Jingle Bells is playing in Woolies; the tinsel is appearing in windows. As we head into the festive season, it's a good time to reflect on our consumer habits and the impact we have - for better or worse. According the the Australian Retailers Association, Aussies spent about $45 billion in the lead up to Christmas last year! An ABC news report said that meant those those aged over 14 spent an average of $2,500 EACH in the six weeks leading to the event! Is it just me or is that a) outrageous and b) kind of alarming to think about where all that money is going?
Without immediately predicting doom and gloom and certainly without suggesting grinch-like behaviour like boycotting Christmas shopping altogether, I think it is our responsibility to consider the possible costs and negative impacts associated with this kind of astronomical spending.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) forced labour generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits EVERY YEAR! And almost 21 million people are thought to be victims of forced labour. We simply can't ignore the fact that our consumer behaviour (manic as it can sometimes be) does have an impact on peoples lives and livelihoods - for good or bad.
· Treating producers with respect at all levels of our interaction, including ensuring all artefacts are ethically produced and sourced
· Pursuing sustainability - for people, communities and the planet
· Upholding the traditional craftsmanship of our producers and supporting skills development for future generations
· Investing our profits into programs and people who share our vision for a more just world
So this year as you start to plan for Christmas and start writing your gift lists, why don't you consider how you can use your consumer power for good? Let's be part of the solution instead of contributing to a growing global tragedy!
Of course you can shop with us and be confident that all our products are ethically sourced and produced. And we have gifts for everyone in your world - guys, girls, kids! Plus remember we have 20% off store wide from now until the end of November! Plus we have free shipping Australia-wide for orders over $50! Plus we ship internationally! But there are also plenty of other great ethical shopping options this Christmas. Here are some of our favourite friends:
· You can give a gift of compassion through Compassion Australia
· Save the Children has a great gift catalogue for gifts that change lives. Have a look at their video: