Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Conscientious Consumer

Today I was driving my mom up to the Abbotsford airport (she was visiting Michelle while the boys were canoing and camping) and we got to talking about The Story of Stuff and consumerism and where our products are made and various other things. After I dropped her off I continued thinking about it, and I had a few ideas. I'm going to try and keep track of the products I buy new and the countries where they're manufactured as well as the products I buy used. I'm also going to start sending specific questions to the companies who make the products I purchase, such as:

1) How much do you know about the working conditions under which your products are made? How do they compare to North American standards?

2) Are you certain no children are employed in the manufacturing or distribution of your products?

3) I noticed a significant amount of packaging came with your product. Have you considered ways to reduce the packaging in your products? Could more recyclable packaging be used?

4) How familiar are you with the environmental impacts of your manufacturing processes? Are you sure the raw materials you use are produced or harvested ethically?

5) What are you doing to improve the living conditions in the areas where your products are produced?

What other questions should I be asking? What do you think about my idea? Could I phrase these questions in a more effective way? It occurred to me that someone has probably done this and collected up the responses into a book. Have you heard of any books like this? It's kind of cool because it finally makes me feel like I'm able to do something about this issue. I'll post the responses I get from my inquiries, if I do get any responses.

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