How much do you think the average Australian spends on Christmas each year? Maybe $1000, $3000, or $5000 at most? Think again…
The figure is actually close to $15,000. That’s the same price as a brand new Toyota Yaris car. Statistics show Australian’s above the age of 14 spent on average $2,500 each week in the six weeks leading up to Christmas in 2014. That’s $45 billion for the nation as a whole, according to the Australian Retailers Association. The projected figure for this year is $46.7 billion*.
Are you as shocked and horrified as we are? Imagine if just 10% of that money was spent on ethically sourced gifts or with labels that give back to the community. That’s $4.5 billion that could make a positive impact in the world.
So how do you shop ethically this Christmas? The good news is it’s pretty easy. Today there are a large number of companies with a social focus. Buying from them allows you to purchase great, on-trend gifts that also give back.
We’ve put together three simple tips to guide you through the process.
1. Do your homework: Ask where is it made and who made it?
Check out the company selling the product. A quick Google search will tell you if they have an ethical/socially conscious focus and where their products are made.
If the answers are hard to find, chances are your product has been mass-produced in less than ideal conditions.
2. Go for quality, not quantity
If you think it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t opt for gifts just because they’re cheap… if they’re cheap, there’s a reason. In most cases it means cheap labour has been used. That equals poor wages and working conditions for those making the products.
3. Give back wherever possible
Many brands give a percentage of their profits back to charities – you just need to look for them. We do it by giving 10% of our profits to The Hunger Project, to support education for women in developing nations. And there are many others. A simple search of ‘ethical Christmas gifts’ is a good place to start.
Remember, ethically made gifts not only look great but are heart-felt in origin. Feel good knowing you have given someone you care about a special a gift, and that gift has also empowered someone less fortunate.
So don’t be naughty this Christmas, be nice, buy ethically, and make a positive impact in the world.
Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas!
* Westpac Melbourne Institute