices - buying fair trade products when available, organic when possible and buying from companies that show responsibility in what they do. You can see the top 10 changes to make in your shopping habits for the most impact for your dollar, the top 10 best companies, the top 10 worst companies and more.
I'm going to make some changes in my shopping habits. A little more review is needed, but there are some things I can do easily as I put together this week's shopping list. I can buy my husband's favourite coffee as it’s fair trade and organic (one of the top 10 things to do) I can still buy chocolate but make better choices on who I buy it from (another top 10 item to do). I can choose some of my groceries from the brands listed (and I even have coupons for some!) And best of all - I can keep buying my Tetley tea!! Again - small choices but important ones. I think I see a theme here, don't you?
Who knew your morning coffee choice could be environmentally friendly AND change lives?