Ethics when shopping. 

I usually teach my daughter that right is right and wrong is wrong. I go around helping displaced children and improvised families and show her that her eight and a half years of life thus far has been really blessed. Due to her blessings she should help others.  

So what about how we shop? Are we practicing the same thing? Are we helping the improvised and dispossessed or voiceless with the way we shop? 

I sadly do not. 

I have both children dressed in brands like, Carters, old navy, Gap, H&M, many Walmart brands and the like inclusive of Nike and Addidas.

I make it my business to check into outlet malls to get even better prices when shopping and not bat an eyelid on the background of the company (parent company included) or the method of production. 

Recently I saw a video that showed the toxicity that denim production causes and I cringed. How could this be happening and I’m content in purchasing my SO some new Levi’s every chance I get!? 

So I dug, not even very deep, and found out various brands that I ❤️ are more disgusting that I would have thought. How do I feel knowing my children’s clothing, my make up, my household items and shoes are drenched in the sweat, blood and tears of children? That these brands that are in my home are linked to building collapses and deaths in the thousands? That’s these brands that I brag about being able to “get really cheap ” are made with people who can’t even eat!? 

I feel remarkably sick to my stomach. 

But what can i do? I can’t afford brands that cost hundreds of dollars (US dollars at that). I can’t afford to clothe all the people in my family!  

Even when buying in to the theory of ethical brands we still get shocked. The Honest company isn’t that honest? Burt’s bees made by whom? 

Here is a small breakdown of what I’ve found out. 

Let’s focus on our household favorite Walmart. 

Walmart has long had issues regarding international labour laws. The daily dot Covers this and more. Let’s focus on the child labour issues. 

Global labour rights Article here looks at the way children in Bangladesh are treated by Walmart, Hanes, JCP and others. Children, sometimes younger than eleven are enslaved in these concentration camp type sweat shops and forced to work, sometimes being abused. The wages are around 11 1/2 cents per hour.  Yes. ELEVEN AND A HALF CENTS PER HOUR. the kicker? These companies think this is too much. That is under $1.00 USD a day. While our children go to school, play, give trouble to eat veggies and do homework these children are working, sometimes overtime in sweat shops making under a dollar a day. 

“In the month of September, the children had just one day off, and before clothing shipments had to leave for the U.S. the workers were often kept at the factory 95 to 110 hours a week. After being forced to work a grueling all-night 19-to-20-hour shift, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. the following day, the children sleep on the factory floor for two or three hours before being woken to start their next shift at 8:00 a.m. that same morning.”

Walmart does more than enslave children. They aslo use corrupt business practices to make headway in new and emerging markets.  In 2012 Walmart was involved in a Huge corruption scandal  in Mexico. In 2015 they were probed (not for the first time) for Payoffs and Bribes in Brazil. This year a four year, global probe is ending. This probe reveals misconduct in these countries and Corruption in China and India

These are just two of the many issues that Walmart has internationally. Throw in minimum wage payments to workers in the Unitwd States, the anti- Union sentiment and the general working conditions Walmart is an all out evil company. 

What can we do here in Trinidad? 

Honestly not much. I can’t tell you to stop spreading your budget, purchasing the things you have to at the best price possible. I can ask you to research more, spend better, restrict spending on brands and in companies that are unethical. The most you can do is take away as much as you can from these companies. 

Brands like old navy, Hanes, Carters, George, child of mine (by Carters), Nike, Addidasand so on have had their issues. Research, see how they have remedy the issues and then make your decision.