With the end of AmazonSmile, Amazon’s charitable giving program, some people are feeling down about shopping on Amazon and looking for more ethical ways to shop.
Through AmazonSmile, ending February 20th, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to a charity of the shopper’s choice. The program has donated more than $449 million worldwide, but average donations per charity last year were just $230, according to Amazon.
Still, some organizations, especially smaller ones, say funding has made a big difference to them. Many shoppers who use AmazonSmile have expressed their disappointment on social media and shared the impact the program has had on the charities it supports. Some even threaten to stop shopping on Amazon or urge you to cancel your Prime subscription.
If you want to know how to shop more ethically, there are some principles to follow, says David Weitzner, assistant professor of business administration at York University in Toronto.
What is ethical shopping?
“Individual answers will vary depending on politics and other factors,” says Weitzner, but if you understand exactly the company’s business model and principles and they align with your own values, I considers it ethical consumption.
First and foremost, make sure you understand and agree on how your company makes money, from how you treat your employees and how you source your goods, to how your business model impacts the environment.
Beyond that, Weitzner says a company’s reputation should take precedence over its ranking on the list of ethically good companies. Then look at what the company is doing now, not what it promises in the future. Finally, shop at a company that values human connection over efficiency.
Beyond doing our own research as shoppers, Weitzner says we should trust our instincts. If you go to the store regularly and “your gut tells you this is the place to shop ethically,” that’s a good sign, he says.
With these principles in mind, here are some ideas for where to shop next. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a resource for customers looking for alternatives to Amazon.
where to start
Ethical Consumer is an organization that examines the ethical and environmental records of companies ranging from energy to fashion to food. That guide not only tells you what a particular brand has accomplished, but also what to look for and what to avoid when shopping, so be sure to research a particular brand before encountering it in a store. It makes it easier to make well-informed decisions without it.
If your primary concern is charitable giving rather than shopping, CharityWatch is a non-profit organization that provides information on charity efficiency, accountability, governance and fundraising. If you decide to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription due to AmazonSmile’s termination, we can help you decide where to put your extra cash.
Good on You calls itself “the world’s leading source of fashion brand ratings,” and its site scores fashion brands based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, making them as environmentally friendly as they claim to be. We help consumers understand whether they are friendly or not. The score incorporates factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use, worker safety and wages.
But buying used clothing and exchanging or reselling items you no longer need or need is the best way to avoid the ethical and environmental costs of the fashion industry.ThredUp, Poshmark, Depop Check out other resale and savings stores and sites.
Food waste is extremely harmful to the environment and your wallet.
For a more sustainable shopping experience, check out Imperfect Foods, which delivers groceries of irregular sizes and shapes. It has cosmetic defects or is otherwise just a waste product.
You can also download an app called Too Good To Go that allows users to buy leftover food at grocery stores and restaurants at discounted prices. What’s left in your last-minute bag can be a surprise, but it’s a great way to avoid wasting food and try something new on the cheap.
If you love buying books and want to find a company that treats its employees well and is sustainable, you can find vendors on Ethical Revolution’s Amazon Alternatives website, which features a bookstore locator tool.
Buying used books keeps waste out of landfills, and buying from independent local stores ensures authors are paid fairly. If you want to find independent bookstores near you, you can search on IndieBound.
Thriftbooks is an independent online bookstore that offers used books that are accurately rated for quality and partners with nonprofits to offer literacy programs, but its products are listed on Amazon and other vendors. . Better World Books sells both new and used books and supports literacy projects.
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