This is also an amazing article with even more helpful research advice: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/how-do-you-know-if-brand-ethical
In an article titled “How Much Should I Care About Ethical Food?” by Relevant Magazine, a reader posed a very interesting question: “Is eating ethically really that big of a deal?” I highly recommend this article as it had phenomenal insight and knowledge. Specifically though, the author said something that clicked with me: “If you sense that God is leading you into new territory, take sustainable steps and see where that leads.”
Although this article dealt specifically with eating ethically, the concept of being an ethical consumer has been something that has weighed heavy on my mind the past few months. As a Christian, why I am I content to look the other way and to be in the dark about how the products I use and consume are made? Why am I okay with spending money to help further human trafficking, abortion, animal abuse and cruelty and other moral horrors?
John 15:12 says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Proverbs 12:10 says, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” Clearly throughout the Bible God has a love and ferocious protection for every person, including the least in society, but God doesn’t disregard the creatures he made either; he has high value on life, and the well-being of those who have life.
Obviously, not everyone is going to have the same exact convictions or find problems with the same industries. Some may be content to continue eating fruit, drinking coffee or wearing makeup in the same way, and I am not condemning you for that. Romans 14 talks about our different convictions on things (especially fitting because this chapter uses food as an example), and verses 22-23 say, “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” If you are not feeling convicted to change what you buy as a consumer, that is okay; what is not okay is being convicted and ignoring that conviction.
Personally, I am changing my ways. My goal is to come to the point where I am not buying anything that has ingredients, manufacturing/process methods or any other factor that is inhumane or is cruel/causes death to a fellow human or a creature (I will currently say that I am not opposed to eating meat-I am however opposed to buying meat from a corrupt industry that treats animals inhumanely prior to their death. There are plenty of small farms and ranches that treat their animals extremely well, and I am more than happy to support these places).
I know that this is going to be hard and it will take a very long time to get to the point where I am buying completely ethically. The world is so unjust and evil that inhumane actions and cruelty permeate pretty much industry you can think of. Every step forward is progress though, so I am starting by not spending money at local establishments that support Planned Parenthood and only buying and using cruelty free makeup and hygiene products (see you later Dove shampoo). If you are feeling convicted as I am, I have compiled a short list of some industries that are commonly known for cruelty or inhumane treatment that are listed below. Do your research and act on your convictions, and then work to make change happen.
Industries with Issues
- Makeup and Personal Care: Animal Testing
- Solution: Buy Cruelty Free Products
- Large Clothing Companies: Unregulated and Harsh Child Labor Conditions
- Solution: Research which companies you will monetarily support.
- Coffee: Exploitation of growers and pickers
- Solution: Buy Fair Trade coffee and research.
- Chocolate: Inhumane Child Labor and Slavery
- Solution: Look for Fair Trade or other ethically certified chocolate.
- Meat: Inhumane conditions prior to death.
- Solution: Buying local, grass-fed, free-range meat, avoiding large meat companies, etc.