Sophia Bush won my heart when she played Brooke in One Tree Hill. Since learning about her efforts to raise awareness of environmental and ethical issues she has officially stolen it! She uses her media presence to inform the public of causes that need greater attention, notably support for women in developing countries and environmental degradation.
Sophia has been urging her followers to shop ethically this holiday season, using the hashtag #GiftsThatGiveBack to promote conscious Christmas shopping. She suggests taking your time to find products sourced in a more sustainable manner.
Brands that do not consider their social or environmental impact often ‘indirectly’ support poor working conditions, low wages, child labour, and environmental degradation. It is indirect as these companies outsource production to poorer nations, and so are not directly responsible for the working conditions or environmental performance of their suppliers. However, the companies put pressure on suppliers to create products for the lowest possible price. In order to do this, suppliers are unable to ensure safe working conditions or to consider their environmental impact. If suppliers demand a higher pay, the company will replace them with one willing to accept the low wage. They are dependent on this business and therefore must take the work. The large, international companies have the power to improve their suppliers working conditions and the environmental footprint of their products, but they are unlikely to do this unless we as consumers create the demand for it.
Sophia believes, as do I, that exploitation of poor nations and the environment is grossly unjust and unnecessary. She urges her followers to support ethical, environmental, small-scale brands. Her favourites include 31 Bits, Akola Project, and Sseko Designs as they use sustainably-sourced materials and have “practice ethical business standards. They are employing women and giving them artisanal training that transforms not only their own lives, but their communities.”
What are Sophia’s top tips for shopping ethically?
1. Find a cause you care about.
“For anyone who wants to start looking at ways to turn their shopping footprint into something more ethical, start with a cause that resonates with you and look for brands that support that cause”
2. Discover items on Instagram.
By following one ethical designer’s Instagram account, she has been able to find many other brands with great ethical and environmental values.
3. Google it.
“You can also do a simple Google search of conscious brands”