POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Central Leader - - NEWS -

When it comes to eth­i­cal shop­ping Fred­erique GulcherIn­gram prac­tises what she preaches.

Her in­ter­est in con­scious con­sumerism was sparked when she was in­tro­duced to sweat­shop-free sneak­ers by a friend while liv­ing on Wai­heke Is­land.

She went on to study so­cial ge­og­ra­phy at Massey Univer­sity and wrote an es­say on the rise of eth­i­cal con­sumerism.

Last year she set up My Good Em­po­rium, a Face­book page with views and prod­ucts re­lat­ing to sus­tain­able fash­ion choices.

Mrs Gulcher-In­gram high­lights the Bangladesh cloth­ing fac­tory that col­lapsed last April killing more than 1100 people as an ex­am­ple of dis­as­trous busi­ness prac­tices.

‘‘Some multi-na­tion­als are so pow­er­ful ... they can push coun­tries to cre­ate free trade zones like Mex­ico and China where the usual tar­iffs and reg­u­la­tions are com­pletely done away with. ‘‘They’re called sweat­shops. ‘‘I want to feel and know that what I wear has not played a part in cre­at­ing sweat­shops.

‘‘I per­son­ally be­lieve I should get fairly paid for my job and I be­lieve that is the right of ev­ery per­son.’’

Mrs Gulcher-In­gram says shop­pers can bring about change by boy­cotting prod­ucts and brands us­ing un­eth­i­cal prac­tices and ques­tion­ing com­pa­nies about their poli­cies.

‘‘I say to people you can’t make a change overnight but be­come more aware and slowly but surely if more people get in­volved things will change.

‘‘We have in­cred­i­ble power, and even just small steps make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Pur­chas­ing power: Fred­erique Gulcher-In­gram says ev­ery­one can make a dif­fer­ence by en­sur­ing at least some of their pur­chases are eth­i­cally sound.

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