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Ethical Consumption

The Salvation Army believes that all workers are entitled to working conditions and wages that are not exploitative. It is committed to challenging injustice when it occurs, and ensuring that the products and services it consumes are produced in a fair and ethical manner.

Definition

Consumers make decisions every day that affect the lives of workers around the globe and The Salvation Army recognises that not all workers are treated fairly. Being an ethical consumer requires purchasing decisions that value and respect 1) those that make the products and services consumed and 2) the environmental resources involved in, and affected by, production processes. Ethical consumption will usually involve extra costs: the inconvenience of the process, a reduced range of products from which to choose; and higher prices.

Being an ethical consumer also involves thinking carefully about our personal levels of overall consumption.

Biblical principles

The Bible teaches us to act justly, and clearly instructs us to look after those who are suffering as a result of poverty.
Isaiah 58
Micah 6:8
Matthew 25:40
Luke 12:48

Jesus emphasised love for our neighbour as fulfilment of the divine law. In the modern world there is no excuse for ignoring the plight of our global neighbours. (Luke 11:25-37)

Practical responses

The Salvation Army encourages people to buy locally produced goods where possible. Where it is not possible, consumers are encouraged to actively look for goods produced in an ethical manner. Product labelling is not a sufficient guide in this process so it is important to research the truth behind a brand, product or service. Some organisations and products (eg FairtradeTM, Trade Aid, Sally Ann) comply with independently audited ethical standards, and must meet stringent standards at each stage of production. This can help give consumers confidence that products have been produced in an ethical manner.

The Salvation Army promotes and encourages the use of ethically produced goods, as well as the concept of living simply.

Approved by International Headquarters
June 2012