Since the introduction of online trading, customers have enjoyed great competition among retailers which often lowers the prices. Today, the internet has almost any product that you can dream of buying. However, there’s the obvious negative side of online shopping that throws some ethical dilemmas. For instance, it’s quite hard to know whether the garments you buy online are a result of child labour or people who work under fair conditions. Here are several ethical considerations to weigh when buying stuff online compared to shopping in a brick and mortar store.
Not every country in the world complies with the safety standards that European and North American countries do. For example, those who buy cheap electrical devices from third world countries will need to have a good look at the product’s safety compliance declaration. If you buy a product which is not compliant directly from an overseas dealer, then you may never get the product if the authorities catch it on entry. Items that could be dangerous can also lead to lawsuits if you use it in public.
Not all products are made in a safe way that doesn’t harm the environment. Some items such as clothes require a large amount of water to manufacture, and the process may be hazardous to the environment, especially in dry areas. By buying online, you may be helping ruin the environment because of the production practices going on behind the scenes. Environmental protection is a big issue among retailers, so it is often better to buy in a store if you care about the ethics behind trade and global ecology.
There is a lot of packaging that comes with your item when you buy online. Much of it can be recycled, but this means a large amount of energy is used to put it to a new purpose. However, when you shop in real stores, you won’t need half the amount of packaging if any. If you buy items online from different sellers, you can expect multiple deliveries which come with a carbon footprint in terms of fuel used and the single-use packaging that was deployed. Online shopping may be convenient, but it also comes with a lot of waste.
Fair Trading Practices
Many people will shop around for an item online only to select the cheapest. What’s the problem with buying from one supplier when the same thing cost more from another seller? Of course, the cheapest option is because of the poor trading practice of the seller which comes down to competitiveness. You may have noted that branded items are suspiciously cheap when you find them with a less well-known online seller. That can only mean that the item is a fake and is produced in a sweatshop, and sometimes by children. Look for sellers who actively promote their fair trading practices and keep away from those who don’t. In terms of price, if an item is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t, and someone is being cheated.