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Virtue Signalling: How much do you really care?

Posted by Nick Savaidis on

We don't mean for this question to be an insult, but we want people to reflect on their values. With the lack of thought that goes into these events 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 leafs around the website, slogans that make company’s 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 ethically 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 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 rarely true.

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.

A Question Of Connection

There’s nothing like a strong display of people power to restore your faith in the world. Right here in Australia, dairy farmers have been doing it tough for too long. The public’s response to their recent price struggle and ad campaign reconnected us with the man and woman in the field. Forget global pressure forcing down milk prices, when you [...]

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Etiko : 10 Years of Stirring for Fairtrade

One of the frustrating things about running a small business is the limited time you have to reflect. Every day is largely taken up dealing with phone calls, endless emails, putting together new orders, chasing up orders that should have arrived weeks before, managing cash flow, trying to decide what to put out via social media [...]

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The Rise of the Conscious Consumer

I have staked my business on the belief that there are rapidly growing numbers of conscious or ethical consumers. They are concerned about the impact of their purchases not only on the environment but also on other human beings. There is even an acronym for people like this – they are known as LOHAS (Lifestyles [...]

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Nothing Is Certain but Death & Taxes ....Unless You're a Multinational & Or Loaded!

To be honest I can’t say that I love paying taxes (actually I'm not sure anyone does) ...but then again I can see the need to do so.After all, how else is the government going to pay for those services we consider essential, like education, health, transportation, roads, pensions, etc. As citizens and small business [...]

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The Politics of Fashion

Punk Or $!@*head? – Or Judging People By What They Wear"Melbourne punks harass on city streets." "Punk thugs cause mayhem." "Serial pests." "Punks looking pretty nasty." "Unsavoury characters." In a recent published article, these phrases and more are just about every other line. One after the other about these two men's demeanour. They were found [...]

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Celebrate Fair Trade in May

The merry month of May is upon us and it’s a great time of year to celebrate all the amazing things that are happening to increase awareness of fair trade and improve the lives of those less fortunate around the world.From May 3-18 it’s the yearly event known as Fair Trade Fortnight, a time of [...]

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Times up for fashion exploitation

If you aren’t already aware of it, Etiko achieved an A+ rating in the 2013 Australian Fashion Report, the first research report to take an unbiased look at the supply chains of major fashion brands. Obviously we are proud of this achievement but to be frank we’re puzzled why haven’t we been swamped with enquiries [...]

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Local Council Partners with Etiko to Help Create the Change

While plenty of dynamic duos have preceded it, the partnership between Etiko and the Knox City Council, both based in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, has developed into a lasting and fruitful one.Etiko are one of Australia’s leading fair trade brands, providing everyday clothing and products produced ethically, using the principles of fair trade. [...]

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