Ethical Consumption


As citizens of countries with tremendous power to influence the global economic system, we have a particular responsibility to address the systemic conditions that exacerbate global poverty. One important way that we can do this is by making choices in our daily lives that will positively impact people living in poverty. Encouraging people to spend responsibly is one way that AJWS supports our grassroots partners in the developing world.

Ethical consumption involves taking into account the social and environmental impacts of economic choices and trying to ensure as much as possible that spending reflects ethical values and supports just causes.

One way of practicing ethical consumption is through Fair Trade—a growing, international movement that ensures that producers in poor countries get a fair deal. This means that producers can earn a fair price for their goods (one that covers the cost of production and guarantees a living wage); secure long-term contracts, which provide real security; and for many, are able to access the knowledge and skills necessary to develop their businesses and increase sales. Currently, fairly traded coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas and other goods are available.

The resources below provide information about ethical consumption, including Fair Trade products. We encourage you to share these with friends and other community members as you carry out your domestic action project. To organize or advocate about ethical consumption issues, please see the skill resources in Advocate.

Ideas for your project:

Examples of past AJWS volunteers' projects:

  • Brandeis Alternative Break participants convinced their school's dining services to only serve fair-trade coffee.
  • Rebecca, a Volunteer Summer alumna, joined a local food cooperative which sells primarily local, organic products in exchange for members' work.

Resources for your project: