Imagine the positive power of investing US$50 billion to empower farmers, factory workers and support our environment! That's what was spent last year on Black Friday, in the US alone. It's that time of the year again. Sales are ramping up, and spending is rising too. Many people look forward to this period because there are so many bargains to be had. So what's the issue with sales?
What we believe
At Etiko, we believe in the power of our shopping dollars. We believe in the human and labour rights of workers all around the world. We believe in the responsibility of all levels of industry to do the best they can, for the planet and all its inhabitants.
And we believe in empowering customers to shop in a way that reflects what they want to see in the world.
Not only do we do our best to act in alignment with our values, but we go out of our way to make all our processes transparent. Ask us a question, and we will fearlessly answer.
We're not perfect, but we're doing everything we can to be our best.
Etiko was the first fashion brand in the Southern Hemisphere to become Fairtrade certified, and we live this belief every day.
"Ethical" is part of our brand DNA.
Why 'sales' are problematic
Generally speaking, sales are not a bad thing - after all, if you need to buy something, paying less is a good thing, right?
The issue, as we see it, is when shopping becomes mindless. We buy something because it's on sale, not because we truly need it. This kind of shopping draws us even further away from an understanding of how our spending impacts the people and environment in the supply chain and beyond.
Of course, shopping unconsciously can have a negative effect whether or not it's during a sale. But sales encourage us to push our values even further to the back of our mind to get that discount.
Last year, Americans spent US$50 billion on Black Friday alone. Fifty. Billion. Dollars. That's a whole lot of spending power! In Australia, online sales were up over 28% compared to the previous year - and it represented the biggest online shopping week in Australian history.
Imagine the positive power these spending dollars would have if they were all invested in brands and businesses who support workers and the environment?
The Etiko Solution
As a retailer, we, of course, don't believe all shopping is bad! In fact, we believe shopping is an opportunity to spend in a way that not only gets you what you need but has a positive impact on our world. That's why we created this business.
Every day, Etiko is working hard to ensure our influence on people and the environment is a positive one.
We are on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions in our entire supply chain, by 2020.
We source organic cotton to reduce harmful chemicals in the environment.
We use vegan materials to avoid animal suffering in our supply chain.
We use recycled and recyclable packaging plus biodegradable and compostable plastic.
We are Fair Trade certified, meaning we pay premiums to invest in the empowerment of farmers and workers in our supply chain.
At the heart of it all? We empower shoppers to use their dollars for good.
We want you to have a choice, and to shop in a way that reflects the kind of world you want to see. That's the Etiko solution.
And so we choose to participate in promotions at this time of year. We participate to add our voice to the equation, to draw attention to the issues, to give you a choice for your shopping dollars, and to increase our sales so that we can continue to invest in people and the planet.
What you can do
One of the biggest things we can do as consumers are to be aware of the impact of our shopping dollars. When we shop with our values in mind, we're voting for a kinder, more compassionate, healthy world.
Understand where your money is going, and the impact of the supply chain of the product you're purchasing. Fairtrade has some great resources.
Then, shop with intention! By all means, buy what you need. And when you do it mindfully, it has a double impact - you get what you need, and people and the planet benefit from your investment.
Another thing you can do is discuss the issues gently with family and friends. Many people are simply not aware of how their spending impacts people and the planet. Opening their eyes can help evolve behaviour.
And a final piece of advice? Don't shop if you don't need to! Sales are great when you can get a discount on something you need. Resist the temptation to shop just because there are sales.
Above all, know that when you shop with Etiko, you are voting for a fair, kind, and healthy world.