Ethical Business 101: Operations

Part 2 of a 3-part series with The Parative Project & Freestate

[ read Part 1: Why We Love Where Our Goods Are Madea post from The Parative Project ]

Ethical business operations. I was trying to come up with a title for this post and was stuck between "making business ethical" and "keeping business ethical." I think business was intended to be ethical. Supply chains of yore used to be short, simple, and likely involved the farmer or merchant who lived a couple houses down. We respected each other, accepted handshakes as a contract, and worked hard to be proud of the things we made.

Not so anymore. 

We've lengthened our supply chains, reaching greedy fingers out to nations with lower costs in search of padding our margins. 

We regularly take advantage of opportunities to pay poor workers the smallest amount possible since they're so desperate for the work and are powerless to fight back as Americans have done throughout our history of industrialization. 

We tease customers with trendy fashions made at the lowest quality for deceptively low prices.

We disregard our planet by tossing harmful waste and manufacturing byproducts, contaminating water supplies, contributing to toxic landfill, and generally creating a worldwide oversupply of stuff. (By the way, where water quality and landfills are most affected tends to be where the most disadvantaged of us live. Add that to the list of injustices. This article from National Geographic is enlightening!)

But we believe in better. Call us idealists or naive or too optimistic, but there are three things we rest our case on here at bonJOY: 

1. The power of the consumer to affect change. 
2. The responsibility of businesses to do the right thing. 
3. The hope and joy (for artisans and others along the supply chain) that can be the result of all these things done right. 

I'll wrap this up real quick with a couple notes on the responsibility we feel as a business going through our own operations: 

We use eco-friendly packaging whenever we can find it. Our boxes, tissue paper, and yellow envelopes are all 100% recycled. We're still looking for a printer who uses eco-friendly inks and recycled sticker paper, so we have room to grow, too! 

We pay full wholesale rates for the goods we feature. Many subscription boxes don't. But we believe that by paying fair pricing for the items we share with you, we're living out our message, inviting our subscribers to join us in that, and not contributing to price inflation by forcing brands to raise retail to cover the expense of being featured in placements like ours.

We seek to promote businesses with a mission and passion for providing economic and social opportunity. What does that mean? It means our partners are actively involved in supporting, training, visiting, and coaching the people who make their goods. It means they care about where things are sourced. It means people aren't exploited they're treated as human beings and given dignity, opportunities to be creative, and a wage that actually allows them to survive and even, in some cases, thrive as owners and leaders in their own businesses once they move on. There are so many beautiful stories of success and hope that are a direct result of these brands' involvement with their artisan!

That's the kind of business we believe in, want to operate, and encourage you to look for when making your decisions as a consumer. Need some tips on where & how to get started? Leave a comment and I'll reply!


Next, read Part 3: How to Jumpstart Your Ethical Shopping Journey | a post from Freestate

the giveaway!

Here's the bundle:

1. LAND OF THE DREAMER poster from The Parative Project.

2. A 30-minute phone consultation with Abby to kickstart your journey to ethical consumerism with encouragement and tips.

3. A bonJOY box of goodies!

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