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Lifestyle | Why Ethical Shopping Matters

We founded Collective-Stories with a passion for uniting contemporary design and ethical craftsmanship.

It is very important to us that through Collective-Stories we are addressing some of the issues that has been caused by cheap mass production as we believe that there are various measures that can be taken to improve current manufacturing processes for homeware products. Ensuring that workers are paid fairly and work in safe conditions should be the standard for any business.

Conscious consumerism is starting to grow in the right direction thanks to consumers putting their money where their mouth is, but buying ethically is still the exception rather than the norm.

Mass production became the norm in the second half of the 20th century, as businesses became able to make things anywhere in the world. Mass production made it possible to make a lot of products quickly, less expensive and more uniformly. Unfortunately, a vast amount of companies got greedy and wanted to achieve even more profit, so they searched for the cheapest factories with the cheapest processes and materials to grow their margins, leading to cheap, mass-produced products made from low quality materials often not standing the test of time. This should have resulted in customers abandoning these types of purchases, but in fact it turned out that people actually bought more. With ever changing trends and easy access to the global market, retailers are now able to reach customers across the globe, driving demand up and cost prices down, which is often on the expense of workers wages, health and safety and the quality of the materials used.

Buying ethically requires you to think before you shop as your lifestyle choices affect other people and the environment. Where did the raw materials come from, who made it and how are the working conditions? Every time we are buying something we are voting with our wallet and our money should be used in a way that fits our beliefs.

Ethical brands are often concerned with the human rights of manufacturing:

  • No child and slave labour

  • Workers are paid a living wage

  • Safe working conditions

artisan preparing backstrap weaving in a garden in Guatemala

The money we spend can be the most powerful force for change, so even redirecting a few of our purchases to brands that are ethical and sustainable would make an enormous impact. The more demand for ethical products that are, the more supply there will be from businesses as a response.

Ethical consumerism is valuable in the here and now, but it is also influencing businesses to be more responsible and it is paving the way for more sustainable and ethical options in the future.

We are still a long way from ethical options being the default rather than the exception, but in the past 20 years, the UK ethical consumer markets have grown almost 4 times from £11.2 billion to £41.1 billion, with the most significant increases in the food, drinks and green home markets. Fashion, home decor and other personal items have not followed suit quite yet. Consumers play a vital role in the growth for more ethical and sustainable options and they should expect and demand more action on these matters from brands more than ever.

We are all humans and ensuring that workers are paid fairly and work in safe conditions should be the standard for any business. It has to be a collaborative process that benefits all parties to ensure long-term success.

Our mission at Collective-Stories is to create sustainable incomes for artisans around the world.

By preserving local culture and traditional crafts, our collaboration enables the artisans to access sustainable employment, including fair wages and safe working conditions, which builds a foundation for continued development and better living standards.


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