With the recent injustices toward Black people in America, it is now more important than ever to be socially conscious. But what exactly does that entail? To me, being socially conscious is maintaining a level of awareness for the many adversities faced by people outside the majority race, sexual orientation, and religion. It’s important to continue showing up for these groups and to support them. As it pertains to companies, they should be using their resources to promote social change and using their profits to help their local communities.
Realizing the significance of purchasing power and the luxury of having disposable income, it’s vital to ensure our spending aligns with our beliefs. So how can we be better customers? A little investigation goes a long way in this instance. For starters, the more transparent a company is, the more likely they are to implement ethical practices throughout their organization. Companies that do not disclose the details on their manufacturing and supply chain are more likely to have something to hide. Many companies are beginning to openly define their purpose and communicate how they intend to impact positive societal changes.
Below are some common product categories and the national, mainstream brands we’re buying from.
Brands that are not socially conscious have no or very few foundation shades for people with dark complexions. Glossier is a makeup brand often known for getting it right. The company offers several vegan products, they never test on animals, and their mission is to empower all types of women. They echo this sentiment by using every day women as their models. They’ve also recently launched a grant initiative for Black owned beauty businesses.
Dr. Bronners is known for their organic household items, but many people don’t know that the company places caps on executive pay to ensure the high level leaders’ salary is no greater than 5 times the compensation of the lowest paid team members. They also offer 100% free healthcare for employees and their families.
One company that has been known for their vocalization and donation contributions to racial in injustice from their inception is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Since 1985 Ben & Jerry’s Foundation has funded on average 1.8 million dollars annually to community organizations across the country. .
There are many grocers and big box stores that have closed locations in underserved communities. Whole Foods has consistently remained true to their mission to expand access to fresh and nutritious foods to these communities. This helps low income households gain access to local, organic, and nutritious food.
Some restaurants and food delivery companies select neighborhoods that they won’t deliver to. Often these neighborhoods will be food deserts so having food delivery options is critical. Postmates has always strived to bring out the best in each city without discrimination against any of the communities. The company’s goal is to help local businesses and invest in the communities they serve to create more sustainable futures for the residents.
Shoes & Accessories
The one for one method is commonly used by retail brands. These companies realize their products are a necessity yet inaccessible for many people. When customers buy a pair of Warby Parker glasses, a pair is distributed to someone else in need. Toms and Bombas utilize this same strategy.
Adobe has a focus on empowering their employees, customers, and partners to take on challenges in creative ways. The company provides grants and product donations to people in need so everyone can have the opportunity to tell their stories and express themselves.
The ultimate way to put your money where your beliefs are is to apply for an affinity credit card. These cards allow you to donate a portion of your purchases automatically to your designated organization. The Charity Charge World Mastercard is unique in that unlike many affinity cards, it allows you to choose the organization you’d like to receive your donations.
The companies above would be a responsible choice as a purchaser, but of course I would encourage us to buy from Black owned businesses as well. Patronizing local businesses helps to keep money in the community. The next time you’re ready to make a purchase, be mindful and intentional of where you spend your money.