Action Tips: Compile a Responsible Shopping Guide for Your Town


Socially responsible shopping is starting to taking off! Consumers are looking for companies that are:

  • environmentally friendly
  • good to their employees and the surrounding community

At the same time, consumers want to avoid companies with records of:

  • sweatshops
  • child labor
  • toxic-waste dumping
  • animal testing
  • corporate crime

Make it easy for your neighbors to be socially responsible by creating a guide to promote the companies that are socially responsible.

Make Shopping Categories

Your guide should be split up into categories. Shopping covers a lot of different areas, like:

  • clothing stores
  • supermarkets
  • gas stations
  • soft drinks
  • coffee shops
  • athletic wear
  • movie studios

List the Popular Companies

You should have at least three under each category. Next to the stores, write their location. Next to the products, write where you can purchase them.

Rate the Social Responsibility

Next to each company, write each company’s social responsibility. Use a system that is easy for your readers to understand. You could use:

  • A grading system. The Better World Shopping Guide and Alonovo rate thousands of companies with letter grades.
  • A numerical rating. Responsible Shopper cites social responsibility achievements and violations of many companies. Give each positive news story +1 and each negative story -1, creating a numerical score of each major company.
  • An exclusive list. Instead of listing all popular companies, only list the ones you encourage people to buy from. World of Good shows only products made with environmental and fair-trade practices in mind, and Shop with a Conscience lists sweatshop-free items and stores.

For local businesses, call or walk-in and speak with a manager or owner. Ask the person:

  • Where do the products come from?
  • How are they made?
  • What materials do you use to make them?
  • How old are your youngest employees?
  • How often do employees get breaks? For how long?

Based on this information, you can include these small companies next to corporations in your list.

Get your Guide Out

Hand out your guide:

  • At school
  • At a common community space
  • At the stores that you rated highly in your guide. Ask a manager for permission, and maybe he or she will even donate money to help you make more copies!

For more stats on this issue, check out our Resources section. GO