Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Power of Purchasing

On the one hand, we’re told that we should eat food that is locally produced and not air freighted hundreds of miles; on the other we’re under pressure to support producers in far-away developing countries. We’re expected to know the difference between organic and free-range foods, stay abreast of flashpoints (palm oil, blue fin tuna, PVC) and only buy goods with certain eco-labels attached.

Confusing? Definitely.

To us, the best starting point is simply to be informed about what you buy. Get to know what’s inside the product you’re buying; whether it’s organic or not; how it is produced and where; and how it is delivered.

To some extent you have to pick your battles. If your main concern is climate change, then you’ll want to know how far your goods have travelled. If you’re worried about chemicals, then you’ll go for organic and natural. If you hate the thought of producers getting a raw deal you’ll buy Fair-trade. And if you deplore the way that supermarket giants have squeezed supply chains and taken over neighbourhoods then you’ll shop at small, local shops instead. One of the main plus-points of 21st century living is that consumers have a choice – so use it wisely.The same choices apply in business. Most of us are aware of the price-war tactics of the supermarkets and how that is reflected in the cost-cutting methods of suppliers as they desperately try to cling on to their last shred of profit.

Keep that in mind the next time you haggle with a far-east supplier over the latest piece of promotional merchandise you order – what impact does that have on the working conditions at their factory? Who is really paying for that oh-so-relevant plastic snow-shaker? How many chemicals were used in producing that t-shirt? And so on.

Here at Re-Everything, we believe that there is a better way to shop, at home and at work. We also believe that there is a more effective way to engage with your customers than by giving them free mugs and pens. So have a look at the alternative promotional gifts at Re-Sourceful, and if you’re still stuck for ideas, give us a call or pop over for a cup of Fair Trade nettle tea!

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