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If you feel your values are being minimized in a world where only the loudest voices are heard, you can do something about it.
Even when money is tight, you can direct your financial resources in ways that support the causes you care about. And there are ways to exert your influence on matters important to you without spending a dime.
Here’s how to explore ethical finance.
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What are socially conscious actions?
The steps you take to support causes based on your values — such as human rights, the environment, helping animals — are called socially conscious actions. They can include:
- Consumer choices: Making purchase decisions based on a company’s commitment to values you prioritize, such as the environment, locally or ethically sourced products, or items with natural or sustainable ingredients.
- Individual involvement: A friction-free and low-cost way of making your voice and values count. It can be as simple as engaging in a volunteer project in your neighborhood or participating in a national effort.
- Financial actions: These can include charitable giving to organizations involved in causes you care about, choosing a bank wisely and targeted investing.
What is socially conscious consumption?
In short, it’s choosing to spend your money in a manner that supports your values. Every dollar builds momentum through increased demand, so that companies acting responsibly get the message: This is what people want.
Maybe it’s recyclable packaging, locally grown food, ethically produced goods or animal-cruelty-free products. According to a report commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature, “Consumers are changing their behavior, with [Google] searches for sustainable goods increasing globally by 71%” between 2016 and 2020.
“The connection between sweatshops and fast fashion is a good example,” says Patricia Illingworth, a professor at Northeastern University and author of “Giving Now: Accelerating Human Rights for All.” Many producers of inexpensive clothing are notorious for meager pay and dangerous working conditions, she says. “We don’t need 10 shirts, and we could buy brands that are transparent and ethical.”
See if a company has been certified by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that measures the environmental and social justice performance and impact of for-profit businesses. You can check the B Corporation certification directory to see if a company you’re …….