The Australian Alternative is the Ethical Choice
In our world of mass-produced, imported goods, we live a life of excess. Every market is so saturated that we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a product. What lies behind the glossy labels, however, is often a dark underbelly. Many competitive manufacturing markets engage in unethical business practices to churn out cheap goods and turn a massive profit. We’ve spoken before about the many benefits of buying an Australian alternative to a commonly imported product, but we’ve yet to get into the gritty details.
The Nasty Truth About Unethical Workplace Conditions
The fact is that many workers in developing countries are treated unfairly. Manufacturers exploit vulnerable workers, extracting labour from their employees for less than liveable wages. The result is a product that costs less to make and earns more profit for the top dogs of the organisation. More often than not, the exploited workers also face unsafe workplace conditions.
Generally, Australian Made products cost the consumer more than similar imported products do. We attribute this to a couple of things. Firstly, the cost of labour is higher in Australia, as it should be in many other countries. Secondly, the fair treatment of workers, good workplace conditions, and workplace health and safety are valued more in this country. This means that workers have more robust rights in Australia. Not only do the workers have more ethical protection, but so do the products they work on.
Working to End Modern Slavery
Unfortunately, modern slavery is an enduring problem. Industries around the world must trace and eliminate exploitation as consumers become more conscious of ethical practices. According to a report published by CCLA Investment Management in 2020, modern slavery is “likely to exist in the supply chain of nearly every business”.
The investment industry in particular is under fire, urged to take action against the global issue. The same report estimates that more than forty million people find themselves in some form of modern slavery or human trafficking. That’s one in every one hundred and eighty-five people!
It’s important for businesses globally to do their due diligence and investigate their supply chains. After all, identifying and eliminating modern slavery is key to empowering emerging and developing economies around the world. We must break the cycle of poverty and exploitation to uplift our global community, rather than “the one per cent”.
There’s Still Work to Do
Admittedly, Australia isn’t perfect. There are still cases of unfair work ongoing throughout the country. Just at the beginning of April, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered $580,000 in unpaid wages for workers in Hobart’s “cheap eats” food precincts. The Ombudsman is cracking down on food and hospitality businesses across Australia because they’re notorious for employing a high portion of vulnerable young and migrant workers.
We admit that we still have work to do as a country. Thankfully, we are empowered by champions of ethical practice such as the Fair Work Ombudsman. Increasingly, we protect our workers from exploitation on Australian soil and our Australian made products become more and more ethically robust.
When you choose an Australian alternative, you are choosing to support the prevalence of and fight for fair work practices, globally. We’ve said it several times already, but how you spend your money speaks to what Australian consumers find acceptable. If we band together to support ethical and sustainable products, we “show” corporations that these things matter deeply to us.
What’s in it for manufacturers?
Well, manufacturers should respect the rights of their workers because it is the right thing to do. But even if a business is manufacturing ethically, they still might not be making the most of their circumstances. Let us explain what we mean:
Research by delivery service CouriersPlease shows that ninety per cent of Australian consumers are more likely to purchase ethical and sustainable products. As such, brands should be more transparent about where their products come from and whether they produce them ethically. The motivation to do so is that nearly half of Australian consumers are willing to pay more for an ethically made Australian alternative. If they’ve got nothing to hide in their supply chain, brands should follow the dollar signs on this one…
An Australian Alternative Ensures Progress
The fact of the matter is that ethical practice is the best practice. If we focus on supporting on-shore businesses, we rest assured that the products we consume are more ethically made than some overseas counterparts. To buy an Australian alternative to an otherwise imported product is to support ethical and sustainable production. If you take it one step further and make “ethically made” another critical criterion, you’re becoming a small-scale champion for workers rights and fair work practices. We told you that you could make your money talk. What is yours saying?