Oct. 11, 2021

10. Fair trade or bust


Today's letter is about shopping fair trade. Here's the letter:
How do I know if the places I shop really are sustainable?

There are some phrases that sound good, but might not actually mean anything, or anyway, aren’t official stamps of approval. For example, “ethically sourced.” On the other hand, if you see “Fair Trade Certified” that is an actual certification that requires the company to provide proof. You can also look to other certifying organizations like the Rainforest Alliance, or the Global Organic Textile Standard https://www.global-standard.org/ to read about which companies have met their certification standards. There’s another interesting one for ethical fashion called good on you https://goodonyou.eco/how-we-rate/ They even have an app you can download. You can look on Open Secrets https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup to see where your favorite companies donate their money.

There are some companies which have done more than just make a public pledge to do good, it is baked into their DNA. Some companies are actually “benefit corporations.” That is a legal structure for a business, like an LLC or a corporation. Benefit corporations are legally bound to consider both societal impact and profit.

And these benefit corporations can even go one step further and get officially certified by a nonprofit called B Corp that certifies these companies. Specifically, they are assessing the overall positive impact of the company. That certification involves a combination of (1) third-party validation, 2) public transparency, and 3) legal accountability

Patagonia went through this process back in 2012. In order to get their B Corp certification, they had to:
1. have an explicit social or environmental mission
2. A legally binding fiduciary responsibility to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment as well as its shareholders.
3. A company must also amend its articles of incorporation to adopt B Lab’s commitment to sustainability and treating workers well.

In addition a B Corp must pay an annual fee based on revenues, biannually complete a B Impact Report (a lengthy questionnaire that measures social and environmental impact), meet B-Lab’s comprehensive social and environmental performance standards and make that B Impact Report public, in order to receive the certification from B Lab.

You can go onto B Corp’s directory to look up companies you’re considering spending your money with.

So those are some places you can check to see if your favorite place to shop is a socially responsible company, but I also want to plug shopping locally. Shopping locally can hit a lot of things that might be on your checklist- supporting family owned businesses, marginalized communities, and in many cases, reducing the environmental impact.

To submit your letter to the show, email spenddonateinvest@gmail.com

To support the show visit buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate)
Transcript

Today's letter is about shopping fair trade. Here's the letter:
How do I know if the places I shop really are sustainable?

There are some phrases that sound good, but might not actually mean anything, or anyway, aren’t official stamps of approval. For example, “ethically sourced.” On the other hand, if you see “Fair Trade Certified” that is an actual certification that requires the company to provide proof. You can also look to other certifying organizations like the Rainforest Alliance, or the Global Organic Textile Standard https://www.global-standard.org/ to read about which companies have met their certification standards. There’s another interesting one for ethical fashion called good on you https://goodonyou.eco/how-we-rate/ They even have an app you can download. You can look on Open Secrets https://www.opensecrets.org/donor-lookup to see where your favorite companies donate their money.

There are some companies which have done more than just make a public pledge to do good, it is baked into their DNA. Some companies are actually “benefit corporations.” That is a legal structure for a business, like an LLC or a corporation. Benefit corporations are legally bound to consider both societal impact and profit.

And these benefit corporations can even go one step further and get officially certified by a nonprofit called B Corp that certifies these companies. Specifically, they are assessing the overall positive impact of the company. That certification involves a combination of (1) third-party validation, 2) public transparency, and 3) legal accountability

Patagonia went through this process back in 2012. In order to get their B Corp certification, they had to:
1. have an explicit social or environmental mission
2. A legally binding fiduciary responsibility to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment as well as its shareholders.
3. A company must also amend its articles of incorporation to adopt B Lab’s commitment to sustainability and treating workers well.

In addition a B Corp must pay an annual fee based on revenues, biannually complete a B Impact Report (a lengthy questionnaire that measures social and environmental impact), meet B-Lab’s comprehensive social and environmental performance standards and make that B Impact Report public, in order to receive the certification from B Lab.

You can go onto B Corp’s directory to look up companies you’re considering spending your money with.

So those are some places you can check to see if your favorite place to shop is a socially responsible company, but I also want to plug shopping locally. Shopping locally can hit a lot of things that might be on your checklist- supporting family owned businesses, marginalized communities, and in many cases, reducing the environmental impact.

To submit your letter to the show, email spenddonateinvest@gmail.com

To support the show visit buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate