There’s a lot of human and environmental cost that goes into the production of our favorite fashion and beauty products. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Every time we buy a cheap dress from a fast fashion retailer, we don’t think about the horrendous work conditions and indentured servitude that the garment workers endure. We don’t think about the heavy metal-ridden textile dyes that are dumped into rivers and tributaries. We don’t think about the carbon monoxide coughed into the air by the trucks that deliver these goods from warehouse to mall.
This is why fashion retailers continue to step up their corporate social responsibility game: how much of it is really a wholehearted attempt at bringing a bit of light into this world? How much of it is an attempt at absolution from the guilt of profitability?
As consumers, what we can do is try to be as mindful and educated as possible when buying something. One of the things we can do is support companies with corporate responsibility programs with a clear positive impact, like Minimal. They’ve prepared specific pieces from the Summer 2014 with a special Yayasan Kanker Indonesia tag. A portion of proceeds from the sale of these items will go to straight to YKI’s efforts to detect and treat the early stages of breast cancer.
Minimal has already taken steps to becoming environmentally conscientious as well, by limiting their usage of virgin pulp. To do this, their shopping bags are made out of 100% recycled (and recyclable) paper.
Then there’s The Body Shop, representing the beauty world, who are currently holding a campaign called Kisses for Causes. With every purchase of the Dragon Fruit Lip Butter, the entire proceeds of the purchase will go to one of three very worthy programs: Love our Environment, Love our Animals, and Empowering Women. It’s up to the buyer to decide which program they want to donate to, and trust me, it’s worth purchasing three lip butters if it means you can donate to all three programs.
But do CSR programs affect your opinion of a fashion or beauty brand? Are you more or less inclined to buy a particular product if your money goes to a worthy cause?