Tag Archives: child labour

Where did you buy that?

4 Jun

I need you to do me a favour.  Before you read any more of this post, get up and go look at your stuff. Open your closet, your pantry, your super-duper designer shoe cupboard.  Look at your stuff, take it in.  OK, come back now.

Do you know where your stuff comes from? Who made it, grew it, helped get it from wherever it started to you? If not, you should.  Here’s why:

  • According to the International Labour Organization, there are about 215 million child labourers at work across the globe.
  • Tobacco is one of the main agricultural industries employing children. Children are being poisoned by green tobacco sickness as a result.
  • Multi-generational poverty in some of the world’s poorest places is the main reason that children often need or are forced to work
  • Unless companies understand their supply chains, you could be purchasing items made by children.

The fact is, sometimes a bargain isn’t really a bargain. Does it really make sense that you can purchase a “hand-made” item for as little as $5? Made in some country thousands of kilometres away from your local mall? How far you could you get on $5?

So what to do? Get the facts. There are plenty of brands out there willing to share their supply chains with you. They audit the factories and locations where their goods are made, ensure proper conditions for workers, and work to prevent child labour.  Some of them, like Nike and Gap, made this shift when others exposed their secrets. Today, Nike is embracing transparency and sharing how it continues to work on managing its supply chain. Other companies like Patagonia and Timberland have always focused on producing high-quality items in ethical ways.

Even if you aren’t in the market for fancy shoes, you can still make a difference.  Pay attention. Question the “deal”. Get to know more about how goods are produced.  Get to know the Story of Stuff.

Buy less, but buy better.Your wallet has power. Use it wisely.

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