TIME Article Highlights Responsible Shoppers and Pioneers
“There is a new dimension to civic duty that is growing in America — it's the idea that we can serve not only by spending time in our communities and classrooms but by spending more responsibly. We are starting to put our money where our ideals are.”
So starts a new section on the TIME Magazine website entitled, “The Responsibility Revolution.” In his informative introduction, Richard Stengel speaks to the millions of Americans who are making environmentally and socially conscious decisions about their purchases. Stengel notes that, in a new TIME poll, more than 6 in 10 Americans “have bought organic products since January,” and about 40% of respondents said they purchased a product in 2009 “because they liked the social or political values of the company that produced it.” This is great news to hear, particularly in the current economic climate we find ourselves in.
In an interesting survey, TIME split up respondents into three categories based on their shopping preferences: The Responsibles, the Toe Dippers (those who might adhere to the idea of shopping responsibly, but do not frequently do so), and the Skeptics (those who believe that responsible consuming has no place in the economy). The Responsibles ended up making up a bulk of the respondents (over 38% of Americans 18 and over, which amounts to over 86 million people). This category was made up of people from different backgrounds and political ideologies, but they were overwhelmingly younger than those in the Skeptics category, and were mostly “well-off but not wealthy.” What category would you fit in to?!
Another section in this Responsibility Revolution special is a list of “Responsible Pioneers”—people and businesses that are leading the way in sustainable products and practices. Of course, many of these “Pioneers” were involved in Fair Trade in some way.
A few highlights:
Starbucks coffee was featured for increasing the amount of Fair Trade coffee they purchase. Starbucks “recently doubled its purchase of Fair Trade coffee, to 40 million lb., and wants all its coffee to be ethically sourced by 2015.” (The image to the left shows their new ad campaign, available here.) When asked about their move to purchase more Fair Trade, the company’s senior VP of global responsibility responded simply, "If we build stable relationships with our growers, we'll get the highest-quality coffee.” That’s so sensible, and so refreshing to hear!Cadbury, a chocolate company that is very popular in the UK, recently became the first international candy firm to be completely Fair Trade Certified. What’s more: they managed to keep the price of their candy bars the same! Delicious! (Photo from Cadbury.com)
The TIME Magazine article also notably highlighted a new way to plan to your wedding—sustainably and ethically! Thanks to entrepreneur Katie Fewings in England, it is now easy to design a wedding that utilizes responsibly made products only. In 2005, the weddings planned by Katie featured Fair Trade Certified wine, sweatshop-free gowns, and organic flowers. The couple in the picture on the left, Caitlin and Brian, of Wisconsin, made sure they had an “ethical wedding,”even down to the wedding bands! Their story, and other stories, are on the ethical wedding website, along with tips and advice on how to make your wedding a socially and environmentally friendly one: www.ethicalweddings.com.
Walmart is changing its image by instituting a sustainability index to all of its products. The index will rate the level of commitment to sustainability of each of its suppliers on issues such as energy use and labor practices. This, combined with Walmart’s earlier decision sell Fair Trade Certified coffee and other products, sounds like great start to a new way of conducting business!