Rosie Venner, Money Makes Change Programme Manager, reflects on the need to transform the way we spend money.
Billions of pounds will be spent over the next few days at the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Nationwide Building Society alone predicts that its customers will spend around £362.6 million on Black Friday – equivalent to more than £251,000 per minute.
Consumers might think these bargains are good news, but who is really profiting and who is being harmed?
- Can you be sure that the products you buy were made by someone who was paid a fair wage?
- Do you know if the companies you are buying from are paying the right amount of tax or making efforts to reduce their carbon emissions?
Ethical Consumer is encouraging people to boycott Black Friday and Cyber Monday, highlighting the climate impacts of excessive consumerism and shining a light on the profits amassed by tax avoiding companies.
The way we spend money matters. It says something about what and who we value. As Christians we are called to be good neighbours and to care for God’s creation. What might this look like in our spending decisions? This ‘joining the dots’ between our faith and our finances is something we explore in all our Money Makes Change resources.
Firstly, we can stop and reflect on whether our purchases are really necessary. We can try and understand more about the unseen ‘footprint’ of consumer goods, and who or what might have been harmed for those products to reach the shelves.
Where we do need to spend, we should think carefully about the companies we buy from and how they behave. Imagine if that money was directed as far as possible towards companies that share our vision of a fairer, more sustainable world.
Last Advent we reflected on the vision of a world turned upside down in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and suggested some key principles that we could draw from Mary’s song to guide our spending. These remain just as relevant this year so do have a read of that blog again and let us know your thoughts. How will your spending look different this year?
- Buy Fairtrade products and ask your local shops to stock a wider range of items with the Fairtrade Mark.
- Use our Ethical Buying Guide to take action with your church’s purchasing.
- If you’d like to reflect on a different narrative this Advent to the ‘spend, spend, spend’ messaging of Black Friday, watch and share our ‘If Mary Went Shopping’ video.