We’re continuing our Meet an Ethical Blogger series with Dominique from Let’s Be Fair! I’m proud to be a member with Dominique in the Ethical Writers Coalition. Check out that group for even more fabulous ethical bloggers!
Fair for All: Describe the focus of your blog.
Dominique: Let’s Be Fair is simply about thoughtful living. It’s being mindful about the everyday choices we make. We focus on fairly made, ethically sourced, life impacting goods that better the lives of the makers and consumers.
Why do you choose to write about these topics? What motivates you to pursue an ethical lifestyle?
I think it was Mother Theresa that said “There are no great things. Only small things with great love.” We live in a time where (whether we want to admit it or not) there is an overwhelming desire to be famous, to be known. We see people doing extraordinary things and want to be a part of something extraordinary. However, I believe the way that we can create the most change is by living each moment with integrity. Integrity happens when we align all of our choices with the values that we advertise. So if I say I value honesty, I need to strive be honest in all things, not just the easy things. If I say I value justice and love, I need to strive to live out those values in all things. So serving children in Africa is an act of love but it is not greater than serving my neighbor. Integrity doesn’t categorize, our values should be reflected across our whole lifestyle. So if I give money and time to the work of eradicating slavery, how can I then purchase products that promote slave labor and abuse? My desire to be a woman of integrity is very motivating to me. I fail a lot. I also am motivated by my passion for orphan care and ending human trafficking. Poverty is a major contributor to the global orphan and human trafficking crisis. It is also, in many ways, preventable. I believe that treating people fairly, not with ‘charity’ but simply fairly, gives families and communities more resources and more of an ability to care for the children in their communities the way they’d hope to care for them. Finally, my husband is a major source of motivation. He’s a man of integrity. He’ll totally challenge my impulse buying and ask “oh, is there not a place we can find that ethically?” I love him for that. This is a hard lifestyle change to make without accountability.
What makes a product or company ethical to you? When you’re making a purchase or deciding what to write about, what principles or criteria guide your decision?
Such a good question! The first question I ask is “are people being treated with respect?” This is a hard, hard question to know the answer too. On their website, most large companies have some kind of legal “we use third party investigators to ensure there is no slave labor”…blah blah blah. That doesn’t do it for me. I need to hear that companies:
- Know where their products are coming from
- Know who is making the product
- Put forth reasonable effort to make sure that the people involved in the sourcing and making those products are being treated with respect and being paid fairly.
This might not seem like difficult criteria but unfortunately most of the big brands don’t spend any significant time or resources making sure they could answer these questions well. Whenever these brands get called out for unethical treatment of workers they always start by saying “we didn’t know.” That’s like saying a bunch of hurtful things to someone and then saying you “didn’t mean to hurt their feelings.” Just because you chose to ignore the potentially damaging results doesn’t excuse your responsibility.
After that question I look for key words such as B Certified, Direct Trade, Fair Trade Certified and Made In The USA. These distinctions don’t make them perfect but there is at least some sort of accountability and effort to doing things ethically.
The companies that get my attention the most are companies that are fully invested into the lives of their workers and their communities. There are so many incredible, hardworking artisans around the world and they don’t need a handout. They need a market! Brands that help artisans get the resources they need to run their business and then help them establish a sustainable market in which to sell those items are a major win with me.
What are your top 3 favorite ethical shopping brands or websites?
Oh gosh three?! Okay if I had an unlimited budget and if I could only shop at three stores for the rest of my life I’d pick People Tree for clothing, The Little Market for home goods and gifts and Whole Foods Markets for food and personal care. I could probably find everything else I needed second-hand somewhere.
Here are some recent posts from Let’s Be Fair to check out: