Money can do so much more than simply meet your needs and provide you with entertainment. Money can also be a tool to amplify your voice, to fight against injustice, and to support virtuous causes. In fact, every dollar you spend has an impact on society.
To point out the obvious, not everyone has the energy or resources to prioritize social and environmental justice, but for those who do want to spend more consciously in order to have a positive impact, here are our best tips.
Boycott harmful brands
An often underestimated, yet powerful, act is boycotting (the refusal to buy and consume a company’s products or services). Boycotting really does make a difference because when it happens on a large scale, it forces brands or companies to change their destructive practices.
The idea isn’t necessarily to eliminate the consumption of every single product by companies with questionable practices, but to favour brands that truly deserve your business. Examples of opting for ethical businesses instead of corrupt ones include shopping at independent greengrocers or farmer’s markets rather than at supermarket chains, buying clothes in consignment stores rather than from fast-fashion brands, buying books in a neighborhood bookstore rather than online, and so on.
We can’t always make “perfect” buying decisions, but we can try to make better choices according to our budget and what’s available. If you don’t know where to start, you can try consulting Ethical Consumer, which lists various boycott campaigns against large companies.
Support honest companies by spending
Once you’ve decided what to boycott, it’s time to buycott. This term refers to consuming in a more ethical and responsible way. The goal is simple: realize the power of your money, and turn to brands that have a positive impact on people and the planet. Don’t hesitate to consult this small directory of eco-responsible brands, classified by category.
Buycotting is about making conscious choices. For example, rather than buying your coffee from a large American brand whose name starts with an S, you may choose to get your caffeine fix from the independent (and ethical) coffee shop near your house.
Ever find yourself browsing products at a store and wondering if they’re sustainable and honest? Try using the app Good on You app, which makes it easier for consumers to shop in an ethically responsible way by compiling the impact of over 3,000 brands on people, the planet, and animals.
Invest in SRI funds
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is a simple and effective way to give meaning to your money. SRI funds select companies according to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria and not just financial ones. Moreover, contrary to what one might think, they are no less efficient than traditional funds! So it’s a great way to combine profitability with ethics.
Want to get started? With Moka, you can invest your money in the Moka SRI fund, which invests in ETFs that address today’s major social and environmental challenges. Based on your investor profile when you sign up, we’ll assign you one of five diversified SRI portfolios that is most suited to your personal and financial goals.
Support charities by making a donation
Cleaning up the oceans, planting trees, helping people in need, rescuing animals, supporting local farmers…there are an untold number of causes that are of concern to Canadians.
No matter what concerns you personally, there is bound to be a non-profit that addresses these issues and that you can support regularly or on an ad hoc basis. If you’re not sure which organizations to support, you can start by consulting Canada Helps, which connects donors with over 86,000 registered charities, or simply search online for a cause or organization you’d like to support.
Please remember, there is no donation too small! Even $10 dollars per quarter is better than nothing at all.
Learn to spot greenwashing
Greenwashing is a marketing strategy that consists of showcasing a company’s “green” practices, when the brand or product is not, in fact, ethical or sustainable. To help you flush out false promises and deceptive arguments, the Government of Canada has published a series of anti-greenwashing questions that can be consulted online.