Put Your Buying Power Where Your Heart Is
Did you know that you have “buying power”? Your purchasing power is the total amount of money that you have to spend. Every dollar that you take from your pocket and give it to a business represents your “buying power”.
Every day you have the power to impact and influence your community in a way that reflects your heart. As a result of your spending, some businesses will thrive while others will struggle. The collective purchasing power of your friends and family makes an even greater impact.
Know Who You Are Buying From
The more engaged you are with the owner, manager or employees of the businesses you use, the more you will learn about their culture and values. If a store begins to look unkept or run down, if employees are unhappy, those are usually warning signs worth paying attention to. Don’t support bad businesses.
Besides reading online reviews and asking for local recommendations, there are some other resources you might want to check out. First, let’s begin with a few definitions:
Conscious Consumerism – over the past few decades this movement has been growing as more consumers look closely at the social, environmental and economic decisions of the companies they purchase from. Actions range from boycotts to cash mobs depending on the message consumers want to send.
Consumer Cooperatives – businesses owned by the people that purchase the products and services of the cooperative. Cooperatives reflect a wide range of industries, from food to utilities and credit unions. Cooperatives also are used by workers and producers to leverage greater bargaining power.
Employee-Owned Company – businesses where employees have direct ownership of shares in their company stock. Some businesses are 100% employee owned, while others offer levels of ownership. There are many different models.
Living Wage Business – new on the scene are organizations looking to raise awareness and support companies that pay a living wage to their employees. For a general idea of what a living wage looks like in your state or how it is calculated, check out this tool from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Additional resources you may want to look at:
Green America – with a mission to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses and the marketplace – they seek to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
Triple Pundit – they report on the interface of people, planet and profit, focusing on sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and finance.